In their normal state, varicose veins are an indication of vein health gone wrong. The appearance of these ropey, gnarled veins is disruptive to self-esteem, and that is bad enough, isn’t it? To have to worry that something more could go wrong with these veins is just too much to have to think about. But you should; or, should we say, it’s only natural to have ideas of complications lurking somewhere in your mind. What if a vein were to burst? What if a blood clot were to form? These are questions that you need answers to so you can have peace of mind.
What’s Going on in There?
Why do varicose veins develop in the first place? The direct cause of a bulging, uncomfortable vein is blood. In this vessel that has become obviously visible, blood is not flowing as it should; it is pooling. This pooling is what is stretching the walls of the vein. Going deeper, the cause of this pooling is the valve that is above the bulge. This valve has lost some strength and is allowing a small amount of blood to backflow rather than pushing the fullest extent upward.
What are the Consequences?
The first concern that may arise with a varicose vein is that the vessel will break open due to pressure. Usually, a varicose vein bleeds only when it has been nicked or injured in some way, and instances of this happening are relatively rare.
Clotting can also sound dangerous. Don’t blood clots travel to vital organs like the brain, heart, or lungs? Not always. In fact, if you notice signs of a blood clot in a superficial varicose vein, you have what is referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis. Typically, this condition is not related to embolism. What superficial thrombophlebitis can cause is:
- Hardening of a spot in the varicose vein
- Tenderness when the skin near the vein is touched
- A feeling of warmth around the vein
- Redness or other discoloration
What should be Done?
Often, if a blood clot forms in a superficial varicose vein, it is not necessary to do anything. However, the way to know if home care and monitoring are an appropriate response to clotting, it is beneficial to schedule an evaluation with your doctor.
At LA Vein in Sherman Oaks, we rely on advanced diagnostic imaging to fully understand the severity of a varicose vein and its characteristics, including clots. Schedule your visit with our friendly team to discuss the management or treatment of varicose veins.