varicose veins on female leg closeup, having medical professionals question if varicose veins are dangerous.

Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

Varicose veins affect up to 35% of people in the United States. These occur when veins close to the skin’s surface become enlarged and appear more prominent. Many people who have these are most concerned about how they make the legs appear. This makes sense since the twisted, blue or purple appearance can be a bit unpleasant when you want to wear shorts or other summer clothing.

The good news is that, for the most part, varicose veins are harmless and can go away with time and good health management. However, the reality is that for some people, varicose veins are more than just a problem in appearance. They can often indicate a serious medical issue.

We’re diving into the instances when varicose veins can become dangerous below.

When Do Varicose Veins Become Dangerous?

If you are experiencing varicose veins, it’s vital to speak with your physician to see what the issue might be. Often times varicose veins can point to more serious issues, while other times they are harmless and only a physical annoyance.

However, here are a few instances when varicose veins become dangerous and why a trip to the doctor’s office is required:

  • Pain and Aching Legs: Painful, tired, and aching legs are often caused by varicose veins. When your veins are not functioning correctly and the blood is pooling within, it can make it hard for you to feel rested and relaxed.
  • Hyperpigmentation: If varicose veins are left untreated, they can cause excess blood leaking into the leg tissues. This will lead to painful swelling, inflammation, and discolored skin.
  • Lipodermatosclerosis: Often times, varicose veins cause inflamed tissues in the leg. When they are left like this for a long period of time, the tissues then become heavy, firm, and more tender. This then makes it difficult to move or relax.
  • Phlebitis: This is an inflammation of the veins. With phlebitis, blood pools inside the veins and can clot to form a “thrombus.” These are painfully hard, yet tender, lumps in the leg.
  • Venous Leg Ulcer: Overtime, varicose veins can lead to these ulcers that cause the skin to break down and reveal flesh underneath. These ulcers only get worse over time as well.
  • Excessive Bleeding: Did you know that varicose veins tend to break down the walls of the skin over time, therefore bringing them closer to the surface of the skin? When this happens, it often leads to excessive bleeding at the smallest scratch. It only gets worse over time.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: Caused by blood clots, physical symptoms of this are pulling sensation in the legs, nerves being pinched, increased redness, and swelling. When the blood clots travel further up the blood, it requires emergency care and can even lead to death if it is not caught quickly enough.

While for many people varicose veins are simply a nuisance and an appearance issue, it is vital you realize the dangers. Because of this, if you are bothered by varicose veins, you should make sure you mention the problem to your doctor right away so that together you can create a plan to help rid yourself of this nuisance.

If this sounds like something you should do, click here to schedule an appointment with our expert team at Georgia Vascular Institute.