Most of the patients who reach out to Vein Specialists of Tennessee for help with their varicose veins initially do so because they simply don’t like the way their legs look. And that’s understandable, considering that varicose veins typically bulge above skin level or manifest themselves with distinctive red or blue coloring.
However, it’s also important that those who suffer with varicose veins know the hidden medical risks of leaving their condition untreated. Common symptoms, for example, include pain, fatigue and swelling of the legs or ankles, while more severe problems can include venous leg ulcers, spontaneous bleeding and potentially life-threatening condition called deep vein thrombosis.
Venous leg ulcers are painful and sometimes can’t be healed until the backward blood flow that originally caused the varicose veins has been corrected. Spontaneous bleeding occurs when the skin over the veins becomes thin, making the veins susceptible to easy injury by clothing or bedding. Though painless, the loss of blood can be significant.
Deep vein thrombosis is first noticed as a painful pulling sensation in the lower calf. Symptoms include warmth, redness and swelling of the area that extends above the knee. The condition is treated with anticoagulants, which help prevent the progression of blood clots and also break up clots and help prevent them from traveling to the lung – a potentially fatal outcome.
Another condition that can result from untreated varicose veins is lipodermosclerosis, which occurs when the blood pooled in the veins becomes depleted of oxygen and nutrients. Red blood cells and fluid then leak into the surrounding leg tissues, causing painful swelling and chronic inflammation. When the skin and fat under the skin are inflamed for years, the tissues become woody and firm.
If you are unsure of the severity of your varicose veins, we recommend seeking a professional who can assess your condition and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment.
Dr. Jack Tarr of Vein Specialists of Tennessee has more than 30 years of experience treating patients in Knoxville and the surrounding East Tennessee area. Vein Specialists of Tennessee routinely treats varicose veins, spider veins, face veins, and venous ulcers through a spectrum of treatment options, including ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation and microsurgical ambulatory phlebectomy.