Did you know a condition called venous insufficiency affects about 40% of adults? And it’s not a condition that just affects senior citizens. In fact, it’s most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 40-49 years.
At Hamptons Vein & Vascular, our vascular surgeon Rashmi Sharma, MD, RPVI, wants to educate patients in Rutherford and Westfield, New Jersey, about the warning signs of venous insufficiency to ensure you get early treatment and prevent complications from occurring.
If you have aching, swollen, or sore legs, take a moment to learn more about venous insufficiency and the five key warning signs you may have the condition.
What is venous insufficiency?
Your legs have many veins that carry blood to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues. Venous insufficiency develops when the valves in these veins weaken.
These valves work to keep the blood moving in one direction. When they weaken or stop functioning, the blood can flow in the wrong direction or even pool under your skin. We call this condition venous insufficiency.
You can develop venous insufficiency for many reasons, though certain risk factors increase the chances you’ll get this condition. These include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being female
- History of smoking
- Multiple pregnancies
- Family history of venous insufficiency
- Advanced age
- History of blood clots
- A job that involves long periods of sitting or standing
- Being immobile/inactive
You also have an increased risk of venous insufficiency if you have a history of varicose veins or if they run in your family.
What are the key signs of venous insufficiency?
It’s important to understand the signs of venous insufficiency to ensure you don’t develop more serious complications related to the condition, like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), venous ulcers, or additional weak, nonfunctional valves.
Here are five key signs of venous insufficiency you should know:
1. You have swelling in your calves and ankles
With the valves in your legs not functioning, pressure in your veins increases. As a result, your lower legs, ankles, and feet may swell. Swelling due to venous insufficiency typically worsens over the course of the day.
2. Your legs ache or cause you pain
Aching legs are a common sign of venous insufficiency. If you have leg pain that develops after standing or sitting for long periods that is alleviated by putting your legs up, it’s time to schedule an evaluation with us.
3. Your skin changes appearance or itches
When venous insufficiency goes untreated for some time, you may develop changes in your skin due to a lack of proper circulation and ruptured vessels. Changes include:
- Dry, scaly skin
- A leathery appearance
- Discoloration (often brown)
If you notice any of these changes, contact us soon as you may have more advanced venous insufficiency. The sooner we begin your treatment, the more likely you can avoid more serious complications.
4. You have varicose veins
Your risk of venous insufficiency increases if you have varicose veins, whether or not they cause problematic symptoms. If you have symptoms in addition to varicose veins, you should schedule an appointment with a vascular specialist as your risk for DVT increases significantly.
5. You develop open sores or ulcers
High venous pressure pushes fluid out of your veins and into the surrounding tissues. Over time, you may develop something called a venous stasis ulcer. These ulcers and sores typically develop when venous insufficiency has significantly progressed.
If you have any signs of venous insufficiency, contact the Hamptons Vein & Vascular office nearest you to schedule an evaluation today.