Last week, we talked about the circulatory system. Specifically, the heart and how it carries oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout our body with each beat. Did you know that the heart also pushes depleted blood cells back through our veins to be replenished? This can be a daunting task, though, especially in our legs.
Our legs are a long way from our heart – as far as our veins are concerned, that is. The distance puts our lower-extremity veins under a lot of pressure. Those tiny tubes have to fight against the force of gravity in order to complete their mission. Thankfully, flaps inside our veins help keep blood flowing upward. However, with all the added work, our veins can develop issues moving blood up our legs to our heart if we’re not treating our bodies properly. When that occurs, it’s called venous insufficiency.
Venous insufficiency means the blood in our veins is not flowing toward the heart, resulting in higher blood pressure in our veins for an extended period. When this occurs, according to Cleveland Clinic, veins can become damaged. Damaged valves fail to keep the blood flowing properly and often give into gravity. This leads to chronic venous insufficiency. Here are some symptoms to look for:
- Swelling in the lower legs and ankles
- Aching or tiredness of the legs
- Leathery-looking skin on the legs
- Flaking or itching skin on legs or feet
- Stasis ulcers (often on the ankles)
To learn more about chronic venous insufficiency, visit our Vein Clinic, or schedule an appointment by calling 907-563-8346 (VEIN).