Sure, those varicose veins that have begun to spread across your legs are ugly. You’ve thought about getting rid of them many times, but you’ve never sought medical treatment for something so (excuse the pun) vain! After all, they may not be pretty to look at, but varicose veins can’t really hurt you, can they?

Venous Insufficiency

Anyone who has had a severe case of varicose veins knows that, in addition to being unsightly, they can come with a wide variety of painful and uncomfortable symptoms including aching, tenderness, numbness, swelling, cramping, leg heaviness, and restless leg syndrome. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms or even if your varicose veins offer you no discomfort whatsoever, you may be facing problems that can hurt much more than just your vanity.

While many people seek treatment for varicose veins for purely cosmetic reasons, the condition can also be a sign of significant health issues. Even minor cases of varicose veins can be symptoms of a lack of adequate blood flow, otherwise known as venous disease or “venous insufficiency”.

Complications from Venous Disease

If left untreated, the 80-percent of varicose veins that arise as a result of venous insufficiency will never get better on their own. In fact, they will tend to get bigger and more problematic.

However, one shouldn’t forget that these veins are only one symptom of a far greater root problem. Venous insufficiency can cause a whole host of healthcare problems from the relatively harmless (numbness and swelling) to the extremely serious (loss of limb or even death).

Severe cases of venous insufficiency can significantly slow the return of blood to the heart. Those unsightly varicose veins in your legs are engorged with blood that is failing to make the upward journey against gravity. Excessive pooling of blood due to venous insufficiency may lead to deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Typically occurring in the lower extremities deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (or “thrombus”) cuts off the flow of blood within a major vein. Although it significantly threatens the health of the leg and the body as a whole, DVT can occur with no pain or symptoms at all.

The most serious implications of DVT include a high risk of pulmonary embolism. A thrombus in the leg can readily break free and travel through the bloodstream before lodging in the lungs. The resulting pulmonary embolism cuts off flow of blood to the lungs: a life threatening condition.

For More Information

If you feel that you might be suffering from venous insufficiency, it is important to consult with a qualified medical professional as soon as possible. Individuals in Michigan, Texas, New Jersey, and New York are encouraged to contact Metro Vein Centers to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of this potentially serious condition.