Venous hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure in the veins in the legs. It can restrict the amount of oxygen that reaches leg tissue and skin, causing swelling, skin changes, and painful ulcers.

Venous hypertension may occur due to weakened valves in the veins in the legs.

This article examines venous hypertension, detailing its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

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Venous hypertension is a medical condition that can occur as a secondary condition of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure.

CVI is a common condition that can develop when the valves in the veins of the legs stop working correctly. This can prevent the blood in the legs from circulating as it should.

When the valves in the veins of the legs do not work properly, blood can incorrectly flow back down into the lower part of the veins. This means that blood pressure cannot decrease, which can lead to high blood pressure in the veins of the legs, or venous hypertension.

Venous hypertension can cause irregularities in the capillaries in the legs, such as capillary leak syndrome. Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that are very porous. This means they can easily exchange fluids and gases between tissues and the blood.

Capillary leak syndrome can cause the capillaries to become even more porous. This can lead to fluids, blood cells, and proteins leaking into the tissues in the legs.

Symptoms of CVI that can cause venous hypertension include:

  • pain and throbbing in the legs
  • swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the legs
  • hyperpigmentation, where patches of skin are darker than a person’s natural skin tone
  • swelling of the legs with a hardening of the skin
  • varicose eczema, which describes dry, flaky, swollen patches of skin on the lower legs
  • skin ulcers on the legs
  • cuts and wounds taking longer to heal than usual

A person with capillary leak syndrome due to venous hypertension may experience symptoms such as:

A 2017 article suggests that one cause of venous hypertension may be a dysfunction of the pump inside the calf muscle. This may occur if a person is inactive for a period of time, unable to move, or adjusts how they walk due to an injury.

One of the leading causes of venous hypertension is the valves in the veins of the legs not working correctly. This describes CVI.

There is little research into the direct risk factors of venous hypertension. However, as CVI can be a cause of venous hypertension, the risk factors of CVI may also be risk factors for venous hypertension.

Some of these risk factors may include:

To diagnose venous hypertension, a doctor may discuss a person’s medical history and any symptoms they are experiencing. They may also perform a physical examination of the lower legs.

Additionally, a doctor may perform a venous duplex ultrasound scan that can detect if any of the valves in the veins are not working correctly.

They may also perform an ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI) test. This test compares the blood pressure in the ankle with the blood pressure in the arm. This can allow a doctor to determine if there are any issues with the blood supply to the arteries in the legs.

If a doctor diagnoses a person with venous hypertension as a result of CVI, several treatments may help treat the affected veins, such as:

  • Compression therapy: This may involve wearing compression stockings.
  • Endothermal ablation: This procedure uses heat to close the affected veins.
  • Sclerotherapy: This involves using a medical solution to make the veins smaller.
  • Ligation and stripping: This process involves the removal of the affected veins.
  • Valve reconstruction or a valve transplant: This procedure aims to correct any valves in the veins that are not working correctly.

Other treatment options might include lifestyle changes, including maintaining a moderate weight by eating a balanced, nutritious diet and taking regular exercise.

A person should speak with a healthcare professional to find out which treatments may work best for them.

Venous hypertension describes high blood pressure in the legs.

It is typically a secondary condition to CVI. This is a condition in which the valves in the veins of the legs are not working correctly. CVI can cause pain, throbbing, swelling, or discoloration of the skin on the legs.

Risk factors for CVI, which may lead to venous hypertension, include living with obesity, varicose veins, and high blood pressure.

Treatments may include compression therapy, weight management, and certain surgical procedures. People should speak with a doctor about which treatments may work best for them.