Woman’s Doc: Treating Venous Insufficiency

January 10, 2011

Condition Causes Aches, Swelling

BALTIMORE — Roughly 8 million to 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from an uncomfortable condition called venous insufficiency, which can affect people who stand for long periods of time, such as nurses or teachers.

Dr. Paul Lucas, of Mercy Medical Center’s Vascular Center, said venous insufficiency is a buildup of pressure going down the legs.

“It can be as mild as achiness, with or without swelling, and one leg may swell more than another,” he said.

Lucas said the condition is caused by leaky valves in the legs.

“When the heart beats, the valve opens, and the blood moves in an upward direction. When the heart is at rest, the valve closes, preventing reflux of blood back down the leg,” he explained. “There is a failure of the valves to fully close when the heart is at rest, which causes reflux of blood back down the veins through the valve, which increases pressure in the lower part of the leg.

“He said the treatment is often simple — avoid long sessions of sitting or standing and wear compression stockings.

“I’m on my feet a lot, so I wear these stockings. It helps give my legs support and makes them feel better and not as tired,” said Cheryl, who’s been a nurse for 25 years.

Doctors said while most patients with venous insufficiency are women, men can also have problems with it.

This is a re-post from WBALTV.com

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2 Comments

  • By hosiery fan, 03/18/2011 @ 11:17 AM

    How exactly does support hosiery fix the defective valves? It may alleviate the symptoms but i doubt it actually addresses the core cause…

  • By Rob Travers, 03/20/2011 @ 1:18 AM

    Actually, the compression stockings help the body to fix itself. First, let me explain that I’m not a doctor, but I’ll explain as a doctor told me. Defective valves are usually the result of an increased venous blood pressure which basically increases the diameter of the vein. When the diameter is increased, the valves are simply not able to close and block the blood from falling back down towards the feet. Compression stocking serve to decrease the venous blood pressure – by application of external pressure, the veins’ diameter is decreased to the point where valves can work properly. Then the cells can regenerate and the valves fix themselves.

    Think of this parallel – it’s the same idea as stitching up an open cut. Let’s say that you have a large cut on your arm. If the cut remains spread apart, your body will have difficulty healing itself. So here comes the doc…. he’ll bring the two edges very close to eachother and then apply stitches. The purpose of the stitches is to keep the two edges butting up next to eachother for long enough that the cells can regenerate and the wound will close itself. The stitches didn’t heal the wound, but they assisted in allowing the body to heal itself.

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