Side Effects of Venous Insufficiency

Lawrence J. Markovitz, MD, founded and serves as the medical director of Virginia Vein Care. In this role, Dr. Lawrence Markovitz, who obtained his MD from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, helps patients to understand vein disease and its risks to health and comfort.

When the valves that control blood flow in the leg veins begin to fail, a condition known as venous insufficiency, blood can begin to collect in the legs and feet. This can cause a number of secondary issues, which range from aesthetic to life-threatening. Many patients express concern about the varicose and spider veins that signal venous insufficiency. These are not only cosmetically undesirable, but are also causes of pain, fatigue, and throbbing sensations in the legs.

In some cases, pooling of blood in the legs can cause scarring and pigmentation changes near the ankles. Furthermore, approximately 1 percent of patients over 60 develop skin ulcers, which resist healing due to blood backup. Some individuals with venous insufficiency may also be at risk of either superficial or deep blood clots. Clotting of both types may cause swelling and discomfort, though a deep vein clot poses a greater danger, as it can travel to the lungs and is potentially fatal.

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