Can Varicose Veins Cause Blood Clots?
The Basics of Varicose Veins and Blood Clots
Varicose veins and blood clots are two separate and distinct conditions. Discolored, bulging, and often painful veins, varicose veins arise when blood backs up and pools in certain bodily tissues. This is usually caused by a loss of elasticity in the vein and/or a failure of the vein’s internal valves as they attempt to return the flow of blow to the heart.
In rare instances, a clot (or coagulated venous obstruction) can block blood flow and cause increased pressure within one or more veins. This increased elevated pressure may ultimately result in a backward flow of blood through weakened valves, ultimately creating varicose veins. However, most serious health threats to individuals with this condition would arise from the blood clot itself, not from the varicose veins that it caused.
The Risk of Blood Clots from Varicose Veins
Although they can be unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable, varicose veins alone are relatively harmless. They can, however, be signs of serious health issues such as chronic venous insufficiency. And, in certain cases, they can also promote the blood clots.
Varicose veins often bulge against the skin and/or become gnarled and twisted. When this occurs, the blood that flows through them can become extremely sluggish, creating the perfect conditions for the formation of superficial blood clots (also known as superficial thrombophlebitis and superficial venous thrombosis.)
These superficial clots, in conjunction with varicose veins, can cause swelling, pain, tenderness, and redness in affected areas around the diseased vein. Although deep vein thrombosis (blood clots that form in the deep veins of the legs) are not commonly associated with varicose veins, extremely severe varicose vein conditions place patients at a higher risk for DVT and its associated threat of pulmonary embolism (a life-threatening blood clot in the lungs).
When To Seek Medical Help
Although having varicose veins does not mean that a patient will develop a blood clot or that a blood clot somehow caused them, patients should be aware that the two conditions are often interrelated. In any event, individuals who experience chest pain or difficulty when breathing should seek emergency help from a qualified healthcare professional as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate the presence of a blood clot in the blood vessels of the heart or lungs. Individuals should also receive immediate medical attention if they experience significant localized swelling or develop varicose veins suddenly and unexpectedly.
Modern medicine presents a range of vein treatment options that can alleviate the symptoms and risks of varicose veins while simultaneously addressing their unsightly aesthetic properties. These treatment options range from ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, which employs one or more chemical solutions to cause diseased veins to close, to endovenous laser treatment, which uses subcutaneous laser filament to close veins with targeted light and heat.
For More Information
If you have further questions about varicose veins, blood clots, and the relationship between these two conditions, contact a qualified medical professional today. Chris Pittman and the team of vein experts at Vein 911 offer consultations at multiple Florida offices. Interested parties can also contract Vein 911 by telephone or through its official company website.