When varicose veins can become a threat to your health?
Varicose veins are a common condition that affects both women and men and sometimes it is wrongfully treated as a cosmetic concern. However, if left untreated they can be a serious health threat. They are not always life-threatening, but they can be lifestyle limiting. In this article, we will explore the different situations in which they can become a serious medical issue, and what you can do to prevent or treat them.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that often appear blue or purple. They usually occur in the legs and feet, but can also develop in other parts of the body. Varicose veins are caused by a problem with the valves in the veins. These valves normally prevent blood from flowing backward, but if they don’t work properly, blood can pool in the veins and cause them to bulge.
Varicose veins can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Swelling in the legs
- Aching, heavy or painful legs
- Itching or burning sensation in the affected area
- Muscle cramps in the legs, especially at night
- Skin discoloration or ulcers in severe cases
When can varicose veins be a health threat?
Varicose veins can be a sign of serious medical issues and they can become a health threat is some situations:
One of the serious complications of this issue are blood clots, that when happens at the level of the varicosities is called Thrombophlebitis. Blood clots can form in the deep veins of the legs as well, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If a blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, it can cause a potentially life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism (PE).
In severe cases, varicose veins can cause skin ulcers, which are open sores that don’t heal till the underlying problem is treated. These ulcers can be painful and can become infected if not treated promptly. Ulcers are more common in people who have had vein diseases for a long time or who have a history of blood clots.
Chronic venous insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition in which the veins in the legs don’t work properly, causing blood to pool in the legs. This can cause swelling, pain, and skin changes such as discoloration or thickening. CVI is more common in people who have had varicose veins for a long time.
Varicose veins that are close to the surface of the skin can bleed if they are injured or bumped. While this is not usually a serious issue, it can be alarming and can require medical attention if the bleeding is heavy or doesn’t stop.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein between the muscle fascia and the skin. This can cause pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area. Thrombophlebitis is a serious condition and can cause Pulmonary Embolism.
Start your varicose veins treatment
If you have symptoms, you should discuss with a phlebologist in order to start a tailored plan for your needs. Schedule your consultation today with Dr. Omar Abu-Bakr, The Veins Doctor and regain your health and confidence.
After an initial consultation, you will receive a treatment plan, recommended based on your condition. Treatment options can vary according to your scan results so may include one or a combination of these options:
- High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
- Endovenous Microwave Ablation of the veins (EMWA)
- Endovenous Laser Ablation of the veins (EVLA)
- Transluminal Occlusion Of the Perforators (TRLOP)
- Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy and microsclerotherapy
Varicose veins can become a health threat if they lead to complications such as DVT, superficial thrombophlebitis, skin ulcers, bleeding, or chronic venous insufficiency. It is important to seek medical attention if you have varicose veins and experience any of the symptoms.