Font Size: Increase | Decrease

What is chronic venous insufficiency?

more videos from this doctor

Video Overview

What is chronic venous insufficiency? Well this is a diagram of the veins in the legs and, remember, that the circulation of the legs is comprised of arteries and veins; arteries bringing the fresh blood to the leg and the veins draining the used blood out of the leg back towards the heart. So this diagram is just of the veins. Now, as we said, veins bring blood out of the leg and back up towards the heart. So blood has to fight gravity to run up the leg. Now veins are helped to do this by having a series of one way valves that keep the blood moving in the right direction and prevent gravity from pulling the blood back down. Now when these valves fail, that's what we call venous insufficiency or venous reflux. When these valves don't work properly, then gravity pulls the blood back down into the veins, causing the veins to be distended. When the veins are distended, that's what causes the achiness, the tiredness, the heaviness, and the swelling. Also, when that back flow of blood and that back pressure of blood out in the side branches, then the veins under the skin dilate and become varicose veins. Imagine a water balloon on a water facet; well, these abnormal veins are just like that and they distend over time to become varicose veins. When the tiny veins that are right under the skin, that are normally microscopic because they are so small, when they get backed up with blood, they become visible as spider veins.

Disclaimer: The information found on this website is intended to be general medical information; it is not a medical diagnosis or medical advice. Specific medical advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of the facts and circumstances of your health situation. You should seek consultation with a doctor familiar with your medical condition. Posting a question on this website does not create a doctor-patient relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public; do not include confidential information in your question.