We hear so many explanations from patients who aren’t in a rush to treat their spider veins: “It’s just cosmetic.” “They don’t bother me that much.” “I’ve got other problems to deal with first.”
Unfortunately, what many patients don’t realize is that leaving your spider veins untreated can actually lead to further medical complications. Here are five health issues that may come up if you decide to delay treating varicose veins:
Varicose veins can be dangerous because of the blood that builds up inside of them. Because this blood is stripped of its oxygen and nutrients, it can cause cause chronic inflammation, and lead to changes in your skin’s appearance–you may notice that your legs are darker or discolored (hyperpigmentation.) Painful swelling is also associated with this condition.
Venous ulcers are open sores that can develop when your leg veins aren’t able to properly push blood back up towards your heart. First, the extra blood pools in your veins, causing the noticeable bulges of spider veins. If left untreated, however, the extra blood may leak through the vein, causing an ulcer to form, most frequently in the thin-skinned areas above the ankles. Ulcers are difficult to heal and can open your entire body up to serious infection. If left untreated, ulcers may leave you in need of a limb amputation. In rare cases, ulcers can even prove to be fatal.
When pooled blood is left, untreated, in your veins, the covering skin thins out due to the internal swelling and pressure. The thinner your skin, the less protection there is for your veins. And the more blood that pools in your veins, the larger a target they become for injury. All of this adds up to the fact that untreated varicose veins are at higher risk of being nicked or cut; if and when that does occur, you may stand to lose a significant amount of blood, because so much liquid will have collected in the injured vein.
- Blood Clots
Varicose veins are more likely to become inflamed at the point where you can see them, which is just beneath your skin. This, in turn, can put you at higher risk for blood clots in those surface-level veins.
- Deep vein thrombosis
Unlike surface level blood clots, DVTs occur in the veins that hide deep within your legs. Because they are harder to detect, they are a scarier side effect: DVTs are known to break free, without warning, and travel to your lungs (pulmonary embolism), where they become a potentially life-threatening complication.
Clearly, varicose veins are so much more than a cosmetic concern. If left untreated, they can cause you to experience a whole host of serious medical complications. Now that you know the facts, stop the excuses and make an appointment to address those unsightly veins in your legs. Yes, you’ll feel better about the way you look but, more importantly, you’ll be taking a major step towards protecting your long-term health!