varicose veins treatment

Varicose veins are a common condition that often affects people as they age and can be treated with minimally invasive procedures. They occur when the valves in your veins fail to work correctly, causing blood to pool in your legs and ankles.

Varicose veins treatment is available, but most patients are unaware of what can happen if the condition is left untreated.

However, this blog will cover six risks associated with ignoring your varicose veins.

Untreated Varicose Veins Are Linked to Six Hidden Dangers

As a vascular surgeon, I often see that people don’t know what to look out for regarding varicose veins. They’re not always as apparent as you’d think—and they can sometimes be more dangerous than you realise.

Varicose veins can be painful, itchy, and unsightly. Sometimes, they may require treatment to improve symptoms and prevent complications.

Here are six dangers of varicose veins that might surprise you:

1. Blood Clots

Blood clots are a risk factor for all patients with varicose veins, but they’re especially dangerous for those who already have blood clots or have other risk factors like smoking or obesity. Blood clots can form in the enlarged surface veins – this is called superficial thrombophlebitis. It appears as a sudden onset of red, hot and tender veins. It can be confused with infection but the best treatment is compression and elevation of the affected leg. Anti-inflammatory tablets like Nurofen or Ibuprofen can help relieve the pain related to the inflammation from superficial thrombophlebitis.

2. Ulcers

Ulcers are another risk factor associated with varicose veins because the varicose veins results in pooling of cells and fluids in the tissues of the lower leg. This causes inflammation and scar tissue formation, which then can impair oxygenation and nutrient delivery to the tissues, resulting in ulceration.  Venous ulcers can take many months to heal.

3. Skin Discoloration

Varicose veins are often visible beneath your skin as blue or purple bulges. These bulges occur when blood pools in the vein because of weak valves. The pooled blood tends to leak out through small cracks in the vein’s walls, which causes discolouration and swelling of the skin around it. This discolouration can be unsightly, but it’s also a sign that you’re at risk for more serious issues like ulcers or cellulitis (a bacterial infection).

4. Bleeding

Varicose veins are enlarged veins just under the skin’s surface filled with blood. If you have varicose veins, it’s important to know that they’re more likely to bleed than other types of veins in your body because their walls are weak and thinner compared with normal leg veins. If you injure yourself while playing sports or gardening for example, you may bleed from varicose veins more easily than normal leg veins because they’re more fragile.

5. Deep Vein Thrombosis

One of the theoretical risks of varicose veins is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is when a blood clot forms in a vein located in the muscle compartment. This can happen when you’re not moving around and your blood flow slows, eg. on long haul aeroplane flights, or prolonged bed rest after surgery. The clot can break off and travel to the lungs, where it could cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE  is when an artery in your lung becomes blocked by the clot and prevents oxygen delivery to the blood – it could become fatal. The risk for DVT increases with age and is higher in women than men.

With March being DVT Awareness Month, it is important for anyone falling under the high-risk groups to educate themselves on this condition and find out ways to prevent it. If you already suffer from venous disease or have a family history of blood clots, it might be worthwhile to visit a vein and artery specialist for a checkup on the health of your vascular systems.

6. Swelling

Many people don’t realise how much varicose veins may affect their quality of life. Don’t write them off as inconspicuous little veins. There is a good reason why they stick out.  It’s common for patients with varicose veins to experience swelling in their legs after standing for a long period or during an extended flight.

Blood pools in the legs when the valves in the vein walls are malfunctioning and blood cannot drain normally. This increases the pressure in the veins and therefore widens them, making them more prominent and achy. Some people with varicose veins may never experience any symptoms, but those who do may include leg swelling, cramping, aching, itching and fatigue.

Get Your Varicose Veins Treated by a Vein Artery Specialist in Melbourne

Getting your varicose veins treated is the best way to eliminate the discomfort and embarrassment that comes with them.

Dr Adrian Ling is a vascular surgeon specialising in varicose veins treatment in Melbourne. He offers a range of treatments, including sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation,  Venaseal Glue laser therapy.

If you’re curious about what these treatments entail and if it’s right for you, reach out to Vein Artery Specialist in Melbourne today!