Understanding Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) affects the body’s ability to keep the blood flowing and ensure the body is healthy. Blood flows throughout the human body – pumped from the heart to the body’s organs and then pumped back to the heart.
In the lower parts of the body, blood must flow upwards from the legs back to the heart. It’s an uphill struggle (literally) and many people suffer with swollen legs and poor circulation.
Nevertheless, the human body has its own unique way of making it happen. When you walk, calf and feet muscles contract to squeeze the veins and push the blood upward. To keep the blood flowing up, and not back down, the veins contain one-way flaps called valves. The entire process of sending blood back to the heart is called the venous pump.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when these valves become damaged and the lower body struggles to pump the blood back to the heart. Blood pressure in those veins stays elevated for long periods of time and leads to swollen legs and/or CVI.
Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) – or blood pooling in the veins – causes legs to feel heavy, tired, restless or achy. Other common symptoms include:
・Swollen legs and ankles
・New varicose veins
・Flaking or itching skin in the legs or feet
People suffering from CVI may also feel pain while walking or shortly after stopping. In severe cases, CVI may cause ulcers to form on the lower parts of the leg.
If you experience any of these CVI symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor immediately.
Risk Factors for Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
The risk factors include the standard causes of circulatory ailments in the lower extremities including unhealthy habits such as lack of activity, tobacco or alcohol use, or maintaining an unhealthy body weight.
The prevalence of CVI can be increased by:
・Smoking – Smoking can lead to peripheral artery disease. If you have poor circulation stopping smoking is critical way to regain leg health
・Drinking – Alcohol makes the veins swell. Too much alcohol can cause permanent damage resulting in spider veins
・Obesity – Your body weight has a direct impact on your circulation. When you are overweight, there is increased pressure on legs and feet
・Pregnancy – Similar to the problem of maintaining a healthy body weight, the effects of pregnancy causes increased pressure on legs and feet
・Inactivity – An active exercise regime keeps blood flowing
・Extended periods of standing or sitting
・Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – A blood clot in the deep vein of the legs, causing Post-thrombotic syndrome
Gender and age also increase your risk factors. Women are at higher risk of developing CVI, and people over 50 also have higher risk.
Treating Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
The best solution to CVI is prevention, or taking proactive efforts to keep your legs healthy. Practice these simple steps to keep your blood flowing and prevent CVI.
・Stay active – adopt an exercise regime. If you work in an office or sit for long periods, make an effort to move around frequently
・Reduce smoking and/or drinking
・Work with your doctor or a nutritionist to determine a proper, calorie-limited diet that will help you maintain a healthy bodyweight
When it comes to treating CVI, there are a number of common approaches, including:
・Compression stockings – Compression stockings are available at pharmacies and medical supply stores
・Medication – Your doctor can prescribe medication to prevent the formation of additional blood clots
・Surgical Treatments – Vascular surgical procedures such as vein stripping, angioplasty, bypass surgery or valve repair. The good news is surgery is somewhat rare, as only 10 percent of patients require surgical treatment.
Venowave as a Treatment for CVI
The Venowave is another solution to treating CVI, and an innovative alternative to compression stockings and sequential pneumatic compression devices. The Venowave is a compact battery-operated pump that is clinically proven to pump blood upwards using a patented wave form motion. It is the first product of its kind to offer patients convenient, mobile, effective and discreet circulation support.
For more information, visit our product pages.