Varicose Veins (cont.)
When to Seek Medical Care
If a person has varicose veins, any of the following warrant a visit to a health care professional:
Inflammation, discoloration, or ulceration of the skin or swelling of the calf or leg is more typical of problems related to the deeper veins, especially a blood clot.
Unexplained pain or swelling in a leg particularly suggests a blood clot. Varicose veins by themselves do not usually cause a leg to swell.
Varicose veins alone are relatively harmless, but every now and then they can cause minor problems.
If the skin overlying the vein is thin or irritated, minor trauma from a bump or even shaving can tear the vein and cause bleeding. In this case, elevating the leg and applying pressure for several minutes should be enough to stop the bleeding. If it does not, the patient may need to visit a hospital emergency department.
If, at any time, the patient feels chest pain or have trouble breathing, this may indicate the presence of a blood clot in the blood vessels of the heart or lungs. The patient should go to a hospital emergency department immediately.
Having varicose veins does not necessarily mean the person will eventually have a blood clot or that a blood clot somehow caused them.
In rare instances, however, a clot increases pressure in the veins by blocking blood flow.
This elevated pressure will cause backward flow of blood through weakened valves, creating varicose veins.
For this reason, the patient should see a health care professional if the leg is swollen or if the patient experiences worsening pain in the leg, or if he or she should suddenly develops varicose veins and do not have any of the common risk factors such as pregnancy.
Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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