Varicose Veins and Heart Trouble: Is There a Link?
Varicose veins are a relatively common problem among both men and women in the middle to later years of life. While these veins can be unsightly, many individuals are told they are little more than a cosmetic concern. However, varicose veins left unchecked may progress to more serious complications over time. Is heart trouble one of those complications?
Why Varicose Veins Occur
Varicose veins are the result of tiny valves inside the veins becoming damaged or wearing out. These valves are responsible for moving blood in a single direction, back to the heart. When they no longer function well, blood can begin to pool in the veins, leading to swelling of the vessel and varicosity.
Varicose Veins and Heart Function
The veins are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart, where it can be oxygenated and then travel back through the body via the arteries. There is plenty of research to support the fact that when arteries become damaged or blocked, risk of a heart attack is much higher. However, that same risk does not apply to varicose veins, which means the appearance of these bulging vessels do not necessarily increase your risk for heart problems in the future.
Varicose Veins and Blood Clots
While varicose veins do not directly affect the heart, they can impact the vascular system in other ways. Varicose veins are associated with a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis or DVT. DVT involves the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein of the body, usually in the leg. If that blood clot breaks free from its original position, it can travel to the lungs, leading to a potentially life-threatening condition known as pulmonary embolism.
Varicose Veins and Other Complications
There are other complications that can occur with varicose veins as well. Because blood flow in the lower leg is compromised with varicose veins, it can affect the skin in the area. Skin can thicken and become discolored – a condition that does not always diminish after varicose veins are treated. Sores may form, which can become large and infected relatively quickly. Known as venous ulcers, these sores are very difficult to treat and have a high recurrence rate.
Treatment for Varicose Veins
While varicose veins are not necessarily related to heart problems, they can raise your risk for other serious and uncomfortable complications. The good news is minimally-invasive varicose vein treatments can eliminate unsightly veins, as well as uncomfortable symptoms. Treatment will also eliminate your risk of further complications in the future. To learn more about your options in varicose vein treatment, contact Center for Vein Restoration.