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Your Healthy Family: Signs and solutions for venous insufficiency

Posted at 7:37 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 07:40:51-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Venous insufficiency occurs when blood has trouble getting back to your heart from your legs. It can lead to a lot of other health issues, from ulcers and wounds to lack of mobility.

"When your veins aren't working, it's hard for you to circulate good blood in. The bad blood is in the way," Dr. Joseph Cipriano of Lumiere Cosmetic Vein Center in Cape Coral said.

He said blood pumps out of the heart, through your arteries to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body. Your veins then carry the metabolic waste byproducts.

"If the blood cannot get out of your legs, you're not returning metabolic waste, acids, urine, to your liver, kidneys and lungs to get it out. So obviously it's impeding not just flow of good blood in, but also removal that waste," Dr. Cipriano said. "When the blood can't get out of the legs, ultimately, it leads to just a noxious environment in the tissue. When you add decade after decade after decade, it extends from the skin and the fat, and actually has an impact upon muscle, bone, connective tissue. You can have significant impact to every aspect of your leg."

Some signs of venous insufficiency include:

  • Spider veins
  • Varicose veins
  • Swelling in your ankles or lower legs
  • Difficulty walking long distances
  • Tiredness or heaviness in your legs

"One common one that people don't really correlate with venous insufficiency is restless leg syndrome. Waking up in the middle of night with cramping legs, and pain makes it so that you have to get up, sit at the side of the bed, and kind of stomp your leg around a little bit. That's a very common one that people don't automatically associate," Dr. Cipriano said.

There are some procedures to reverse venous insufficiency, but there are natural, non-invasive ways to treat it as well, including:

  • Regular exercise
  • Elevation
  • Increased hydration
  • Anti-inflammatory diets
  • Compression socks

Dr. Cipriano said the first step is recognizing the signs of venous insufficiency and doing something about it.

"I've had patients that had numb feet, that haven't felt their feet for 5-10 years, now can feel their feet again because the nerve was getting compressed by the pain that was directly adjacent to it," Dr. Cipriano said