One of the most common symptoms patients at our vein treatment center in Hawaii complain of is chronically swollen legs and ankles. As medical doctors, naturally we examine each patient carefully to determine the exact cause of the swelling, but as vein doctors, we know that if the swelling has persisted for weeks or months it is probably not due to an injury. It is also not likely that the swelling is caused by heart or kidney failure or by hypertensive heart disease, because those conditions may cause such swelling, but they are very rare. The most likely cause is something the patients themselves never suspect – vein disease.
Signs that your swollen legs and ankles could be due to vein disease
One of the first questions we ask if a patient complains of chronically swollen legs and ankles is whether they have varicose veins, and whether members of their close family have or have had varicose veins. Vein disease is hereditary, so if the answer is “Yes,” this increases the likelihood that the current swelling is due to a vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI. This condition occurs when the tiny valves that control blood flow through your veins become damaged and “leaky,” fail to close properly, and allow blood to flow “backwards” back into your veins and pool there. This is one of the most common causes of varicose veins, but it is also a common cause of swelling in the legs and ankles. The swelling occurs because pressure builds up in the veins themselves, but also because your circulation has become impaired. And if you have CVI, this condition is not going to go away or “get better on its own.” It’s going to get worse.
What will happen if you have CVI and don’t seek treatment?
If your veins have been damaged by disease sufficiently to cause chronic swelling in your legs and ankles and you don’t seek treatment for them, here’s what Oahu varicose vein doctors say you can look forward to over the next few years. First, if you have varicose veins already, they are likely to get worse; if you don’t have them yet, you probably will. In addition, the same poor circulation that caused the varicose veins will cause changes in the color and texture of your legs. Your skin will start to turn brown in color and will become more brittle and fragile, and thus more susceptible to injury. Minor scrapes will turn into open, bleeding sores that do not respond to topical treatment and refuse to heal. If you still don’t seek treatment, these sores can turn into leg ulcers that literally leave your legs a bloody mess.
And that’s just what’s happening on the surface. Inside your body, the CVI continues to cripple your circulation, which in turn impairs your immune system and increases your likelihood of developing more serious conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Psychologically, there have been many studies that show that patients whose varicose veins have progressed to this point are more likely to become isolated and clinically depressed. This is where you’re headed if you don’t seek treatment for your swollen legs and ankles.
But all of this is unnecessary, because vein disease can be easily treated
The damage caused by CVI can’t be “repaired” because once the venous valves that control your blood flow have been damaged, they can’t be fixed. But the diseased veins can easily be removed by using minimally-invasive vein treatment techniques such as sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or the Venefit™ closure procedure. These procedures are so painless that they require no anesthesia, and can be completed in about an hour in the comfort of the best Maui vein treatment center. And once the veins that have been damaged by CVI have been closed by these procedures, the swelling and other symptoms will go away as well.
To find out more about how modern vein care treatment can eliminate the swelling in your legs and ankles and return you to a state of normal health, give Dr. Randall S. Juleff and his associates at Vein Clinics of Hawaii a call. These Hawaii vein specialists will be happy to meet with you and help you achieve a healthier and happier future, free from vein disease.