Understanding Chronic Venous Insufficiency Stages

Nearly 1 in 20 adults will be affected by chronic venous insufficiency, especially those aged 50 and older, females, and people with a family history. 

Chronic venous insufficiency, caused by incompetent vein valves, can create unrelenting and debilitating symptoms. 

The good news is that this vascular condition can be treated, and healthy blood flow throughout your body can be fully restored. It is important, though, to get any vein-related conditions treated quickly to avoid the progressive stages of chronic venous insufficiency. 

Let’s explore the typical stages of chronic venous insufficiency in further detail. 

First, What Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is an irregularity in your circulatory system caused by malfunctioning valves in your veins. It can occur in any veins in your lower limbs, from superficial to deep. 

CVI slows down blood flow from your legs back up to your heart. Without treatment, it can cause blood to pool, raising the pressure in your leg veins and leading to capillary bursts. Although small, these bursts can cause skin discoloration, pain, and ulcers.

CVI Symptoms

The most common symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include

  • Heaviness
  • Aching
  • Swollen ankles and feet 
  • Chronic pain in the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Cramping
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Throbbing

The Chronic Stages of Venous Insufficiency

There are seven stages of venous disorders that range from stage 0 to stage 6. 

At stage 3 or higher, you are considered to have chronic venous insufficiency and will likely receive a firm diagnosis.

The seven stages of a venous disorder are as follows:

Stage 0: No signs of irregular vein issues are seen or felt. Some patients may experience achy or tired legs.

Stage 1: Visible blood vessels are present and include spider veins.

Stage 2: Varicose veins are present at least 3 millimeters wide.

Stage 3: Edema (swelling) accompanies varicose veins.

Stage 4: Along with edema and varicose veins, skin color and texture changes appear.

Stage 5: At this stage, you develop a healed ulcer.

Stage 6: Acute (active) ulcers form during this most intensive stage.

CVI Treatment Options

The most common and noninvasive ways to treat chronic venous insufficiency include wearing compression stockings and lifestyle changes such as weight management, leg elevation, and exercise.

Nonsurgical and minimally invasive options also include

  • Sclerotherapy
  • Endovenous thermal ablation  

Before deciding on a treatment option, discussing your unique venous condition with a vascular specialist is recommended. 

Effective Venous Insufficiency Treatment in North Carolina

If you’ve recently developed varicose veins or are experiencing worsening symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency at any stage that affects your daily life, we are here to help. 

Solving your vein problems is our top priority. We will help you feel better sooner. 

Our vein care specialists are experts in the most advanced vein care procedures and treatment options. Call 336-218-8346 to schedule a consultation today.