Our team at Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic & Hyperbarics in San Antonio, Texas, is led by board-certified specialist Dr. Manjulatha Badam.
Our group provides the highest level of patient-focused care available for complex wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, treatment-resistant tissue infections, and other painful skin conditions related to your circulatory health.
We’re happy to share information about venous hypertension and the effects it can have on the veins and skin of your lower extremities.
Understanding venous hypertension
The term “hypertension” typically refers to elevated blood pressure readings in your arteries, which carry oxygenated blood from your heart to the rest of the body.
But venous hypertension describes elevated pressure in your venous system (veins). These are the vessels that return blood back to your heart for a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients.
Chronic venous hypertension most commonly affects your leg veins, and left untreated, it can eventually damage the capillaries as well. These tiny blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients to your skin, muscles, and other tissue structures.
Venous hypertension may be linked to a blood clot or other blockage that’s limiting blood flow through the vein, causing pressure to increase behind the obstruction. More often, though, it’s related to a general condition called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
What is chronic venous insufficiency?
Your veins contain tiny flap-like valves that open and close regularly to help move blood toward the heart. This function is especially important in your legs since the blood must flow upward against gravity.
CVI occurs when these valves fail to close completely, allowing the blood to fall backward into the vein, where it collects and pools.
This stretches and weakens the vein walls and can eventually cause the twisting and bulging noted with varicose veins. With CVI, you may also experience fluid buildup and other potentially serious problems related to sluggish blood flow through your leg veins.
Ironically, vein damage related to CVI can trigger venous hypertension, and elevated pressures noted with venous hypertension can lead to CVI.
Is chronic venous hypertension dangerous?
Both CVI and chronic venous hypertension can cause serious illness as the condition advances.
Your symptoms may include:
- A sense of heaviness in the legs
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Dark brown skin discoloration around the lower legs and ankles
- Leathery skin texture
- Dry, flaking skin that is easily irritated
- Increasing number of varicose veins
- Blood clots
- Aching pain in the legs and feet
- Spreading skin infection (cellulitis)
- Open sores (venous ulcers)
Many of the skin changes noted with chronic venous disease are related to burst capillaries that lead to extensive tissue damage and inflammation. This also restricts the amount of oxygen and nutrients these small blood vessels normally provide for cellular regeneration and repair.
Malfunctioning capillaries may prompt spreading skin infections or non-healing sores (venous stasis ulcers) that involve layers of deeper tissue as they enlarge. This can eventually lead to extensive tissue death (gangrene) requiring foot or leg amputation.
Treating venous hypertension and insufficiency
Healing cellulitis, open sores, and other tissue damage becomes a priority in treating advancing venous disease.
Depending on the results of your initial evaluation, which may include diagnostic studies to identify the type and level of infection, Dr. Badam creates a customized treatment plan that may include:
- Wound debridement to remove dead or dying tissue
- Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT)
- Advanced wound healing treatments such as collagen dressings
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Cultured/artificial skin grafting
- Split-thickness skin grafts
Treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy help restore the oxygen levels and other nutrients your body requires to rebuild tissue damaged by venous disease.
Other therapies, such as cultured or split-thickness skin grafting, promote wound healing by replacing lost tissue with a healthy layer of “new” skin.
Other treatments for chronic venous disease may include:
- Varicose vein treatment
- Medication to improve blood flow
- Compression stockings to reduce fluid buildup
- Lifestyle changes such as adding regular physical activity to your routine
- Improved nutrition
Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Badam today at our San Antonio, Texas, clinic for more information about the highly successful treatments we offer for wound care.