Do you suffer from aching, itchy legs, or legs that burn, feel heavy or restless? Do you have spider veins or varicose veins? If so, you may be one of the millions of men and women who have venous insufficiency.
When your leg veins cannot pump enough blood back to your heart, you have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). There are three kinds of veins: superficial veins, which lie close to the skin, deep veins, which lie in groups of muscles, and perforating veins, which connect the superficial to the deep veins. Deep veins lead to the vena cava, your body's largest vein, which runs directly to your heart.
When you are sitting or standing, the blood in your leg veins must go up against gravity to return to your heart. To do this, your leg muscles squeeze the deep veins of your legs and feet to help move blood back to your heart. One-way flaps, called valves, in your veins keep blood flowing upwards. These valves prevent blood from flowing in reverse, back down the legs.
When you walk and your leg muscles squeeze, the venous system works well. But when you sit or stand, especially for a long time, the blood in your leg veins can pool and increase the venous blood pressure. Over time, this can weaken the walls of the veins and damage them.
Phlebitis occurs when a superficial or deep vein becomes swollen and inflamed. This inflammation causes a blood clot to form.
Factors that can increase your risk for CVI include a family history of varicose veins, being overweight, pregnancy, not exercising, smoking, and standing or sitting for long periods of time. Although CVI can affect anyone, your age and sex may increase your tendency to develop CVI; women older than 50 most often get CVI.
What Tests Will I Need?
First your physician will ask you questions about your current general health, past medical history, and symptoms. In addition, your physician will conduct a physical exam. Together these are known as a patient history and exam. Your physician may measure the pressure in your legs and will examine the varicose veins. To confirm a diagnosis of CVI, the physician will order a duplex ultrasound test. Duplex ultrasound allows your physician to measure the speed of blood flow and to see the structure of your leg veins.
For mild cases of CVI, your physician will recommend compression stockings. These are elastic stockings that squeeze your veins and stop excess blood from flowing backward. In this way, compression stockings can also help heal skin sores and prevent them from returning. You need to wear compression stockings daily.
You can help avoid leg swelling and other symptoms by occasionally raising your legs and avoiding standing for long periods of time. When you do need to stand for a long period, you can flex your leg muscles occasionally to keep the blood flowing. You can also help lessen the symptoms of CVI by maintaining your ideal body weight or losing weight if you are overweight.
In sclerotherapy, your physician will inject Asclera, a medicine approved by FDA, into your affected veins. This medicine scars your veins from the inside out so your abnormal veins can then no longer fill with blood. Blood that would normally return to the heart through these veins flows through other healthy veins. Your body will eventually absorb the veins that received the injection.
Ablation uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter inserted into a varicose vein. Laser at the tip of the catheter heats the walls of your varicose vein and destroy the vein tissue. As with chemical sclerotherapy, your varicose vein is then no longer able to carry blood, and it is eventually absorbed by your body.
The CoolTouch CTEV™ laser treatment at Twin Lakes Medical Center is a simple, virtually pain-free office-based procedure. Now there is no reason to postpone treatment and continue enduring the discomfort and unsightly disfigurement that is often caused by varicose veins, just ask your doctor for the CoolTouch CTEV™ laser procedure today.