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What is Venous Insufficiency and Hypertension?

Normally, a series of valves in the lower limb veins act to encourage blood to return to the heart, preventing it from flowing back down to the feet and calves. For a variety of reasons, over time these valves may weaken or become damaged, leading to compromised performance. In addition, the muscles which surround veins have a critical role in compressing the veins periodically, which helps to move blood upwards. A combination of weakened valves and a lack of muscle movement on the veins can cause blood to pool in the veins of the foot and lower leg. If this happens consistently over time, it can cause a number of problems. The pooling blood leads to increased venous pressure (venous hypertension) and venous insufficiency (i.e. blood isn’t returning to the heart at a healthy rate and actually travels in an opposite downward direction).

Common Causes of Venous Insufficiency and Hypertension

Venous insufficiency and hypertension can be caused by a number of different factors. Although some cases occur due to heredity (some families are unfortunately naturally pre-disposed to venous insufficiency), other exacerbating causes may be:

  • Familial Predisposition, congenital vein valve defect (Most common, over 80%)
  • Lack of normal daily activity (sedentary lifestyle), sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  • Obesity
  • Advanced Age.
  • Pregnancy
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
  • Gender (Female Predominance).

Although maintaining a healthy weight and performing regular exercise can help reduce the likelihood of developing venous insufficiency, in many cases the causes are down to factors beyond the control of the individual including genetics.

Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency and Hypertension

Symptoms vary in severity and presentation between individuals, in almost all cases symptoms worsen over time without appropriate treatment.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Varicose veins – these are enlarged veins that frequently protrude onto the surface of the skin, appearing as blueish ridges and lumps which many people find distressing. Not only do some people find them aesthetically unpleasant, they can also throb and itch, as well as being extremely painful if accidentally bumped or knocked.
  • Aching calves and muscle cramps – pain is a common feature of chronic venous insufficiency. Lower legs may hurt while standing, or sitting. The pain can be described as a burning or itching sensation. In some cases this can be quite severe and disabling.
  • Pain with prolonged standing and improving with walking.
  • Swollen legs and ankles.
  • Brownish patches on the lower legs and dark skin discoloration.
  • The development of ulcers – venous ulcers is particularly worrying, as they can be slow to heal or non-healing. This increases the likelihood of chronic infection leading to further complications including limb loss.

Managing Venous Insufficiency and Hypertension

If you suspect that you are developing venous insufficiency, it’s important to visit your health care provider to investigate potential treatment options. Unfortunately, the condition is unlikely to heal on its own and often needs to be treated once the symptoms arise. Losing weight may assist in controlling the symptoms temporarily but is not curable, as well as avoiding standing for protracted periods and engaging in regular exercise along with the use of compression stockings. If you have developed a venous ulcer, it will need appropriate dressings and you may well also need a course of antibiotics to prevent or treat infection along with relatively expeditious venous treatment to assist with healing of the uler.

Compression is the key to managing venous insufficiency – as vein activity is influenced by compression, the use of elastic stockings or compression bandages is a popular option. Compression has many advantages – it’s cheap to administer, is suitable for a wide range of people (even those with a number of pre-existing health conditions) and can be started quickly with immediate results. There are a wide range of compression products available, which can be tailored to suit individual requirements.

Varicose Vein Treatments

One of the most common results of chronic venous insufficiency and hypertension is development of varicose veins which can be particularly distressing. Not only can they be horribly painful, they can also look unattractive, meaning many sufferers end up with reduced self-esteem and poor body image. There are a selection of minimally invasive varicose vein and venous insufficiency treatments available that have a high success rate and relatively few side-effects.
We offer many different varicose vein interventions, including:

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RF) Ablation
  • EVLT®
  • Schlerotherapy
  • Microphlebectomy

In many cases, patients experience significant relief shortly after treatment and notice a significant improvement in the appearance of their varicose veins. If you, or someone you care about, are suffering from varicose veins, we can help. To find out more about our services or to book a consultation, you can call us at (800) 453-8346

Varicose Vein Treatment

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