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Swollen Legs and Venous Insufficiency: What You Need to Know About Effective Treatment

By Federico M. Richter, MD

Swollen Legs and Venous InsufficiencyOne of the most effective, natural ways to achieve healthy circulatory functioning is through exercising. Along with resistance training, any form of cardiovascular activity will improve the blood flow and diffusion of nutrients. The goal is to get your heart rate up because when the heart muscle contracts at a higher rate, there is an increase in blood volume, allowing the blood to move more swiftly through the circulatory system. This will give the veins and arteries an upgrade in performance level. However, if you have venous insufficiency, exercising can be a difficult task.

Various forms of venous issues affect 25 million Americans. Their legs are swollen, achy and they have a heavy sensation. When our veins are working properly, they pump blood back to the heart. Valves in the veins are made to open and close in one direction if these valves or the wall of the veins are damaged, the blood is unable to work against gravity, and the result is a pooling of the blood in our legs. This pooling is called stasis and can present significant risks to our health.

Symptoms of venous insufficiency
• Swollen legs
• Discoloration of skin (brown or red)
• Tingling/burning/itching sensations
• Heaviness
• Aching
• Cramping

Compression Stockings
Compression stockings are made of an elastic, stretchy material that is tighter at the ankle and gradually increases in circumference up the length of the leg. They support blood flow and help to improve circulation mechanically through compression, which helps to push the blood back up toward the heart.

Many people wear compression stockings for venous insufficiency, swollen legs, leg discomfort, and sports-related activities and comfort. The stockings are available in various sizes and pressures (compressions) in pharmacies and big box stores, but you should talk with your doctor about getting them ordered specifically for you and your needs. Your insurance company may even cover the cost in certain situations.

Sometimes venous insufficiency is more of a cosmetic issue and poses little health concerns. This is usually noted in spider veins, which is when the tiny capillaries are damaged, but when the veins are damaged, this can cause varicose veins, which can lead to much more severe health issues. Neither of these should be taken lightly. A medical professional will be able to report whether or not your symptoms are superficial, or dangerous and in need treatment.

Treatment Options for Venous Insufficiency
• Compression Stockings
• Gradient Compression Devices
• Increased Exercise
• Medications
• Surgery (Usually through minimally invasive catheters, or ultrasound)

Making an appointment with an experienced venous and lymphatic medicine specialist, specializing in venous disease is your best line of defense against venous insufficiency.

About Federico M. Richter, MD
Dr. Richter focuses on the newest developments in minimally invasive vein treatments. Dr. Richter received his medical degree in Argentina in 2003 from Universidad Nacional de Cordoba . He then completed a year of general surgery and a 3-year Fellowship in vein and lymphatic disorders in 2007. As a venous and lymphatic medicine specialist, he is dedicated to treating varicose and spider veins and their underlying causes.

With over a decade of experience in the specialized medical field of diagnosing and treating vein disease, Dr. Richter was one of the first doctors to use lasers to treat a variety of vein diseases in Argentina. Certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and an active member of the American College Of Phlebology , Dr. Richter has also accumulated an impressive list of qualifications and educational accomplishments during the course of his career.

For more information, please visit their website at, or call (941) 907-3400 to schedule your consultation.

6050 53rd Ave. East (SR70), Suite A, Bradenton, FL 34203

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