Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

10 Jun, 2024

Many people view varicose veins as a cosmetic issue or an inconvenience that comes with aging or prolonged standing. However, the truth is far more complex and concerning. Ignoring varicose veins can lead to severe health complications, some of which can be life-threatening. At National Vascular Associates, we provide reliable vascular care services for local patients. If you've been dismissing those bulging, twisted veins as harmless, it's time to take a closer look.


The Risk of Bleeding Varicose Veins

Varicose veins, especially those close to the skin’s surface, are susceptible to bleeding. This can occur spontaneously or due to minor trauma. When varicose veins bleed, the blood loss can be substantial, leading to a medical emergency. Ignoring minor bleeds can also lead to complications, as even small wounds can become infected easily.  Superficial bleeding might seem manageable at home, but it’s important to understand that repeated episodes can weaken the vein walls, making future bleeds more severe and harder to control. Seeking vascular treatment for varicose veins addresses the cosmetic concern and also reduces the risk of these potentially dangerous bleeding episodes.

Understanding Deep Vein Thrombosis

A serious complication of varicose veins is deep vein thrombosis. DVT occurs if a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the legs. These clots will travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which is often fatal. People with varicose veins should be aware of their heightened risk and take preventive measures, such as regular exercise and wearing compression stockings. Certain lifestyle changes, like staying hydrated and avoiding long periods of inactivity, can also help lower the risk of developing DVT. Varicose veins increase the risk of DVT due to poor blood flow and prolonged pooling of blood in the legs. Symptoms such as swelling, pain, and redness in the affected leg should not be ignored. Medical evaluation and intervention from a vascular doctor can prevent the potentially deadly consequences of DVT.

The Development of Venous Ulcers

Venous ulcers are sores that develop when varicose veins cause prolonged venous insufficiency. The impaired circulation prevents proper healing, leading to chronic wounds that can become infected. These ulcers are often painful and can impair mobility. They require comprehensive vascular care, including wound care and addressing the underlying venous insufficiency, to promote healing and prevent recurrence. Early intervention for varicose veins can reduce the risk of developing these debilitating ulcers.

The Impact of Lipodermatosclerosis

Lipodermatosclerosis is a condition characterized by skin changes due to chronic venous insufficiency, often associated with varicose veins. The skin becomes hardened, discolored, and painful. Early symptoms might include a feeling of tightness around the calves and noticeable skin changes, such as redness and scaling. A vascular specialist can provide treatment for lipodermatosclerosis that involves managing the underlying venous issues and may include compression therapy, medication, and in some cases, surgery. Addressing varicose veins early can help prevent these severe skin changes and maintain healthy legs.

Are You Looking for a Local Vascular Doctor?

If you or a loved one are dealing with varicose veins, don’t wait for complications to arise. At National Vascular Associates, our experienced team is dedicated to providing comprehensive vascular treatment for a wide range of conditions. Contact us for more details or to schedule an appointment with a vascular specialist.

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