DVT: The Hidden Danger of Varicose Veins
Did you know that varicose veins could be a sign of a very serious health risk? While varicose veins already have their own inherent risks if left untreated, they also could be a harbinger of life-threatening blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). At Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center, where you will find the best vascular physician in Orlando, Dr. Horowitz, we want to be sure you know the risks and your options for care and treatment.
A Dangerous Path to Deep Vein Thrombosis
Varicose veins can cause many symptoms: including leg heaviness or fatigue. When these varicose veins in the leg exhibit certain symptoms (that is, they become inflamed and painful), it’s a condition medical professionals call superficial phlebitis. And, in some cases, superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) occurs alongside superficial phlebitis. In a recent study published in the medical journal Archives of Dermatology, researchers found out that a whopping one in four patients with SVT also has DVT, a serious condition in which a blood clot (or thrombus) forms in a deep vein, typically in the leg. If the clot breaks off and ends up in the lungs, it can block an artery and cause a pulmonary embolism, a condition which causes 50,000 to 200,000 deaths each year in the United States. And the scary part is that DVT can exist with no discernible symptoms. But sometimes, DVT causes swelling, warming, a change skin color, or pain/tenderness in the affected leg.
And while it’s not exactly good news, the silver lining of this gray cloud is that there are symptoms indicating a pulmonary embolism has formed, including unexplained sudden shortness of breath, chest pain when coughing or taking a deep breath, lightheadedness, a rapid pulse, and coughing up blood.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many factors that can increase your risk of DVT:
- An Inherited blood-clotting disorder
- Prolonged bed rest, such as during a long hospital stay, or paralysis
- Injury or surgery
- Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Being overweight or obese
- Heart failure
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- A personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
- Age over 60, though it can occur at any age.
- Sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying
The first step in all this, though, is to have a vein specialist evaluate your risk and, if you have varicose veins, explain your treatment options and provide the appropriate care for your condition. Remember, varicose veins are not merely a cosmetic annoyance. They are a serious medical condition that can lead to dangerous health problems. Varicose veins can put you at risk for SVT, and down the road SVT can mean DVT or post-thrombotic syndrome (a condition in which the patient experiences chronic pain, swelling, redness and sores).
Contact Central Florida Vein and Vascular Center at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 today to set up a consultative appointment with our vascular physician in Orlando, Dr. Horowitz, about how we can help treat your varicose veins.