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Varicose veins – Could it be a warning for deeper problems?

Deep vein thrombosis

Can you brush off those twisted, gnarled, bluish purple veins in your legs just as a cosmetic concern. Many of us might think so. However, studies have shown that they can potentially be linked to the formation of blood clots in the deeper veins of your legs. 

A recent study on patients above 20 years diagnosed with varicose veins showed that there was a significantly increased risk of incident Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) though varicose veins as a direct cause has not been established.

What are Varicose Veins?

As the valves in the veins turn faulty, blood circulation is affected, and the pressure in the legs begin to increase. Gradually the walls of the blood vessels weaken. Leg veins begin to swell and protrude from the skin making them visible. These are Varicose veins and are commonly seen in the feet and legs.

When veins spell trouble?

Researchers are intrigued about the correlation between varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. 

Most people with varicose veins may not develop DVT. However, it is important that they talk to their healthcare provider about their overall risks for vascular diseases. Smoking, high cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure can increase your risk of developing serious conditions like DVT or embolism. 

Diagnostic ultrasound is performed for evaluation of veins and surface below the skin to determine the overall circulation.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

DVT is a condition when blood clots are formed in the deep veins in the body, predominantly in the legs. It may go unnoticed as symptoms such as pain, swelling, or warmth in the leg can be mistaken for normal aging and tend to be ignored. However, aging cannot be an excuse for leg pain and it should not be overlooked. 

DVT and Varicose veins

In most cases deep vein thrombosis does not occur with varicose veins as the latter mostly affects the veins that are near the skin surface. However, if your varicose veins are severe then your chances of developing DVT is higher. 

Blood clots can develop when the blood cannot flow freely due to faulty veins. Clots can also develop when your body is at rest for a long time, during a long flight or drive. Being on bed rest after surgery or illness can also increase your risk of developing clots.

Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. In most cases, PE is caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from deep veins in the legs (DVT) and become lodged in an artery thereby blocking the blood flow to the lungs.

This can damage your lungs or reduce the oxygen levels in your blood. Lack of oxygen can damage other organs. Pulmonary embolism can be deadly if the artery gets clogged by a massive clot or by several smaller ones. 

Low risk treatment options

Wearing compression stockings can improve the blood flow in the veins. Moderate exercise and a healthy diet can reduce your symptoms.

If your symptoms are bothersome, talk to our doctors at Avis Vascular Centre to know more about highly effective state-of-the-art treatment options that are available for varicose veins.

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