What is deep vein insufficiency?
Deep vein insufficiency is a chronic (long term or recurring) disease that can result in significant morbidity. It can be caused by a number of factors: deep vein thrombosis (blood clot), valvular insufficiency (leaky valve) or together with varicose vein (swollen, enlarged veins). This disease usually occurs in older patients, with reduced mobility, when the valve becomes damaged and allows the blood to leak backwards. Although this disease is not a serious threat to your health, it can be painful and disabling
What causes deep vein insufficiency?
Deep vein insufficiency is caused a weakness in the blood valves, meaning that blood from the legs struggles to travel back up to the heart and therefore results in the in a build-up of blood in the limbs and causes swelling. The valves in your vein usually ensure that blood flows back to the heart, however as you get older, they can stop working properly and result in an abnormal flow of blood. This disease will usually occur in women over the age of 50.
Symptoms of deep vein insufficiency
· Edema (swelling of the legs or ankle)
· Pain that gets worse when standing, and improves when the legs are elevated
· Leg cramp
· Itchy or weak legs
· Aching or throbbing in the legs
· Thickening of the skin on the legs or ankle, and feeling of heaviness in the legs
· Leg ulcers (long lasting sore that takes more than 2 weeks to repair)
How is deep vein insufficiency diagnosed?
To get the right diagnosis, a doctor will examine you to see if the blood flow in your legs is abnormal. An ultrasound is often done to look at the blood flow in your legs and is also used to check the speed and direction that the blood is traveling.
Treatment for deep vein insufficiency
Treatment differ based on the patient: for example age, severity, how well you can handle it and if the condition is expected to get worse.
Treatment my include improving blood flow in your legs, this can often be done by elevating your legs as much as possible to help them drain more easily. Regular exercise can also help to improve blood flow. In more severe cases, surgery can be used to reduce the symptoms. The most common surgery that is used is Ligation. This is when the effected vein is tied off so that blood can no longer flow through it. This means that blood will only travel through healthy veins and will hopefully ensure that blood flow in the legs returns to a more normal flow.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.