Tag: CVI

CVI, Chronic Venous Insufficiency: What You Need to Know

CVI, or chronic venous insufficiency, is a condition in which the valves in your veins don’t work properly. This makes it difficult for the veins in your legs to carry blood back to your heart.

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Tired, achy legs are actually a symptom of cvi, chronic vein insufficiency!

CVI is actually quite a common condition, affecting up to 40% of people in the U.S. Because it is a chronic problem, it can lead to other side effects like, swelling of the legs and feet pain in your legs and spider veins.

Symptoms of CVI

Some symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include:

  • Heavy legs
  • Throbbing or dull aches in the legs
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Itchy, cramped legs
  • Changes in skin color—especially dark patches
  • Thickened ankle skin
  • Ulcers
  • Spider veins
  • Blood clots

What Causes Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing CVI:

  • A family history of the condition
  • Past blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Long periods of sitting or standing

Exercises that Help

 

While we have many ways to treat CVI, exercise is an important part of managing this condition. Here are some of the best options to help you feel better.

Walking

Choosing a low-impact walking workout will strengthen your calf muscles so blood will get out of your legs at a faster pace.

Leg Lifts

This is a stationary move that strengthens your entire leg, and helps get blood circulating. To try, lie down flat on your back.  Working on one leg at a time, raise your leg to the ceiling and hold it in place for 10 seconds. Slowly lower that leg while raising the other, repeating for 10 reps on each side.

Calf Raises

We can’t say enough about calf raises. That’s why we devoted this entire post to their benefits. Check it out!

Swimming

We love this zero-impact workout because it takes all the pressure off your bones while strengthening your leg muscles to improve circulation.

Vein Healthy Yoga Poses

One of the best poses for chronic venous insufficiency is also one of the most relaxing. To try it, lie down on your back on a flat surface, close to a wall. Face your feet towards the wall, and slowly walk both legs up it, until they form a 90-degree angle against the floor. Hold the position as long as you feel comfortable, to get blood out of your legs and prevent pooling and vein stretching.

 

Treating CVI in Houston

Depending on the severity of your condition, and your individual health profile, your treatment for CVI will differ. Only your vein specialist can determine the right course of treatment. There are, however, several common courses of treatment that we should review:

Medications

Some medications may help you manage CVI symptoms by working to improve the flow of blood within your vessels. These include:

  • Duretics, because they remove excess fluid from your body, reducing the volume that has to flow through your vesses.
  • Anti-inflammatories like pentoxifylline
  • Anti-coagulants or blood thinners, which prevent blood clots and keep your blood in a condition for optimal flow.

Preventing Vein Insufficiency

If you’re beginning to notice symptoms of CVI, the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor and schedule a diagnostic vein scan. After that, try some of these steps:

  • Wear compression stockings. These special elastic socks or tights apply pressure to your lower leg and foot, reducing any swelling you may be experiencing and improving blood flow to the area.
  • Put your feet up. By elevating your feet to a level above your heart, you can help your body move the blood out of your legs and back to where it belongs.
  • Protect your skin. People with CVI are more prone to skin infections like dermatitis or cellulitis. To protect yourself against these conditions, you should regularly moisturize your skin to prevent dryness and flaking. Make sure to exfoliate your skin regularly to get rid of dead cells and follow your vein specialists instructions regarding any prescription ointments you may need to incorporate into your skin care routine.

Worried about CVI and hoping to prevent complications? We’re here to help. Schedule a consultation with our Houston vein specialists, so we can give you a treatment plan to manage CVI.

Sources: Johns Hopkins Medicine

What Your Socks Can Tell You About Edema

Swelling in your lower legs (edema) can be a sign of vein health trouble. But sometimes, you may not notice subtle swelling. And that’s where looking at your sock line can help you identify brewing trouble.

At the end of the day, when you take off your socks, you shouldn’t see any depressions or grooves in your skin. If your socks do leave marks on your legs or ankles, that’s a sign you’ve got edema. Now, it’s time to see your vein specialist and figure out what’s causing the swelling.

What Causes Edema? edema and lymphedema in leg

Edema is a broad medical term that refers to fluid buildup anywhere in your body. As vein specialists, we mostly diagnose and treat edema in your lower legs. While minor swelling after a long day isn’t a problem, chronic edema indicates problems with your circulatory system. Which is why we give all our edema patients a thorough diagnostic ultrasound to try and determine the underlying cause of your swollen legs, ankles and feet.

If you have generalized edema, it could be a sign of kidney disease or even congestive heart failure. But localized edema, like the type we usually see targeting your legs, ankles, and feet is more common.  You’ll mostly notice this type of fluid buildup after a long airplane flight, or if you’ve been on your feet all day.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is the most common cause of this leg swelling. CVI is a term we use to refer to an illness that damages valves in your leg veins. Once damaged, these valves can’t fully close, so blood flows back into your legs instead of traveling up to your heart. Over time, the blood pools in your legs, and some fluid may escape into your leg and foot tissue. That’s when you’ll notice swelling, and you may also notice inflammation.

There are other causes of edema, and we can diagnose them in our vein centers. Then, once we arrive at an accurate diagnosis, we can begin to create your customized treatment plan. Our therapies will reduce your existing swelling and help prevent your problems from recurring.

Treating Lower Leg Swelling

We have several ways to address edema. The first is compression therapy, which uses pressure to keep blood and fluid from pooling in your lower legs. Lifestyle changes such as reducing your sodium intake and spending less time on your feet can also manage your edema.

We may also recommend Radiofrequency vein ablation (RFA) to treat your CVI and edema. RFA is a minimally invasive procedure; we insert a catheter into your abnormal vein and supply it with heat energy, making it close permanently. All you need for RFA is a local anesthetic; it’s a virtually pain free procedure that leaves almost no scars behind. Best of all? We can complete the out-patient procedure in less than an hour, and you can return to normal activities right away.

You’ll need a thorough examination to decide which edema treatment is best for your symptoms. Don’t delay—CVI gets worse without treatment. So schedule your diagnostic ultrasound today—we’ll discover the cause of your swelling and provide you with a recommended treatment plan!

 

Sources: Thumb Butte Medical Center

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