Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins. They usually occur on the legs and can be painful. They are a common problem, affecting up to one in three Americans. There is no single cause of varicose veins, and someone who has them usually has more than one risk factor for developing them. Varicose veins often run in families, and other factors that can make them more likely to develop include being overweight or pregnant or standing for long periods of time.
Varicose veins don’t always cause symptoms, but for symptomatic sufferers, there are several treatments available, including self-care measures, surgery, and minimally invasive procedures. Symptomatic varicose veins sufferers who do not seek treatment for their condition are at risk for complications.
If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to a number of serious health complications, including blood clots, ulcers, bleeding, and brown, leathery skin. Let us talk about some of the serious complications that can arise from untreated varicose veins.
Blood clots form when the flow of blood is disrupted, which happens when the faulty valve system in varicose veins prevents blood from traveling back up to the heart, resulting in the blood sitting in the veins – hence the enlarged veins. When the flow of blood is disrupted, the blood cells begin to stick together and can form a clot. Blood clots that form deep in the veins can break off and travel up to the lungs, which is called pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition.
Another complication of untreated varicose veins is ulcers, which can be described as dark red or purple patches of skin or open sores that have a red base and yellow tissue and ooze drainage. The increasing pressure in the vein walls makes them very fragile, which means the walls of the vessel are easily damaged. This can lead to the formation of ulcers, which are slow-healing by nature due to the problem with circulation.
If you have varicose veins, they may rupture and bleed. This can happen if the vein is injured in any way. Even brushing of the leg against a hard surface or scratching can result in a varicose vein bursting and bleeding. A bleeding varicose vein can be severe and is considered a medical emergency.
Brown, Leathery Skin
The brown, leathery skin that can occur from varicose veins is caused by the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. This can happen when the veins are not able to properly circulate blood, causing a build-up of pressure in the vessels. This increased pressure leads to inflammation and damage to the surrounding tissue, including the skin.
Varicose Veins Treatment in Kansas City and Leavenworth, KS and Liberty and Marshall, MO
For the expert treatment of varicose veins and a return to smooth, younger-looking legs, trust Dr. Scott Darling at Missouri Vein Specialists with your care. Dr. Darling is a triple board-certified vein specialist helping patients avoid serious complications from untreated varicose veins and be proud of baring their legs again. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Darling, call our vein clinic today at (816) 792-3400 or use our convenient online appointment request form.