Your bulging varicose veins may be unsightly and uncomfortable, but are varicose veins a sign of heart disease? That is a great question. Veins are the vessels that carry blood back to the heart and lungs to be oxygenated, and varicose veins are a sign of a blood flow problem somewhere on this journey. While varicose veins do indicate an issue with proper blood flow and healthy circulation, there isn’t necessarily a connection between varicose veins and heart problems. However, this doesn’t mean varicose veins aren’t a very real risk to your overall health and wellbeing.
Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors
Poor circulation in one or more veins can lead to pooling of blood that becomes visible as a varicose vein, a condition most commonly found in the legs.
You may experience one or more of these symptoms if you have varicose veins:
- Visible dark blue or purple veins
- Twisted, bulging or “cord-like” veins
- Aching or heaviness in affected limbs
- Burning or throbbing
- Muscle cramps
- Restless legs
Risk factors for varicose veins include:
- Genetics or family history
- Female gender-related to hormonal changes and pregnancies *could link to our blog on this
- Occupational: standing or sitting jobs
- Age-Loss of vessel elasticity of the vein walls
- Being overweight or obese
Are Varicose Veins a Sign of Heart Disease ?
In some cases, varicose veins are benign and represent nothing more than a cosmetic concern. However, varicose veins can often be a cause and sign of a more serious problem. While there is no apparent association between varicose veins and heart problems, you may be more prone to developing complications such as swelling and infections if you suffer from both varicose veins and heart problems at the same time. In particular right sided heart failure may increase the venous pressure in the legs. A sign may be ‘pulsatile flow’ in the proximal thigh deep veins seen on duplex ultrasound. Additionally, other complications can develop from having varicose veins that range from physical discomfort to life threatening blood clots and infection.
Dealing with Varicose Veins
Vein disease is progressive without treatment. Neglect can lead to the development of large varicose veins which become problematic over time, leading to increased pain, swelling or an inflammatory condition known as superficial thrombophlebitis.
In extreme cases, a clot may develop in a deeper vein in the affected limb. Called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), this clot may obstruct the blood flow and cause damage to other vessels in the area, or it may break free and travel to the lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.
A vein specialists can advise you if you have varicose veins or spider veins and which procedure is best. He or she may discuss the following treatments for varicose veins and spider veins with you:
Varicose Veins & Heart Disease: Schedule an Evaluation
While there seems to be no association between varicose veins and heart problems, varicose veins can be dangerous to your health and should be evaluated by a board-certified phlebologist right away to avoid severe pain, swelling or secondary complications such as blood clots and venous hypertension, which could indirectly lead to heart health concerns. Our vein specialists in Middle Georgia can evaluate, treat and offer prevention tips for your varicose veins and other venous related health problems.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our vein specialists. With locations in both Macon and Warner Robins, Vein Specialists of the South offers minimally invasive treatment options with fast recovery time and a bedside manner that can no other practice can compare to. We look forward to meeting you soon and helping you achieve better veins for life.