Are Varicose Veins Dangerous to My Health?


Have you noticed twisted, bulging veins on your legs or feet? They could be varicose veins. About one in five adults will get them at some point in their lives — and their presence can make you wonder if they’re a sign of a more dangerous health problem.

Varicose veins can be unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable,  We’ve helped adults of all ages understand varicose veins and how to manage them.

Learn more about what varicose veins are, what they could mean for your health, and what you can do about them.

All about varicose veins

Healthy veins have valves that open and close to keep blood flowing efficiently back to your heart. But sometimes, those valves malfunction or become weak, and blood starts flowing backward and pooling in your veins.

When blood pools, the veins get larger — and varicose veins form. Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that typically appear blue or purple in color. Although they can develop anywhere, they’re most common in your legs and feet, where gravity makes it more difficult for blood to flow upward toward your heart.

Several factors can contribute to varicose veins, including genetics, age, obesity, pregnancy, and prolonged periods of standing or sitting. In fact, your risk of developing varicose veins is about 90% if both parents have varicose veins.

Understanding the possible complications of varicose veins

For most people, varicose veins are primarily a cosmetic concern. The bulging, twisted veins can be unsightly and embarrassing, but they usually don’t cause other problems.

However, some people do develop physical symptoms like aching, swelling, itching, or a feeling of heaviness in the legs. And in rare cases, varicose veins can also lead to more serious complications if they’re left untreated.

One possible complication is venous insufficiency. Impaired blood flow in the affected veins can cause chronic inflammation that, over time, can lead to more severe symptoms like skin discoloration, leg ulcers, and even blood clots.

Seeking treatment for varicose veins

If you have varicose veins, treatment can improve their appearance and lower your risk of more serious complications — whether you have painful symptoms or not. Dr. Patel specializes in radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for varicose veins, which is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat energy to seal off the affected veins.

RFA involves inserting a thin catheter into your varicose veins. We use ultrasound imaging to guide placement. And once in place, the catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the vein wall.

This energy heats the vein and makes it collapse and seal shut. After treatment, your body gradually absorbs the treated vein and it fades from view. Your body naturally reroutes your blood through nearby healthy veins to restore normal blood flow.

RFA can be a great option to treat varicose veins because it requires only a small incision and local anesthesia. For many people, that means less pain, scarring, and downtime compared to more invasive varicose vein treatments. With the damaged vein closed off, you can expect to notice a significant improvement in symptoms like pain, swelling, and limited mobility.

While varicose veins may not always pose a direct threat to your health, it’s important to take your symptoms seriously. Whether you’re embarrassed about their appearance or they’re causing discomfort, it’s time to explore your treatment options.

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