Leg veins carry blood back to the heart. The veins have one-way valves that prevent the blood from flowing backward. When these valves are damaged it causes blood to collect in the leg veins; also referred to as venous insufficiency.
Damaged valves can also cause long-term swelling and blood pooling in the legs. When the condition becomes long term, it’s known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. Without proper treatment, the damaged valves may cause the fluid to leak in the feet and ankle tissues. This leakage can cause ulcers and chronic wounds to develop and even cause the skin itself to break down.
During CVI, the valves don’t perform the way they should; when that happens, blood can easily get accumulated in the legs. CVI, if ignored for too long, it may even cause ulcers and open sores in legs. Whenever deep veins of legs have damaged valves, the condition is known as deep vein incompetence. There are multiple ways for repairing damaged valves in the deep veins of legs.
Generally, the valves present in deeper leg veins are meant to push the blood toward the heart. Whenever the incompetence of the valves prevails long term (chronic), the vein walls start getting weaker. Eventually, the weakened vein walls lead to damaged or incompetent valves. CVI is often a long-term condition, which may occur not only because of incompetent valves but also because of blood clots in the legs.
What Causes Damaged Valves?
Vein valves may be damaged due to aging, from extended periods of sitting or standing, or due to reduced activity or mobility. If the vein valves are damaged, it cause interfere with the flow of blood back to the heart. This can cause blood to collect in the leg veins and lead to varicose veins and chronic ulcers over time if not treated properly.
A few other factors that raise the risk of damaged valves include:
- Varicose veins
- Blood clots
- Phlebitis or swelling of superficial veins
- Venous insufficiency is hereditary
- Leg injury, muscle weakness, or trauma
- Standing or sitting for long periods without moving
Symptoms Caused by Damaged Valves
Some of the most common symptoms of damaged valves or CVI include:
- Throbbing, dull, aching pain in legs
- Legs feeling heavy
- Swelling in ankles and legs
- Itching or cramping in legs
- Dark, brownish patches on the skin
- Harder or thicker skin on ankles and legs
- The formation of blood clots and open sores
- The presence of varicosities
Some of the symptoms of CVI may be similar to other health conditions. You should always consult with a medical professional before self-diagnosing yourself. Whenever these symptoms occur, it’d be better to have a word with a trusted healthcare provider or vein doctor regarding the condition.
Treating Damaged Vein Valves
Damaged vein valves in the legs can increase your risk for health complications like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which is why we encourage you to consult with a vein specialist as soon as possible. There are a variety of treatment options available for venous insufficiency, most of which do not require any intense surgery or hospital stay.
At USA Vein Clinics, we offer the following treatment for venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and spider veins.
Preventing Venous Insufficiency
Although venous insufficiency or damaged vein valves cannot be prevented directly, there are some lifestyle changes you can adapt that can help decrease your risk. However, if you are someone with direct relatives diagnosed with vein disease, your risk is much higher.
Varicose veins and blood clots are two common factors causing CVI. Anyone can avoid getting damaged valves by doing daily exercises. This also means you should avoid any periods of inactivity, even if its just standing or sitting for a long time.
Obesity is one of the main causes of many dangerous conditions like heart disease. Obesity can also increase risk for CVI as there’s excessive fat in legs which puts extreme pressure on the already narrowed leg veins. Maintaining a healthy weight will not only reduce your risk for heart disease, but it will also significantly reduce your risk for developing venous insufficiency.
Drinking enough water is a great way to keep yourself hydrated and maintain healthy blood pressure, which can help to prevent blood clots. Make it a point to drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Also, avoid consuming sugary drinks, alcohol, and caffeine because they can contribute to dehydration.
Making some significant lifestyle changes
In order to effectively reduce your risk for venous insufficiency, you may need to make some lifestyle changes. This can include quitting smoking, adopting an exercise regimen, losing weight, or even changing careers to avoid periods of inactivity. Another simple and effective way to benefit your health and maintain healthy blood flow is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. This can help you reduce your risk for serious complications associated with vein disease like DVT and chronic ulcers.
Avoiding sitting or standing for a long time
When you do not move your legs for long periods, blood clots can begin to form. This is usually the case when someone has to sit for a long time on a plane, or when standing for extended periods. That’s why it’s best to move legs for avoiding this phenomenon to happen.
It’s always better to treat venous insufficiency whenever you see its first signs and remember that any lifestyle changes made won’t help in treating this health condition; these changes can only be used for helping to reduce your risk. If you think you already have vein disease or varicose veins, give us a call today to set up a consultation. We can help you find lasting relief from your painful vein symptoms through the use of minimally-invasive treatment technologies.