Understanding Chronic Venous Insufficiency


What is chronic venous insufficiency?

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when the one-way valves in your legs that transport the blood back to the heart fail to function properly. This can lead to the backflow of blood and pooling within the veins in your legs, which can result in other complications.

What causes and risk factors are associated with chronic venous insufficiency?

The primary function of veins is to return blood from the body’s organs and extremities back up towards the heart. To do this, the veins are equipped with one-way valves that help push the blood in the upward direction. When these valves become damaged or weakened, this causes the blood to flow backward in the vein and leads to further complications.

Some people are more susceptible to CVI than others. Factors that can increase your risk include:

  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Women
  • Over the age of 50

What are the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency?

The severity and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency will vary from person to person. Symptoms may include:

  • Swelling in the lower legs and ankles
  • Achy or tired feelings in the legs
  • Varicose veins or spider veins
  • Skin discoloration or texture changes
  • Leathery or flaky appearance on the skin
  • Itching or burning skin
  • Skin ulcers
  • Leg pain
  • Restless legs

Chronic venous insufficiency diagnosis and treatment

To diagnose chronic venous insufficiency, Dr. Rimas Gilvydis will begin by discussing your symptoms and medical history with you. Then, state-of-the-art ultrasound technology is used to map the veins within your legs using high-frequency sound waves. The sound waves will display an image of your veins that will help determine if chronic venous insufficiency is present. Your diagnostic exam will help your doctor determine which minimally invasive treatment will be most appropriate and effective for you.

For more information on chronic venous insufficiency, or to have your veins screened, call the vein specialists at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic today at (877) 999-7912.