Do you have a misconception that varicose veins are only a cosmetic problem? You are absolutely wrong! Though many people with varicose veins are shy to wear shorts or dresses that show off their legs, varicose veins are also harmful. It is not just a cosmetic problem; it can also cause serious health issues if it is left untreated for a long time.
Varicose veins actually indicate a problem that occurs deep inside the skin’s surface. Varicose veins may not show any signs at the beginning, but can progress and become worse over time. If the disease progresses, varicose veins become painful and this can be a sign of some serious problem.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
The exact reason for varicose veins is unknown. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins become weak and this leads to blood pooling in the veins instead of travelling back to the heart. Any problems with the veins such as venous reflux can also cause varicose veins. However, family history can be a factor. Varicose veins are more common in women than in men due to the changes in their hormones during several stages of their life.
What Happens if Varicose Veins are left Untreated?
If you notice any signs of varicose veins, you should immediately visit your doctor. Over time, varicose veins can become worse and you might develop other complications such as skin changes, open sores, etc. The following are some of the complications you may experience if it is left untreated:
- Leg swelling: Due to the pressure in the veins, there can be chances that the liquid from the blood can move into the surrounding tissues. As a result, the legs will swell along with the tight sensation in the skin. The signs can even become worse when the leg is elevated or with the use of compression stockings. If the swelling exists for a long time, there can be changes in the skin colour.
- Skin ulcers: In some cases, varicose veins can be a sign of venous diseases and the skin becomes darker. Due to this, the skin cannot heal even from small injuries as the flow of nutrients and oxygen to affected tissues is obstructed. As a result, the healing process does not take place and painful ulcers may develop in the inner leg.
- Infections on the skin: The body’s natural defence system also gets infected due to the stretching of tissue from the swelling. The bacteria that exist on the skin can get into the body causing an infection called cellulitis. Medications need to be used to reduce the infection. Infection also gets resolved with a decrease in leg swelling.
- Lipodermatosclerosis: If varicose veins are untreated for several years, lipodermatosclerosis may develop. It is a condition where the skin and fat get inflamed for several years and the skin on the lower legs hardens.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): DVT is a condition where blood clots are formed in the veins that are deep inside the body. DVT is a serious problem and it requires immediate medical attention. There is a risk of a blood clot breaking down and moving towards the lungs. This causes a serious problem called pulmonary embolism.
- Thrombophlebitis: Around 3% of people with varicose veins develop blood clots. The blood clots can lead to the inflammation of the veins below the skin’s surface. This condition is called thrombophlebitis and it is also a result of damaged veins.
- Bleeding: As the blood gets pooled in the affected veins, there is a large amount of blood accumulated under the skin surface than in other healthy veins. This can cause bleeding even with a small hit or cut of the vein. Even if the skin does not break, there can be intense bruising. Though bleeding does not seem to be a big problem, you eventually lose a high amount of blood over time.
Different Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
Everyone suffering from varicose veins does not require treatment. But if the symptoms are severe and have other complications, then treatment is a must. There are different procedures that can be used to treat varicose veins. Some of the procedures directly remove the varicose veins, whereas other procedures focus on reducing the pressure in the varicose veins.
Do You Have Signs of Varicose Veins? Dr Pradyumna Reddy Can Help You
If your legs are swollen and painful, consult Dr Pradyumna Reddy today. You can count on him to help you in treating varicose veins. We offer various types of efficient and less invasive procedures for varicose veins. Our treatment can help you say goodbye to your varicose permanently. Call us and schedule your appointment to prevent the further progression of your condition.