What Can Happen if You Fail to Treat Varicose Veins?
About one-fourth of society is diagnosed with varicose veins at some point in their lifetime. Typically found on the legs and thighs, they can cause pain, itchiness, swelling and a general feeling of heaviness, especially after exercise or more extended periods of standing or sitting.
Most patients opt to get varicose veins treated solely because of how they look on their legs. However, there may be a lot more to consider, outside of the realm of a quick cosmetic fix, when it comes to treating your varicose veins promptly.
Although most are harmless outside of their general symptoms, if left untreated, they can cause various other health concerns that you should be aware of.
If you find yourself struggling with varicose veins, Virginia Vein Care can help you treat them sooner to avoid any complications in the future.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that appear on the legs and thighs. They occur when healthy veins become overfilled with blood due to poor circulation. They often appear on the skin’s surface with a blueish-purple hue and look similar to a spider web. They are most common in women aged 50 and older.
Varicose veins can appear due to a variety of factors, including:
- Standing for long periods
- Family history
What happens if varicose veins go untreated?
Although most think of varicose veins as unsightly enlarged veins on the legs, if left untreated, they can lead to a host of other health issues that could be detrimental to your overall health and well-being.
Some of the most significant health concerns of untreated varicose veins include:
Cellulitis is one of the most common forms of infection of the skin. It is classified as a bacterial infection and can occur in those with chronic venous insufficiency or varicose veins. Venous insufficiency causes inflammation of the skin and underlying tissues, which then causes the skin to become unhealthy. This infection turns healthy skin from supple and strong to firm, dry, itchy and fragile. Because of this change, the skin becomes more susceptible to bacteria that, in turn, can lead to a severe skin infection.
Skin ulcers are a direct result of poor circulation. If severe skin infections, like cellulitis, worsen, they can lead to skin ulcers. The affected, swollen tissue prevents the natural flow of proper nutrients and ample oxygen to surrounding tissues, causing the area to form an ulcer.
Leg swelling, or edema, is one of the most common health concerns associated with varicose veins. It is caused by a buildup of extra fluid in the veins and is typically caused by more than one factor, such as varicose veins, venous insufficiency, pregnancy or obesity. Because varicose veins are oversized, fluid in your legs is forced into surrounding tissue, causing a swollen appearance and tight feeling.
Varicose veins are often close to the skin’s surface and bulge outward. Due to their positioning, they are more apt to become damaged and bleed more than expected because of their enlarged
Thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory process that causes blood clots to form and block one or more veins. Most common in the legs, they are a severe risk to those with untreated varicose veins. The affected vein could be on the skin’s surface or deeper into the limb. Symptoms often include a warm sensation, redness and swelling.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Similar to thrombophlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. Although symptoms are rare, pain and swelling may occur. DVT can become serious quickly, as a blood clot from your vein can easily break off and travel to your lungs.
Varicose veins treatment close to home
Virginia Vein Care offers a wide range of minimally invasive, non-surgical alternatives to effectively treat varicose veins before they lead to more severe complications. To learn more about treatment options for your varicose veins or to schedule a consultation, please visit a Virginia Vein Care location near you.