Most people have an idea of what varicose veins are: thick, bulging, rope-like blood vessels in the legs. But this conception of varicose veins only scratches the surface. The cosmetic “issues” of varicose veins are minor in comparison to the potential threat that looms beneath.
While many patients are understandably concerned about how varicose veins make them look, more patients should take an interest in the health risks posed by varicose veins. One of the biggest potential risks is blood clots.
How Varicose Veins Cause Blood Clots
In patients with varicose veins, blood “pools” in the legs. Damaged valves in the veins make it difficult for blood to resist gravitational pull and return to the heart for re-oxygenation. As a result, you may notice redness and swelling in your legs. Legs may be itchy or sensitive to the touch.
Over time, a blood clot may develop in the superficial veins (those nearer to the skin – not the deep veins that become varicosed). This blood clot could move into a deep vein; then, the clot could travel from the deep vein through the bloodstream to a lung and become lodged. This is known as a pulmonary embolism; it is one of the main reasons why varicose veins are dangerous.
Other Varicose Vein Dangers
In addition to the threat of blood clots, varicose veins can lead to venous stasis ulcers in the legs. These ulcers typically appear on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle. These painful ulcers make the body much more susceptible to infection. There is also a possibility of limb loss.
While the the dangers of varicose veins are real, the good news is that varicose veins can be treated. To learn more about your options, which may include Venefit, a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure, contact Valley Vein Center. Services may be available in Phoenix, East Mesa and Tempe, AZ.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.