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Written by Amy Hall
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Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)

CVI, chronic venous insufficiency, is by far the most common cause of leg disorders. In chronic venous insufficiency, the return of blood from the legs is chronically impaired. The typical symptoms of CVI are tired, heavy, swollen legs, 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.

Risk factors for venous insufficiency are age, obesity, hormonal fluctuations, and pregnancy. Probably the number one risk factor is age: studies have shown that severe vein disorders are found seven times more frequently in sixty year olds than in twenty year olds. Obesity and lack of exercise go hand-in-hand, and are also a very common cause of venous insufficiency.


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 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.

If detected early, it is possible to halt the progression of many disorders, and this also applies to varicose vein disorders. You should consult with your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms. If caught early, your doctor can prescribe a course of treatment that may stop your symptoms and reverse the progression of your specific condition.

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