Venous Insufficiency and varicose veins are the result of disorders or dysfunction of the venous system and the ability to return blood from the legs back to the heart effectively.
The first component is the deep venous system; which is essentially the main conduit and returns all blood back to the heart. The second component refers to the superficial venous system – a network of blood vessels that lie beneath the skin. The superficial venous system drains in to the deep venous system; which is in charge of transporting blood back to the heart.
Chronic venous insufficiency is the result of dysfunctional valves within veins restricting blood from flowing in the reverse direction and back to the lower extremities. This is a vascular disorder that is progressive and can lead to serious symptoms and complications if left untreated.
Individuals with chronic venous insufficiency can experience a host of symptoms and clinical findings. Symptoms can include swelling of the legs as well as a dull aching, heaviness, or cramping sensation in lower limbs. Itching, tingling of the legs as well as increased pain when standing are common clinical manifestations. You may experience redness of the legs and ankles, skin discoloration around the ankles or lower legs, or varicose veins which are large, tortuous, and usually grotesquely appearing venous cords that are not only unsightly, but may lead to clots or thrombophlebitis of the superficial venous system. In extreme cases, the disorder can lead to non-healing ulcers and severe complications.
Venous insufficiency is a disorder that affects more than 30 million Americans and unfortunately less than 2 million Americans (est. 10%), seek treatment.