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What happens when Varicose veins are left untreated


When the one-way valves in the veins which are designed to prevent the back flow of blood become weak and faulty, the blood starts pooling in the veins. Then, unable to handle the pressure from the increased amount of blood flow, enlargement and twisting of veins occur, which ultimately result in the development of Varicose veins

Some people, often confuse varicose veins with ‘spider veins’ that appear like small branches or spider web – just below the skin surface. Spider veins generally appear as blue or red lines, less than 1 mm in diameter, and are generally painless and do not lead to other major health problems. They normally do not cause any leg swelling. Treatment of spider veins alone is mostly considered a cosmetic issue. Unlike that, untreated Varicose veins can have associated complications. 

Not having symptoms now does not mean that you will never experience them. In fact, more the delay in getting treated, sooner you may start experiencing the pain. Here, let us know few of the hidden dangers of leaving Varicose veins untreated.  

1) Itching – One of the mildest and most common symptoms of untreated varicose veins is an “itching” sensation. This is often treated as ‘dry skin’, with over-the-counter ointments and lotions. 

2) Increased pain and swelling – As pressure builds up in the veins, fluid from the blood sometimes leak into the adjacent tissues causing swelling. Untreated varicose veins, lead to further damage of the veins, which worsens the swelling and pain. 

3) Weakness – If left untreated, Varicose veins can take a toll on your active lifestyle. Weakness in the legs can make you tired and can have major consequences if your job or lifestyle require you to be active and on your feet all day.

4) Lipodermatosclerosis – This condition of venous insufficiency leads to the hardening and discoloration of the skin around Varicose veins. This can cause pain and swelling around the veins, especially around the ankles.

5) Ulcers – Poor blood circulation due to damaged valves in veins can cause constant increase in pressure inside the veins. Blood vessels become fragile and even a small scratch can make the skin in your legs easily break and form ulcers. Spontaneous bleeding may occur and wounds will take longer to heal.  

6) Thrombophlebitis – Varicose vein is a common cause of superficial thrombophlebitis. It is an inflammatory process that leads to formation of blood clots, which block one or more veins, especially in the legs.

7) Deep vein Thrombosis – Occasionally, people who develop blood clots in varicose veins, develop clots in deeper veins. The blocked veins can lead to even deadly conditions like Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT turns risky when the blood clot breaks off and moves to the lungs, causing a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

It is important to know that small varicose veins can be managed with compression stockings during travel or while seated for long periods of time. But if the veins are large, and causes aching, discoloration and swelling then it is recommended to consult your doctor right away. Being a progressive disorder, if left untreated it could potentially deteriorate. 

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