Varicose veins are swollen and twisted veins that may seem like a common health issue, but it actually affects more than 40 million people in the United States, 50% of which have familial history of the condition.
But while varicose veins are generally harmless, especially if proper varicose vein treatment is initiated early, it may be a sign of a more serious condition, one of which is a blood clot. But how exactly can varicose veins predispose you to potentially forming blood clot?
Varicose Veins Increase your Risk of Developing a Blood Clot
There is good reason aggressive varicose vein treatment is initiated upon the diagnosis of varicose veins. This is because new research showed that having varicose veins could make you five times more prone to developing dangerous blood clots.
According to Dr. Shyue-Luen Chang, lead researcher and phlebologist from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan: “Varicose veins are not merely a cosmetic or symptomatic concern, because they may be associated with increased risk of more serious disease.” This is after their study revealed that a group of 425,000 subjects, half of whom had varicose veins, was at a 5.3 times risk for deep vein thrombosis.
Chang’s team also discovered that subjects with varicose veins have an increased risk for developing pulmonary embolisms and PAD or the narrowing of the leg arteries.
Varicose Veins may be a Sign of a More Serious Medical Condition
More studies have solidified Dr. Chang’s findings that people who have varicose veins are more likely to develop a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.
While varicose veins are superficial, they could be a sign that a blood clot is forming in one of the deeper veins in the body, which causes swelling and pain in the legs that are typical of varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis is a dangerous health condition and studies have shown that varicose veins can be a sign of underlying DVT.
Pulmonary embolism, on the other hand, is a life-threatening condition that takes place when a blood clot travels to your lungs. This can cause chest pain and shortness of breath, which if not treated immediately, could result in death.
While more studies are needed to verify the correlation between having varicose veins and the formation of blood clots, medical experts suggest that you should watch out for some signs that there may be a more serious problem going on. This includes a brownish skin discoloration on the legs, veins that are red and painful, and increased swelling and pain on the lower extremities.
Proper Vein Treatment
When these signs start to appear, you should seek medical help right away so prompt varicose vein treatment can be initiated and the underlying problems can be addressed before they turn lethal.
Of course, there is the importance of controlling varicose veins and reducing your risk for developing dangerous blood clots. Simple steps like regular exercise, elevating your legs after prolonged standing or walking and maintaining the ideal body weight can already do a lot in protecting yourself from dangerous health conditions associated with varicose veins.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.