What does "venous insufficiency" mean, and can it be cured?


Quick Answer

Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the blood veins in the legs have difficulty sending blood back up to the heart, according to MedlinePlus. If treatment is started in the early stages of the disease, venous insufficiency can be managed. With self-care, patients can keep the condition from worsening.

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Full Answer

Blood veins in the legs have valves that help force blood back up to the heart, but when a patient has venous insufficiency, the valves are damaged and the vein walls weakened, making it difficult to send the blood back, MedlinePlus explains. Blood pools in the legs, especially when the patient stands, causing pain and swelling.

Because it is related to the female hormone progesterone, women are mostly affected by venous insufficiency, MedlinePlus says. Other risk factors include pregnancy, age, obesity and family history. Deep-vein thrombosis patients are also at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Doctors prescribe self-care for venous insufficiency, MedlinePlus states, including regular exercise, losing weight if the patient is obese, avoiding sitting or standing too long, and wearing compression stockings to help cut down on swelling. If the venous insufficiency is severe, the doctor may use a variety of treatments to destroy the affected vein. Angioplasty, a technique that opens up a vein so the doctor can insert a stent that holds it open, may also be considered.

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