What Is Venous Insufficiency?


Quick Answer

Venous insufficiency is a condition where the flow of blood from the legs to the heart is impaired. The most common causes of venous insufficiency are deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins, according to Cleveland Clinic.

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Full Answer

Within healthy veins, there are valves that prevent the backflow of blood. Venous insufficiency occurs when the forward flow of blood is obstructed by a blood clot or vericose veins. In many cases of venous insufficiency, damaged valves also produce a backward leakage of blood, as stated by Cleveland Clinic.

Some of the symptoms of venous insufficiency are dull aching or cramping in the legs, often accompanied by itching and tingling sensations. Additionally, legs may become swollen and an individual may experience pain while standing that only improves when the legs are raised. It is common for varicose veins to appear on the surface of the legs, and the skin of the leg may thicken, harden and even produce ulcers on the legs or ankles, as noted by MedlinePlus.

Risk factors for venous insufficiency include older age, blood clots, obesity, inactivity, and a family history of the condition. Also, circumstances such as pregnancy, leg injuries and cancer can contribute to venous insufficiency, states Cleveland Clinic.

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