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Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

Varicose veins are known for their bulging, blue or purple, rope-like appearance that commonly appears on your legs. They tend to develop over time as you age. 

While they can be unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable, you may wonder if they’re dangerous to your health.

Ronak D. Patel, MD, leads our team at Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute and has the expertise to explain why varicose veins may or may not be a health concern.

Understanding what varicose veins are

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that occur when the valves within your veins weaken or fail, leading to blood pooling in your veins instead of flowing smoothly back to your heart. This pooling causes your veins to swell and become visible beneath your skin's surface.

Potential issues varicose veins can cause

While varicose veins are typically harmless and more of a cosmetic concern for most people who have them, they can sometimes lead to complications, such as:

Blood clots

One potential issue is the development of blood clots within the affected veins, a condition known as thrombophlebitis.

Although uncommon, if a blood clot forms in a varicose vein, it can cause pain, inflammation, and swelling. In severe cases, the clot can break loose and travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening.

Venous ulcers

Venous ulcers are open sores that develop on your skin near varicose veins, usually on the lower legs. Venous ulcers can be painful and challenging to heal, often requiring medical intervention.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)

Prolonged untreated varicose veins can lead to CVI, which occurs when your veins' ability to efficiently return blood to the heart is compromised, leading to symptoms like swelling, pain, skin changes, and even skin ulcers.

Your treatment options

While varicose veins themselves might not pose a significant threat to your health in most cases, it’s important to be aware of the potential complications they can cause.

If you notice any concerning symptoms associated with your varicose veins, such as pain, swelling, or skin changes, reach out to our Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute team as soon as possible. We can consult with you, provide a proper evaluation, and help manage your condition if needed.

We offer several treatment options for varicose veins, ranging from lifestyle modifications to medical interventions. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and elevating the legs can help alleviate your symptoms and prevent your varicose veins from worsening. Compression stockings are another noninvasive treatment option that can improve blood flow and reduce discomfort associated with varicose veins.

If you have more severe or symptomatic varicose veins, we may recommend medical interventions such as sclerotherapy, endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), or surgical procedures to remove or close off the affected veins.

Schedule an evaluation

Booking an appointment with our team for an evaluation of your varicose veins can help us determine if you have any concerning symptoms. We can also monitor them and treat symptoms if any arise.

With proper management and treatment, the risks associated with varicose veins can be minimized, allowing you to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

If you have varicose veins, we can provide our expertise and keep your legs well. Contact us today at our practice in Plainsboro Township and Manalapan, New Jersey. Call 609-269-4451 or book an appointment online when you’re ready.

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