When They Become Serious
If you develop something called phlebitis, it can turn harmless varicose veins into a serious medical condition. Phlebitis is an inflammation of the veins. This process allows pooled blood inside the vein to clot in response to the inflammation, forming a thrombus.
This is a painful condition which presents as a hard and tender lump on the leg.
This then becomes a serious risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) where the clot can extend deep into the vein system. In some extreme cases, the clot dislodges and travels to other parts of the body. For example, if it moves to the lungs, it becomes pulmonary embolus, a serious medical condition which is life-threatening and requires immediate and urgent diagnosis and treatment.
Going untreated, even for regular varicose veins, puts you at risk for damage to the skin on the lower part of the leg. The damage can then deteriorate and become an ulcer or sore on the leg that refuses to heal, due to the fact that blood flow is restricted.
It often reduces mobility and decreases quality of life. However, these ulcers are completely preventable. People over the age of 40 are at a higher risk for varicose veins, as are people with a family history of them.
Medical Procedures That Can Help
If you can’t get any relief from varicose veins, some medical procedures might help. Losing weight is one of many first steps that can alleviate pain and some of the risk factors. If you’re having trouble with that, changing diet and lifestyle can help, as can plastic surgery. For more information about plastic surgery and what it can do, click here.
Once varicose veins develop, you can have a procedure called sclerotherapy, which is an injection of a liquid chemical into the vein. This causes it to disappear over time. Most doctors will recommend compression stockings or support hose before surgery, however.
Taking care of your skin, moisturizing, and changing lifestyle is the best preventative medicine.
About the author
Dr. Kevin Ruhge is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons who runs a busy cosmetic surgery practice in sunny Pasadena, California. He serves patients throughout southern California and throughout the United States. His illuminating and informative posts appear mainly on health, medical and wellness websites.
Site last updated: 28. November 2020