About 2.5 million Americans suffer from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a chronic condition that makes it harder for blood to return from your extremities to your heart. In CVI, tiny valves inside your veins stop functioning, allowing blood to slow down and back up inside your veins.
As with other vascular disorders and diseases, CVI responds best to early, proactive treatment. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of CVI is important for ensuring you seek treatment right away.
At TLC Medical Group Inc. in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Anthony B. Lewis MD, FACC, and his team provide state-of-the-art treatment for patients with CVI, including medical treatments and lifestyle guidance aimed at improving the health of your circulatory system. If you have any of the following six symptoms, it’s probably time to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Lewis.
1. Swelling in your ankles or lower legs
Because CVI makes it hard for blood to circulate in your legs, fluid can build up, causing swelling or edema in your lower legs. Often, this symptom decreases when you lie down and elevate your legs to help support normal drainage.
2. Aches or cramps in your legs
Your muscles require a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood to function. If circulation in your legs is impaired, your muscles can’t get the oxygen they need — and they respond with pain and cramps. Most people with CVI find their symptoms are worse after exercise, improving with rest and leg elevation.
3. Varicose veins
Varicose veins are a common sign of CVI. When blood backs up inside your veins, it dilates the veins and causes weak areas. The result: veins that look raised, swollen, and purplish or bluish. These veins can cause symptoms of their own, like itching, burning, and a feeling of fatigue or heaviness in your legs.
4. Tingling or “pins and needles” in your legs
Poor circulation can lead to tingling, numbness, or a pins-and-needles feeling in your legs, similarly to when your hand or foot “falls asleep.” This tingling tends to become worse toward the end of the day, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time on your feet.
5. Skin changes
Many people with CVI have itchy skin or skin that flakes and looks and feels extremely dry. Sometimes, pressure inside the veins causes fluid to leak into the surrounding tissues, resulting in a reddish brown appearance called hemosiderin staining. Over time, the skin takes on a leathery appearance that may be permanent.
6. Leg sores
Skin changes can also lead to an increased risk of leg sores or venous ulcers. When your skin is swollen and itchy, even something as simple as scratching or rubbing your leg can result in sores and cuts. Since CVI also interferes with normal healing, those sores can take a long time to heal, significantly increasing your risk of developing a dangerous infection.
Don’t ignore your symptoms
Chronic venous insufficiency causes an array of symptoms, and over time, decreased circulation can lead to more serious medical problems as well. Fortunately, Dr. Lewis and his team are skilled in diagnosing and treating CVI using the most advanced methods tailored to your unique needs.
If you have any of these CVI symptoms, having a vein evaluation is the first step toward getting treatment to improve circulation and keep you healthy. To learn more, call 772-200-3829 or book an appointment online with the team at TLC Medical Group today.