Can You Reverse the Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency?

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
Leg pain of senior woman

While chronic venous insufficiency, a breakdown in the circulation in your leg veins, cannot be reversed, you can take steps to alleviate its symptoms.

Do your legs swell, especially after sitting for long periods? Are you noticing twisting, protruding veins on your legs? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you might be experiencing symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a type of vein disease caused by poor circulation in the legs.

CVI develops when tiny valves in your leg veins fail to pump blood back to the heart. Blood collects in the vein, leading to swelling, pain, cramps, and varicose veins. More serious CVI complications include ulcers and blood clots. Once the valves are damaged, they cannot be repaired. However, CVI is a very treatable condition. With lifestyle changes and medical intervention, the symptoms of CVI can be reversed.

What causes chronic venous insufficiency?

Chronic venous insufficiency stems from several risk factors primarily related to lifestyle and genetics. Here are some of the most common reasons why you may be experiencing CVI:

Heredity. If a close family member had varicose veins or other vein disease symptoms, you also have a greater chance of CVI.

Gender. Hormones from pregnancy and menopause significantly impact veins, so women develop CVI more often than men.

Weight. Those tiny valves are already overwhelmed by gravity in their effort to pump blood upward to the heart. Add extra pounds to that equation, and the valves are under even more pressure.

Inactive lifestyle. If you don’t exercise regularly, your veins aren’t getting the help they need to pump blood. Specifically, your calf muscles are essential in promoting blood flow in the legs. If the muscles weaken, they can’t support circulation. Sitting for long hours at your job can also contribute to vein disease, as blood tends to pool in the veins when you sit.

Diagnosing CVI involves an ultrasound exam to get an image of blood flow in the legs. Your vein specialist will also review your health history before setting you on a treatment plan.

How to reverse the symptoms of CVI

CVI progresses because of damaged vein valves. While you cannot reverse the underlying cause of CVI, proper treatment and management that includes conservative and surgical techniques can help eliminate the symptoms of CVI. The best methods to treat vein disease include:

Exercise. Workouts that strengthen the calf muscles are beneficial. Strong calf muscles provide the extra push the veins need to return blood to the heart. As the blood moves from the leg veins, your legs experience less swelling and pain. Walking, biking, and swimming are the best exercises for CVI.

Compression stockings. Made of tightly woven elastic, compression stockings put gentle pressure on the leg veins, giving them the extra push to circulate blood and prevent pooling. Consider wearing compression stockings if you sit all day, for example, at work or on a long plane or car ride.

Elevation. Raising your legs above your heart daily for 30 minutes can help drain the blood from the leg veins and move it back to the heart.

Lose weight. Exercise and a healthy diet help shed pounds, which reduces the strain on your veins. Avoid salty foods, as sodium contributes to water retention and can cause leg swelling.

Minimally invasive surgery. Damaged veins can be treated with one of several minimally invasive surgical procedures. Sclerotherapy, thermal ablation, and ambulatory phlebectomy destroy and remove the diseased vein, allowing blood to flow unimpeded to nearby healthy veins.

Time to treat your veins

The physicians and staff at Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) have years of experience treating every stage of vein disease. If you are experiencing the symptoms of chronic vein insufficiency, you can discuss treatment options with one of our veins specialists.

Want to learn more about what we can do for you? Contact one of our offices today to schedule a consultation or to speak to a representative. You may also schedule online at your convenience.

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