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Similar to varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), also called venous disease, is a condition that occurs when blood pools in the superficial and deep leg veins. CVI can occur with or without the presence of varicose and/or spider veins, developing when blood pressure in the veins is abnormally high. CVI can occur after veins have been damaged by injuries or blood clots, and those with CVI often have a combination of symptoms.

CVI is diagnosed with a straightforward, noninvasive ultrasound to measure the amount of time it takes for the blood to leave the feet and make it back to the heart. It is treated in-office through a straightforward procedure such as laser ablation or injections of the spider veins, and most insurances will cover treatment as long as some initial conservative therapy is included:
• Compression stockings
• Leg elevation
• Staying physically active

Symptoms

The most common symptoms for CVI include:

  • Leg swelling
  • Heaviness
  • Aching
  • Throbbing
  • Sometimes bulging or spider veins
  • As the disease progresses, skin changes that result in breakdown or open sores on the leg can occur

Risk Factors

Some risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency include:

  • Age
  • Family history of the condition
  • Gender – more common in women (related to levels of the hormone progesterone)
  • History of deep vein thrombosis in the legs
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Tall height

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