72017Dec

Can Varicose Veins Cause Blood Clots?

The unmistakable blue veins in your legs are often a source of pain, discomfort or embarrassment. Although varicose vein symptoms often include tired, heavy feelings in the legs and painful cramps and swelling, one more insidious side effect of varicose veins are blood clots.

Varicose veins are most commonly associated with the veins close to the surface of the skin. As blood pools in the veins, causing them to bulge, the blood flow becomes sluggish and clots may form. According to eMedicine Health, varicose veins can actually be caused by blood clots in some cases. A blood clot can increase pressure on the veins in the legs and block blood flow. The backwards pressure on the vein causes it to bulge, weakening the valve and creating varicose veins. This is why it is important that patients who experience a sudden appearance of varicose veins, who do not have other risk factors for varicose veins see a doctor when experiencing the condition. 

According to the National Blood Clot Alliance, the superficial nature of varicose veins make clots that are formed inside the vein relatively benign. They are generally not associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots that travel to the lungs causing pulmonary embolism. However, patients with severe varicose veins are also more likely to develop DVT because of the nature of the veins in their legs. It is important seek varicose vein treatment to minimize both the discomfort of the condition and the likelihood of developing blood clots.

For more information on how varicose veins and blood clots are related, contact Kimmel Institute for a consultation.