Venous Insufficiency Explained
Healthy leg veins have valves that keep blood flowing to the heart. Venous insufficiency develops when the valves stop working properly and allow blood to flow backward (i.e. reflux) and pool in the lower leg veins. If venous insufficiency that many insurances will cover is left untreated, symptoms can worsen over time.
Potential Signs and Symptoms of Venus Insufficiency:
- Varicose veins
- Heaviness or tiredness
- Open skin sores
Who is at Risk for Venous Insufficiency
Venous insufficiency can affect anyone; gender and age are factors that may increase your risk. For example, women older than 50 are more likely than others to develop venous insufficiency. Other factors that may increase your risk, include:
- Family history
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Prolonged Standing
- Obesity or excess weight
- Current or previous pregnancies
For mild forms of venous insufficiency, lifestyle changes may be recommended to control existing symptoms and prevent others. The following measures may help prevent varicose veins:
- Manage body weight
- Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work your legs (run or walk)
- Elevate your legs whenever possible
- Avoid prolonged standing or sitting
- Avoid clothes that are tight around the waist, groin or legs
- Avoid shoes that limit use of calf muscles (i.e., high heels)
- Eat a diet low in salt and rich in high-fiber foods
Varicose veins are often misunderstood as a cosmetic problem and many people living with them do not seek treatment. The good news is that there are minimally invasive treatment options available for varicose veins and venous insufficiency.
- The ClosureFast™ procedure uses controlled and consistent heat delivered by the ClosureFast™ catheter to seal the diseased vein. Once the vein is sealed, blood is rerouted to nearby healthy veins.
- The VenaCureEVLT™ procedure uses targeted laser energy to seal the faulty vein shut.
- The VenaSeal™ closure system delivers a small amount of proprietary medical adhesive to the diseased vein. The adhesive seals the vein and blood is rerouted through nearby healthy veins.
Your doctor can help you decide which treatment option is best for you.
Dispelling the Myths
How Much Do You Know About Varicose Veins?
Have you always thought varicose veins and spider veins are one-in-the-same? Did you hesitate in getting your varicose veins treated because you thought the procedure was cosmetic and not covered by insurance? Take this short quiz to test your knowledge about varicose veins and see how much you really know.
TRUE OR FALSE: VARICOSE VEINS ARE A COSMETIC ISSUE AND DON’T NEED TO BE TREATED.
False: Varicose veins can be treated. Though often thought of as a cosmetic nuisance, varicose veins can sometimes progress to a more serious form of venous disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI is a progressive disease that may result in increasingly serious signs and symptoms if not treated, including: Leg pain, Swelling Restlessness Skin damage Ulcers. Today, patients have access to minimally invasive treatment options, such as the ClosureFast™ procedure, VenaCureEVLT™, and the VenaSeal™ closure system. These procedures allow for a short recovery and a quick return to everyday activities while also eliminating varicose veins.
TRUE OR FALSE: SPIDER VEINS ARE THE SAME THING AS VARICOSE VEINS.
False: Spider veins, like varicose veins, are caused by dysfunctional vein valves. However, spider veins appear as a nest of blue or red veins just under the surface of the skin and typically do not bulge above the skin’s surface like varicose veins. Varicose veins are a sign of venous disease and should be diagnosed and treated by a vein specialist to avoid progression to CVI. Spider veins are generally regarded as a cosmetic issue.
TRUE OR FALSE: GENETICS AND AGE ARE COMMON FACTORS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS AND CVI.
True: Genetics and age are contributors to varicose veins and CVI development. In fact, women older than 50 are most likely to develop venous disease. And, if you have a family member who suffers from varicose veins or signs and symptoms of CVI, you are more likely to develop varicose veins in your lifetime.
TRUE OR FALSE: MEN ARE NOT AT RISK FOR DEVELOPING VARICOSE VEINS AND CVI.
False: Men are at risk for experiencing varicose veins and CVI. In fact, 43 percent of men are expected to develop some form of venous disease by the time they reach their 60’s.
TRUE OR FALSE: VARICOSE VEINS AND CVI TREATMENTS ARE JUST TOO EXPENSIVE TO CONSIDER.
False: Because varicose veins and CVI are recognized as medical conditions, most insurance plans will cover treatment. Consult your insurance provider before seeking treatment.
TRUE OR FALSE: COMPRESSION STOCKINGS AND ELEVATION OF THE FEET ARE CURES FOR VARICOSE VEINS.
False: Although compression stockings that provide graduated compression from the ankle up to the knee or thigh help to reduce pain and swelling, they only help to manage symptoms and do not provide a cure. In fact, people with varicose veins may need to continue to wear these stockings for the rest of their lives. Likewise, elevating the feet above the thighs when sitting and above the heart when lying down can help to ease pressure on the veins. However, elevation, like the use of compression stockings, is NOT a cure for varicose veins.
TRUE OR FALSE: STANDING ON YOUR FEET FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME CAN BE A RISK FACTOR FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS.
True: Those spending the entire day on their feet are at higher risk for developing varicose veins. It is recommended that individuals with careers that require prolonged standing, such as restaurant servers, flight attendants, nurses and teachers, rest each day by elevating their feet above their heart.
TRUE OR FALSE: EXCESS WEIGHT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO VARICOSE VEINS AND CVI.
True: Being overweight is a risk factor to the formation of varicose veins. Regular exercise is recommended to increase blood flow in the legs and maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of CVI or varicose veins.
TRUE OR FALSE: INSUFFICIENT HYDRATION IS SHOWN TO CONTRIBUTE TO VARICOSE VEINS AND CVI.
False: Insufficient hydration should not affect the development of varicose veins. However, trauma or injury to the lower limbs can contribute to signs and symptoms of CVI, including varicose veins. Also, during pregnancy there is increased pressure on the veins that may contribute to the creation of varicose veins in the legs.