If you’ve read a few of the articles that our vein treatment center in Hawaii publishes on its website, you’ve heard the term chronic venous insufficiency (or its acronym CVI) before, and know that it is the most common cause of varicose veins. But what exactly IS CVI, and what makes it so terrible for your health?
Basically, CVI prevents your veins from pumping blood back to your heart
Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that attacks the tiny, one-way valves that are supposed to close when blood passes through them on its way back to the heart and lungs, to prevent any of that blood from flowing backwards. When these valves become damaged, they become “leaky” and cause the blood to pool up in your veins rather than go where it’s supposed to go.
In many people, this causes the veins to become swollen and discolored, taking on the blue-purple color of deoxygenated blood, and become varicose. In other people, CVI doesn’t manifest immediately as varicose veins, and instead causes symptoms such as edema (swelling caused by a buildup of fluids), changes to skin color and texture (caused by impaired circulation), and ulceration (simple cuts, scratches, or abrasions becoming infected and turning into bleeding sores).
Can CVI be cured?
The short answer to this question is, sadly, “No,” in the sense that once these venous valves have become damaged, they cannot be fixed or repaired, either with drugs or with surgery. The longer and more correct answer is that although the venous valves caused by CVI can’t be fixed, they can be effectively treated.
If the symptoms of CVI are fairly minor and have not yet caused major problems that make it impossible for you to walk or stand for more than a few minutes, CVI can be managed (not cured, per se) using conservative methods such as controlling your diet, getting more exercise, and wearing compression stockings.
If CVI has caused varicose veins or more unpleasant symptoms, the affected veins can be removed completely using minimally-invasive procedures such as sclerotherapy or endovenous laser therapy (EVLT). These treatments actually close the diseased veins permanently, allowing them to be absorbed into nearby tissue while healthier veins take over the job of pumping blood back to the heart.
Who is most at risk of developing CVI, and how do they know for sure?
The biggest risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency are age (being over 50), gender (females get CVI much more than males, for hormonal reasons), and heredity (one or more parents had the disease). Controllable risk factors for CVI include inactivity (not getting enough exercise, and especially sitting too much), smoking cigarettes, and being overweight.
Because not every case of CVI manifests with visible symptoms such as varicose veins or skin discoloration, the only sure way to know if you have it is to go to a Hawaii vein specialist and have a venous health screening. Fortunately, these screenings are fast, painless, and non-invasive, so in less than an hour you can know for sure whether you have or are at risk of chronic venous insufficiency. So pick up your phone, call the best Maui vein treatment center, and set up an appointment for your own screening. You’ll be happy you did.