Are Varicose Veins Dangerous and Harmful?

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People often think varicose veins are simply a cosmetic issue, but they can actually be dangerous — making it critically important to see a vein specialist.

People with varicose veins generally don’t like their bulging blue and purple appearance — but for many people, that’s where the concern stops. Far too often, people believe that varicose veins — which appear when the valves that pump blood out of your legs and up to your heart stop working effectively, causing blood to pool in your veins, eventually making them bulge and become visible through your skin — are simply a cosmetic issue.

In reality, varicose veins can be much more than that. They can indicate a larger problem with your vascular system and, if left untreated, varicose veins can lead to numerous serious health issues ranging from the uncomfortable to the potentially fatal. Given that more than 50% of women and around 40% of men over the age of 50 suffer from varicose veins, it’s critically important that you be aware that the answer to the common question “Are varicose veins dangerous?” is a resounding yes.

The Dangers of Varicose Veins

When it comes to your varicose veins, there are more reasons to get treatment than simply trying to avoid the many symptoms and cosmetic issues associated with the condition. The dangers of untreated varicose veins include:

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism: This extremely serious condition occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep within your body — most often in your thigh or lower leg, but also potentially in your arm or pelvis. If that blood clot, called a deep vein thrombosis, breaks away, it can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which is frequently fatal. The potential of DVT alone is enough to make it critically important that you see a vein specialist once you notice varicose veins appearing.

Superficial thrombophlebitis: This condition is far less dangerous than DVT, but it can still be quite painful. Superficial thrombophlebitis is when blood clots form within your smaller leg veins, causing the area to become painful, hard, and warm to the touch.

Venous skin ulcers: Venous skin ulcers are open sores that form on your legs as a result of your varicose veins. When your varicose veins are left untreated, these ulcers can heal very slowly because the underlying cause is still present. Venous skin ulcers can also become infected, leading to potentially serious complications.

Skin infections: Varicose veins can lead to significant swelling in your legs, which can then lead to infections. That’s because when your skin gets stretched from the swelling, the stretching interferes with your body’s natural defense against infection. Bacteria that are normally present on our skin can then get into the body, causing a skin infection called cellulitis.

Bleeding: Because your varicose veins store more blood than healthy veins, you have a lot of extra blood sitting right below the surface of your skin. That means that any small wound on your legs can cause much more serious bleeding and bruising than you would experience with healthy veins.

Treating Your Varicose Veins

The best way to avoid these dangers is to see a vein specialist as soon as you start noticing varicose veins appearing on your body. At Center for Vein, we offer a variety of varicose vein treatment options to help you get ahead of the dangers posed by untreated varicose veins. Please contact us to schedule a consultation, so you can meet our vein physicians in Atlanta, Georgia, and learn more about how treatment can help you start feeling better.

Varicose veins don’t have to keep you down — to schedule an appointment, contact us at Center for Vein today.

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