Varicose veins are a common condition and often affect workers who spend a lot of time on their feet, pregnant women, and those who spent their days sitting at a desk.
The condition is caused when the valves in the veins fail, causing them to swell. Valves can fail for a multitude of reasons, one being putting too much pressure on the legs due to prolonged standing, which is why the condition is quite common among people who work security jobs.
Varicose veins are mostly harmless and can be treated by losing weight, wearing compression stockings or using certain skin-tightening oils and creams. In extreme cases, they can be removed surgically in a very straightforward process.
But if left untreated, severe cases of varicose veins can be dangerous. Here are six possible health complications that can occur if the condition isn’t dealt with.
When the valves in your veins fail, it means your veins are no longer pumping blood to your heart properly. Instead, the blood is building up in your legs, and this blood could potentially leak into the tissue around your veins.
This could cause your legs to become very swollen, and even leak a clear or yellowish fluid. Under such circumstances, you may find it difficult to put on socks and shoes without leaving yourself in severe discomfort.
Swollen legs can also lead to skin ulcers. That’s because when your legs are swollen, the skin around them fails to get the right amount of oxygen and nutrients it needs to remain healthy.
The skin therefore becomes sensitive and vulnerable, leading to the development of painful ulcers that do not heal except with special treatment. One must tackle the swelling to prevent these ulcers from forming.
Another danger linked to the legs swelling up is infection. When the legs swell, the skin around them becomes stretched, and therefore weakened.
The skin usually works as a natural barrier that protects the human body from infection, but when that barrier is weakened, bacteria that usually lives on our skin can actually seep into our bodies. This can result in cellulitis, a bacterial infection that causes redness, swelling, and pain in the skin, which if left untreated, can spread and cause serious health problems.
While the build up of blood in varicose veins isn’t particularly dangerous per se, an injury sustained to legs that suffer from this condition could be potentially harmful. That’s because the extra blood in the legs would mean higher than normal blood loss if one of those veins suffers a cut.
Likewise, if the vein is injured but the skin is not broken, this can lead to severe bruising that would take longer than normal to heal up.
People who suffer from varicose veins are more likely to develop blood clots in their legs. This affects around 3 percent of people who have varicose veins.
A blood clot in the varicose vein could result in the vein becoming hard, painful and hot to the touch, leaving you in constant discomfort.
Approximately 25 percent of people with varicose veins who develop blood clots develop them in veins deep within their legs. This would require immediate medical treatment, or else the consequences could be deadly.
If a blood clot develops in the deeper vein, it is possible that the clot could become free and enter the lungs where it blocks the blood flow. This is called pulmonary embolism, and if it isn’t prevented, could potentially be life threatening.
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