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What causes venous insufficiency in the legs?

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Quick Answer

High blood pressure in the veins of the leg and deep vein thrombosis, which is a deep vein blood clot, are possible causes of venous insufficiency, also known as chronic venous insufficiency, states WebMD. Individuals who are female, old, overweight or living a sedentary lifestyle are prone to develop the condition. Those who smoke and have a family history of varicose veins are also likely to develop venous insufficiency.

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Full Answer

In people with venous insufficiency, the veins are unable to send blood properly from the legs to the heart, explains WebMD. The valves in the veins responsible for maintaining blood flow in a particular direction malfunction, leading to the accumulation of fluid in the legs and causing problems such as varicose veins.

The symptoms of venous insufficiency include cramps, itchiness, varicose veins and swelling, particularly in the ankles, according to WebMD. The condition also causes skin discoloration, aches and skin sores. Doctors diagnose venous insufficiency by checking the legs and using a specific ultrasound test to evaluate the blood flow in the legs.

To treat venous insufficiency, doctors recommend wearing over-the-counter or prescription compression stockings, which help alleviate pain, decrease swelling and aid with skin ulcer healing, notes WebMD. Patients should exercise regularly to improve blood flow and avoid prolonged sitting or standing to prevent fluid from building up in the legs.

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