Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins have problems sending blood from the legs back to the heart.
- Deep venous thrombosis
- Stasis dermatitis and ulcers
- Varicose veins
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Venous insufficiency is caused by problems in one or more deeper leg veins. Normally, valves in your veins keep your blood flowing back towards the heart so it does not collect in one place. But the valves in varicose veins are either damaged or missing. This causes the veins to remain filled with blood, especially when you are standing.
The condition may also be caused by a blockage in a vein from a clot (deep vein thrombosis).
Chronic venous insufficiency is a long-term condition. It occurs because of partial vein blockage or blood leakage around the valves of the veins.
Risk factors for venous insufficiency include:
- History of deep vein thrombosis in the legs
- Being female (related to levels of the hormone progesterone)
- Being tall
- Genetic factors
- Prolonged sitting or standing
Pictures & ImagesHeart, front view
The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.Venous insufficiency
The valves in the veins usually channel the flow of blood toward the heart. When these valves are damaged, blood leaks and pools in the legs and feet. Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins fail to return blood efficiently to the heart. This condition usually involves one or more veins. Symptoms include swelling of the legs and pain in the extremities such as a dull aching, heaviness, or cramping.
Review Date : 6/1/2009
Reviewed By : Jeffrey Heit, MD, Internist with special emphasis on preventive health, fitness and nutrition, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.