How DVT and Varicose Veins are Related
Varicose veins are caused by a condition called venous insufficiency. This condition occurs when veins valves become weak, allowing blood to pool in the leg veins. Varicose veins are typically found in the legs and appear as bulging veins close to the surface of the skin.
Varicose veins are one risk factor for a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a condition that occurs when blood clots from deep in the veins travel to the lungs to cause a pulmonary embolism. DVT can be fatal.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Knowing the symptoms of varicose veins can help you decide when it’s time to get help from a medical professional. Symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Veins that are dark purple or blue in the legs that ache
- Bulging, twisted veins that appear cord-like just below the surface of the skin that throb
- Skin discoloration around the vein that leads to brown, itchy skin
- Swelling in the legs
Sometimes varicose veins are painful, but they are not always painful. However, some varicose veins do cause discomfort. Common examples of discomfort people may experience around their varicose veins include:
- Itchiness around the vein
- Pain around the veins, especially after sitting or standing for a long time
- Achy, heavy feeling in the legs
- Muscle cramps
- Burning or throbbing pain
Treatment for Varicose Veins
There are many ways to treat varicose veins, and not all treatment involves surgery. However, all treatment should be done with the supervision of a physician. If you’re suffering from varicose veins, work with your specialist to get the care you need.
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods
- Elevate your legs
- Lose weight
- Wear compression stockings
Treatments for Advanced Cases
Not all patients are able to treat their varicose veins without intervention from a doctor. Lifestyle changes can really only relieve symptoms for the mildest cases. Below are treatments for patients who do not respond to natural, conservaitve care.
- Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves injection of a medication into the veins that causes the veins to close.
- Radiofrequency or laser energy. This treatment involves insertion of a thin medical catheter into an enlarged vein, causing it to collapse when treated. Once the catheter is removed, the vein seals shut.
- Vein stripping. In this procedure, the vein is tied off and then removed. This is rarely done any more since the newer technique of Radiofrequency or laser has better results with faster recovery.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy. During this procedure, your physician removes small varicose veins through punctures in the skin.
- Laser treatment. Laser treatments use strong bursts to close off varicose veins. Laser treatment involves no incisions or needles. This can be helpful for tiny spider veins.
- Endoscopic vein surgery. In this outpatient surgery, the surgeon uses a video camera inserted into the leg to navigate to the varicose veins. The surgeon then closes and removes varicose veins.
These treatments are generally non-invasive, with minimal or no scarring and a fast recovery time. Once the varicose veins have been removed, symptoms are often dramatically reduced.
How Can Varicose Veins Cause DVT
The main mechanism for patients with varicose veins is to develop superficial vein thrombophlebits. This is also called phlebitis. This happens when the varicose vein itself clots off. The patient can often feel a red, hard bump under the skin. Once this starts, it can spread through the varicose veins to the deep veins and become a DVT. Thus any patient with blood clots in their varicose veins should seek medical attention to make sure they do not have a DVT. Once the clots resolve, it is often a good idea to consider treating the varicose veins so they do not clot off again.
Inovia Vein Specialists Can Help
Are you suffering from varicose veins? Have you noticed development of dark, bulging veins in your legs that ache? If you are interested in learning more about varicose veins treatment options, simply fill out our Online Appointment Request Form or call any of our clinics in Northwest Portland , Tigard, Happy Valley or Bend, Oregon.