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When are Varicose Veins More Than Just a Cosmetic Concern?

It’s hard to miss varicose veins near the skin’s surface in your legs. Gnarled and bulging, blue and purple, these are an unwanted feature for many people who develop them since they take away the even skin tone associated with good health. 

Varicose veins aren’t always limited to cosmetics, however. These failing blood vessels can cause aches, pains, and itchiness in your legs, which may also become tired more easily. Whether you’re concerned for your appearance or physical symptoms, contact the Dallas Vein Institute for specialized varicose vein treatment. Dr. Dev Batra and his team are ready to help you. 

The fight against gravity

Veins move blood back to your heart. One-way valves throughout your veins counteract the effects of gravity when blood is below heart level. These valves open with blood flow toward the heart, then close to stop reverse flow. When valves become weakened or damaged they no longer prevent backflow. 

When blood pools in the vein you have a condition called venous insufficiency. This leads to varicose veins, starting a domino effect of progressive vein problems.As vein walls stretch, they pull on the next healthy valve along the vein, causing failure that allows blood to pool.

In addition to developing a large network of twisted and unsightly varicose veins, these changes may lead to potentially serious complications.

Beyond appearance -- venous complications

Varicose veins and venous insufficiency create unusually high pressure in your veins while also slowing down blood flow. Over time, these two changes can cause:

Superficial thrombophlebitis

When slow blood flow damages the vein and leads to blood clotting and vein inflammation, superficial thrombophlebitis occurs. Symptoms include skin redness and localized tenderness and swelling above the affected area. While this condition seldom causes complications, it’s a sign that more serious vein problems may exist.

Spontaneous bleeding

Weakened vein walls combined with increased venous pressure make untreated varicose veins susceptible to spontaneous bleeding. Even brushing the veins against an object can break the skin and cause bleeding. In some cases, the bleeding may be extensive and difficult to stop, requiring immediate medical attention.

Stasis dermatitis

High venous pressure damages small capillaries and forces fluids out of the veins in your lower legs. As fluid infiltrates the surrounding tissues, an inflammatory skin disease that resembles eczema called stasis dermatitis develops.

A red-brown discoloration of your skin called hyperpigmentation may appear prior to the skin rash while remaining long after the rash heals. Hyperpigmentation and stasis dermatitis are often the first side effects caused by venous insufficiency.

Venous stasis ulcer

Continued venous hypertension causes leaking fluids which gradually break down your skin, creating a wound called a venous stasis ulcer. This type of ulcer begins as a shallow, painful area, usually over your ankle bone.

Venous stasis ulcers heal poorly. An ulcer can last 9 months or longer and recur frequently after healing. The longer the ulcer takes to heal, the more likely it is to enlarge, become inflamed, and cause an infection.

Lipodermatosclerosis

Lipodermatosclerosis is another skin condition that develops due to venous insufficiency. This causes thickened and discolored skin, pain, itching, and inflammation that can involve your foot and entire lower leg. Lipodermatosclerosis may affect one or both legs, where it often coexists with venous ulcers.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

DVT is a blood clot that develops in a deep varicose leg vein. Should a clot break loose and travel to your lungs it can block an artery and cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. 

There are plenty of reasons to seek medical treatment for your varicose veins. Contact Dallas Vein Institute at 972-646-8346 or book an appointment through the online scheduling link. There’s more than simply your appearance to consider, so book your examination today. 

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