Are Varicose Veins the Sign of Something Bigger?

varicose veins

Are Varicose Veins the Sign of Something Bigger?

Are Varicose Veins the Sign of Something Bigger

Varicose veins may be an early warning sign of potentially deadly blood clots, suggests a study published Tuesday in the JAMA.

Enlarged and gnarled varicose veins and deep venous thrombosis, a clot that forms in the deep veins of the body, are strongly associated, the Taiwanese researchers found.

Varicose veins, usually caused by pregnancy or the effects of age weakening the blood vessels, are common.

In the United States, nearly a quarter (23%) of adults have the condition, which doctors rarely associate with serious health risks.

By contrast, other vascular conditions and diseases — such as deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and peripheral artery disease — are thought to be serious and risky. 

Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that occurs in the arteries in the lungs, and peripheral artery disease narrows the arteries leading to the legs, stomach, arms and head. Both can have serious health consequences that may become deadly.

Typically, you can know that you have varicose veins by looking at them. These veins protrude above the skin’s surface (though they are still covered by skin), and they look like a tangle of rope. The area around the veins might be swollen, as well, or the veins may appear raised on their own.

These veins appear on the legs, and they can appear as low as the ankles and as high as the groin. However, they are usually found on the back of the calf or knee. They are next found most often on the inside of the thigh.

Sometimes, these veins are painful, and sometimes they are just an aesthetic issue. For some people, varicose veins are painful enough to limit their mobility or impact their quality of life. Some symptoms can include restless legs, muscle cramps, itching skin, swelling of the ankles, a heavy feeling in the legs, and throbbing pain. Some people are not able to walk when these symptoms present, while others just can’t stand for long periods of time.

Blood clots, skin ulcers, and other problems can appear if you have a serious circulatory problem that is contributing to the varicose veins. These issues require immediate medical attention.

Coastal Vascular Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Fortunately, there are many options for treating varicose veins.
Milder cases can be treated non-surgically. For example, sclerotherapy can seal the veins with a chemical solution and lasers can fade spider veins. Lifestyle changes like getting more exercise, wearing compression socks, regularly elevating the legs, losing weight, and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting can help prevent the condition from worsening.
Surgical options are available for more serious cases of bulging veins and those that cause serious pain and swelling. For example, a catheter can be inserted into the vein to heat and seal it with radiofrequency (RF) technology. Since the RF technology uses a low temperature, it does not damage the surrounding tissue. Therefore, patients do not have as much pain or bruising than with some other treatments.