What serious health concerns do varicose veins pose?
Most people will agree that varicose veins can be unsightly, but can they cause serious health problems? Sometimes varicose veins can be harmful to your health, causing conditions that require immediate treatment. Varicose veins are a common symptom of the underlying condition venous insufficiency which can lead to deep vein thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, venous ulcers and bleeding.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
The most serious health concern stemming from varicose veins is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which happens when a blood clot is trapped in a deep vein. DVT can occur without symptoms but usually is accompanied by pain and swelling in the affected area, and may include redness, warmth and increased bulging of the veins. The danger of DVT is that a blood clot can travel to the lungs or another vital organ, leading to breathing problems, a heart attack, stroke or other medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. DVT is considered a life-threatening medical emergency, so if you are experiencing swelling in the limbs, especially if the swelling is accompanied by the other symptoms outlined above, you should consult your doctor or Milligan vein immediately to rule out DVT.
Superficial thrombophlebitis, a blood clot or inflammation of the walls of a vein just below the surface of the skin, is another health condition that can occur in people who have varicose veins. The symptoms of thrombophlebitis are roughly the same as those associated with DVT especially with swelling and redness affecting the vein. You should contact a medical professional immediately to rule out DVT. If you are diagnosed with superficial thrombophlebitis, rather than DVT, it is usually a harmless condition and is not considered life threatening. However, superficial thrombophlebitis can recur and cause longstanding discomfort. Rarely, it can progress to DVT.
People who suffer from varicose veins sometimes get venous ulcers, which are open sores that can occur over time and are often accompanied by other health issues, such as diabetes, arterial disease or poor circulation. If you have ulcers appearing on your legs or other areas where you have varicose veins, you should consult your doctor or Milligan Vein.
Because varicose veins have higher pressure than healthy veins, are thin-walled and protrude, they are vulnerable to heavy bleeding when they are bumped or scratched. If you bump or scratch a varicose vein and it begins to bleed, you should like down and elevate the leg. Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops, and contact us immediately.
When to Contact Milligan Vein
Even the most mild of symptoms related to varicose veins should be assessed by a vein specialist but is definitely important to contact us if:
- A visible varicose vein (lumpy or bulging vein near the surface of the skin)
- You have swelling in the feet or ankles
- Walking or standing is painful
- You experience aching, tired legs
- Skin over a varicose vein bleeds on its own or when bumped or scratched
During a consultation with Milligan Vein we can help identify your symptoms and any underlying conditions and develop a treatment plan, if necessary.