Due to genetic factors and a poor lifestyle that is characterized by an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, some people develop varicose veins in their legs and feet. The one-way valves of these veins do not function as desired and hinder the flow of the deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
As the blood isn’t efficiently pumped back to the heart, excessive blood remains pooled in the varicose veins and leads to humungous pressure in the affected area. This medical condition is referred to as venous insufficiency.
The added pressure forces the walls of the varicose veins to stretch which causes the protein in the blood cells to reach the subcutaneous tissues. Further, due to the lack of oxygen and nutrients, these tissues eventually breakdown and result in ulceration.
Chronic venous insufficiency in most cases leads to venous ulcers that are open wounds or sores visible on the surface of the skin on the legs and feet. These require immediate medical assistance and are extremely slow to heal.
Varicose veins and most other venous disorders can be attributed to genetic reasons apart from a few other conditions. Following are the most prevalent risk factors for venous insufficiency and leg ulcers:
- Being female
- Old age
- Being tall
- Varicose veins
- History of blood clots in deep veins (DVT)
- Family history of venous disorders
- Blockage of lymph vessels
- Sitting or standing for long durations
- Injury to the leg, burns or muscle damage
Early Signs of Venous Insufficiency
Like most other medical conditions, our body gives us numerous hints about venous insufficiency as well. It is vital for us to be aware and keep an eye for the below-mentioned symptoms :
- The skin changes in the affected area accompanied by itching. This medical condition is also referred to as Stasis Dermatitis.
- The skin may also turn hard and brown or dark red in colour
- Pain and swelling in the leg along with a feeling of heaviness
- Tingling sensation in the damaged area
Symptoms of Venous Ulcers
If we fail to get ourselves treated after the early signs of venous insufficiency, the condition may worsen and lead to active venous ulcers. Below mentioned are the easiest to recognize symptoms of leg ulceration:
- Shallow sore with a red base that may be covered with a yellow tissue
- Uneven borders of the sore
- Pain in the leg
- Surrounding skin turns shiny, tight, warm, and also discoloured
- Infected sores may have a bad odour and pus drain from the wound
If you have developed leg ulcers, it is essential for you to take proper care as the open sore may get infected and lead to many other severe medical complications. We have made a to-do list, please make a note of the below tips:
- You must keep the wound clean and bandaged to prevent getting infected.
- You must change the dressing frequently. Always ensure to clean the wound before doing the dressing.
- Dressing and skin around the wound must always be kept dry.
- Always keep the skin around the wound moisturized to reduce itching and irritation
- Ask your venous expert if you must wear compression stockings above your dressing and/or bandage
There are some easy tips and tricks to prevent varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and related disorders of the veins. Simply note down the below points and incorporate them in your day to day life:
- Eat healthy food
- Exercise everyday
- Quit smoking
- Blood sugar control for diabetic patients
- Plenty of sleep
- Regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Weight loss for obese or overweight people
Even if you have already been diagnosed with venous insufficiency, you can still reduce the chances of venous ulcers by following the below tips:
- Wear compression stockings as they are known to improve the blood flow in the affected area. They offer relief from the leg pains, help reduce the swelling and also assist with healing.
- As frequently as possible, place your feet above the level of your heart. Lie down on the bed and use one or more pillows to lift your feet higher. This will make it easier for the blood to move back to the heart and prevent blood pooling.
- Ensure to eat a nutritious diet and perform moderate and low impact exercises every day.
- Ensure to take the medicines as prescribed by your medical practitioner.
Varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency, leg ulcers, and other venous disorders have become fairly common due to the sedentary lifestyle of most people in urban cities. Although not serious, all venous medical conditions must be treated in a priority by trusted and reliable vascular specialists only.
Dr. Rajah V Koppala is a qualified and internationally trained vascular expert who specializes in the minimally invasive and painless laser treatment of varicose veins. At Avis Hospitals, we have the latest equipment and all modern amenities in-house for efficient treatment by the endovenous laser ablation technique.
If you or anyone in your family is suffering from vascular medical conditions, do not delay in scheduling a consultation with the renowned interventional radiologist Dr. Rajah V Koppala at Avis Hospitals. The laser treatment is suitable for people of all ages and we ensure quick recovery with minimal post-operative care. Book an appointment today!