In the early stages, varicose veins may not cause any major health problems and may not yet be unsightly. However, untreated veins do tend to get worse over time. The veins get larger and larger, but the most dangerous symptom is poor circulation. There may be swelling, itching for no apparent reason, skin discoloration and inflamed ulcers.
The veins are responsible for returning blood to the heart as well as for removing cellular waste from the tissue. When the blood is not properly moved on, it collects in the veins, causing high pressure and swelling. The ankles may become purple and there may be spontaneous bleeding from the weak veins. When this process starts in one vein, it can affect other veins.
Varicose veins on the legs also increase the risk of a superficial blood clot developing. When this happens, the vein will swell, and it may feel hot and tender to the touch. This is painful and may last for weeks. The good news is there are non-invasive or minimally-invasive treatments that are very effective and help to prevent further development of poorly working veins.
There are some reasons why it is dangerous to leave varicose veins untreated. Hyperpigmentation on the lower legs, ankles and feet occurs when the excess blood that has pooled in the varicose vein puts so much pressure on the vein wall that some blood starts to leak into the surrounding tissue. There is swelling and inflammation in the parts of the skin that have become discolored.
Lipodermosclerosis is a stiffening and hardening of leg tissue. It occurs when the inflamed leg is not treated for a long time. The tissue becomes hard and heavy and may feel tender. This interferes with daily activities by making it difficult to move.
Spontaneous bleeding happens because the varicose vein walls are thin and weak. They are just under the surface of the skin, and if they are scratched, bumped or scraped, the vein wall tears and bleeds. This can be minor or major with high pressure pushing the blood out at an alarming rate, causing excessive blood loss.
Venous leg ulcers form when the skin breaks and exposes the tissue underneath. These ulcers are very slow to heal and may take weeks or months to go away. They also tend to get bigger and are extremely irritating and painful.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is a disease in which the vein walls that are just beneath the skin become inflamed. This is painful and happens because of decreased blood flow. The skin turns red and becomes tender and the leg swells.
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition that is related to untreated veins. One symptom is a pulling sensation in the legs that stems from a blood clot. Another symptom is the feeling of a pinched nerve as well as redness and swelling. If the blood clot becomes dislodged and travels to the lungs, the condition can be fatal.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, talk to our specialist at Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center to have your problems diagnosed and treatment recommended. Our office is located in El Segundo, but we happily serve the Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.