Study: DVT Risk Increases With Varicose Veins

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Sunday, 25 March 2018


A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that an association exists between Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins. This means that DVT risk is higher in patients with varicose veins. Though the association between varicose veins and DVT was found to be significant, it’s unclear if varicose veins cause DVT or if the correlation is related to something else.

What Is DVT?

DVT is a blood clot in the leg that can impede circulation. If the clot breaks free, it can travel to the lungs. If this happens, a life threatening pulmonary embolism (PE) can occur. Symptoms of PE include a feeling of doom, chest pain, heaviness in the chest and difficulty breathing. PE is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention and treatment. If DVT is discovered prior to a PE, steps can be taken to lower the risks of a PE while treating the DVT. We want to ensure that patients and doctors a familiar with the signs and symptoms of DVT.  We, also, want patients to seek an evaluation and begin treatment right away if they have a blood clot. The ultimate goal is to prevent blood clots and reduce DVT/PE risk in more patients.

Why A Correlation Between Varicose Veins And DVT Risk Is Significant

dvt risk pulmonary embolism emergency room

DVT can lead to a life-threatening PE, which requires immediate emergency medical attention

While varicose veins are uncomfortable and painful, it’s rarely associated with any serious health consequences for patients. On occasion, bulging varicose veins can rupture and bleed. For most patients, varicose veins cause symptoms ranging from itching and mild leg aches to leg heaviness and pain. On other occasions, they can rupture and bleed or form a Superficial Vein Thromosis (SVT). Vein specialists will tell you, that patients with varicose veins are likely to have increased DVT risk. This is because the cause of both varicose veins and DVT are similar, including weight gain, hormones, sedentary lifestyle, and age. However, with this recent JAMA study, new light is shed on the correlation between varicose veins and DVT.  The risk is now more apparent.

What This Means For Patients With Varicose Veins

These findings do show that patients with varicose veins are more likely to develop a DVT.   This is more of a reason for you to take care of your health and seek medical care for your varicose veins. This is particularly important in light of this study. Risk factors for both varicose veins and DVT are similar and often identical in most cases. These include:

feet in the water

  • Age: the older you are, the higher your risk
  • Weight: being overweight or obese increases your varicose vein and DVT risk
  • Lifestyle: lack of exercise or living a sedentary lifestyle increases risk for developing both conditions
  • Job: if you stand or sit all day, your risk for varicose veins and blood clots increases
  • Family History: if your parents and grandparents had varicose veins or blood clots, your risk for developing these health conditions increases

Treat Varicose Veins And Help Prevent DVT At Vein Specialists Of The South

At Vein Specialists of the South in Macon and Warner Robins, GA, we offer prevention and treatments that range from conservative care to procedures to close or remove veins permanently. Your treatment will depend upon your condition and needs as determined during an evaluation. During your vein screening, we w ill use ultrasound imaging to view your veins, locate varicosities, and determine if a DVT is present. From there, we will recommend a series of lifestyle changes (we call these our Better Veins for Life® principles), medications, and/or in-office, minimally invasive procedures. If you have visible varicose veins, common symptoms of venous disease, or you’re in a high-risk category for developing varicose veins or DVT, schedule an appointment with one of our vein specialists for a full evaluation. Let us help you begin your journey toward Better Veins for Life® by starting right now.

Over 18,000 Procedures Performed

Dr. Kenneth Harper, founder of Vein Specialists of the South, has evaluated more than 22,000 patients and performed over 18,000 procedures since 2000. Dr. Harper is a leader in comprehensive vein care, having focused on diagnosis and treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, venous ulcers, and leg swelling since 1997.


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