What Can Happen if You Leave Varicose Veins Untreated

What Can Happen if You Leave Varicose Veins Untreated

If you have varicose veins, you may assume they’re just a cosmetic problem. But left untreated, they can lead to other problems. 

Varicose veins are bulging, rope-like veins that often show up on the legs that you can see through the skin. They usually show up on legs, ankles, and feet. During pregnancy, they may also appear in the pelvic area or buttocks.

A problem related to varicose veins is spider veins. These are blue or reddish colored veins that are also visible through the skin, although they don’t bulge out the way varicose veins. They’re called spider veins because they can have a sort of web-like appearance.

Varicose veins show up when a valve in a vein that’s supposed to be carrying blood back to the heart becomes weak or leaky. Instead of pushing the blood up to the heart to get replenished with oxygen, the malfunctioning valve lets it pool in the leg.

Why treatment matters
While spider veins don’t usually require treatment unless their appearance bothers you, varicose veins can cause trouble.

For one thing, they often hurt and can may make your legs feel heavy and tired.  Other potential problems include the following: 

  • Bleeding. The skin over varicose veins can become so thin that it’s easily injured, leading to bleeding from a touch as light as brushing against a blanket.
  • Hyperpigmentation. Over time the pressure on the veins may cause fluid and red blood cells to leak out of the vein and into body tissues. This can lead to painful swelling and, over time, cause the skin to become discolored
  • Sores or skin ulcers. Years of blood collecting in the veins can cause painful ulcers to develop that can be very difficult to heal.
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis. In this case, blood clots can occur in the damaged vein, leading to redness, tenderness, pain, and swelling.
  • Deep vein thrombosis. Sometimes people who develop clots in varicose veins will also develop them in deeper veins. This is a very serious condition. If the deep vein clot travels to the lungs, it can be fatal. 

There are many treatment options for varicose veins and spider veins, and some are covered by insurance. If you have questions about varicose veins or other veins issues, feel free to contact us at Palm Vein Center.

Talk to our team to learn more about the best conservative and interventional treatment options for your vein condition.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

For more information on vein diseases and the treatments provided by the specialists at Palm Vein Center or to make an appointment, call 623-201-4777. We look forward to meeting you!