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Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Written by Amy Hall
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Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (insufficiency = inadequate or weakened) is by far the most common cause of leg disorders. In CVI the return of blood from the legs is chronically impaired. The typical symptoms of CVI are tired, swollen, heavy, nocturnal leg cramps and a sensation of tension and pain in the legs. These are early warning signs of a chronic disorder and can develop into open leg ulcers if left untreated.

There are many risk factors that determine if you have a higher chance of developing Chronic Venous Insufficiency or venous ulcers. Age is probably the number one risk factor. Studies have shown that severe vein disorders are found seven times more frequently in sixty year-olds than in twenty year-olds. Other risks of accelerating or even engendering a vein disorder are obesity, lack of exercise, general hormonal influences in the case of women and hormonal changes and mechanical hindrances to venous blood flow in pregnancy.

Symptoms of CVI
There are many symptoms that you should be aware of so that you can get immediate medical attention. The sooner these symptoms are diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin that can halt the progression of CVI and in some cases stop it. You should consult your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms.

Tired, heavy legs, swollen ankles, nocturnal leg cramps, sensation of tension in the lower leg, itching, tingling, dragging or stabbing pains in the legs can be the first signs of vein damage without varicose veins being externally visible. The symptoms are relieved by elevating the legs, whereas standing or sitting for long periods usually causes deterioration of the symptoms. General symptoms, such as low blood pressure in the morning, are also possible signs of venous insufficiency.

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