Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
November 8, 2023

Not all uncommon, varicose veins are dark bulges that often develop in the legs. Although they can appear due to a host of reasons, many don’t understand how or why they developed. The appearance of varicose veins can sometimes look concerning or alarming, especially if they formed suddenly. But, are varicose veins dangerous?

In most situations, varicose veins don’t provide many reasons for concern. They are more of a cosmetic issue than a medical issue. However, in rare cases, some varicose veins can cause dangerous complications.

What are Varicose Veins Exactly?

When veins get twisted and swollen, they can start bulging from the skin. They usually look dark blue or purple in color. And if you run your finger across your skin, you’ll likely feel the bulge. Many people believe varicose veins only develop in the legs, but the truth is they can develop anywhere.

A varicose vein develops when blood pressure is increased in the veins. Damaged or weak blood vessel valves are more prone to turning into varicose veins. With weak valves, blood can’t flow as smoothly as normal, causing it to pool. When this happens, the vein could become stretched or even twist. 

Sometimes you can’t prevent varicose veins from developing. Family history is a risk factor, as well as prolonged sitting or standing. Other risk factors include pregnancy, obesity, and a history of smoking.

Is a Varicose Vein The Same as a Spider Vein?

Many people use the terms varicose veins and spider veins interchangeably. While you can likely get away with it during a normal conversation, you should know the differences. As opposed to varicose veins, spider veins typically aren’t as dark. They are most commonly blue or red, and they won’t bulge from the skin.

Varicose veins can create some discomfort because of their bulging nature. However, spider veins are only a cosmetic nuisance. Most of them are isolated to the legs, but some people develop them on their faces as well. So while a varicose vein and a spider vein seem similar, they have some key differences.

Health Risks Associated With Varicose Veins

Complications of varicose veins are very rare. However, you might experience enough discomfort that you feel the need to remove them. Some of the rare complications people can develop include:

  • Skin ulcers
  • Minor bleeding
  • Blood clots

Looking out for varicose vein symptoms can help you determine whether you have them as opposed to spider veins. In most cases, the following symptoms are indicative of varicose veins:

  • Burning or itching near the vein
  • Leg fatigue
  • Aching or throbbing near the vein
  • Increased pain when standing or sitting for prolonged periods
  • Irritated or dry skin

Most of these symptoms don’t require medical intervention. However, if the symptoms worsen over time or if you grow concerned, seek medical attention.

Treatment Options

Many people want to treat varicose veins to reduce their symptoms. Sometimes simple changes like increasing exercise or wearing compression stockings can reduce the varicose vein’s appearance. One thing to note is if varicose veins developed during pregnancy. If they did, chances are they could improve without treatment after the pregnancy is complete.

If you want to get rid of varicose veins for cosmetic reasons, there are options. Many people choose sclerotherapy or laser treatments to remove them. But if your veins are a little more stubborn, then more invasive procedures might be necessary. 

South Valley Vascular can help you treat varicose veins no matter how severe they are. We have served patients for more than ten years and our goal is to help improve your quality of life. To learn more about our services and how we can help, contact us today to schedule a consultation.