If someone were to ask you, “What is the worst side effect of your varicose veins?” chances are you’d focus on how unattractive they make your legs look.
You might mention the sense of dread with which you gaze at your own image in the mirror – hoping every day that the bulging, discolored veins have become less visible, and being disappointed every day. And in the early days of trying to “live with” varicose veins rather than having them treated and removed, you might be correct about the ugliness of varicose veins being their worse side effect. But if you have been trying to “live with” them for some time, you might be aware of more serious symptoms.
Does “painfully swollen legs and ankles” sound familiar as a symptom?
For example, if you have been trying to live with your varicose veins for a few months, you might include among the list of distressing side effects swollen legs and ankles and constant feelings of tiredness and weakness in your legs. If you’ve been living with untreated varicose veins even longer, you might add pain to the list of side effects, because your tired, swollen legs often leave you saying “My legs hurt” all the time. Unfortunately, at this point we’ve only scratched the surface of how distressing the side effects of untreated varicose veins can be. As if the pain and weakness aren’t bad enough, next come changes in the color, texture, and health of the skin on your legs. Untreated varicose veins often cause the skin on your legs and ankles to turn brownish and take on a leathery feel. This is because the underlying vein disease that causes the varicose veins is preventing the skin from getting the supply of blood that it needs to remain healthy. The skin covering the varicose veins can become so brittle and fragile, in fact, that it becomes susceptible to injury – minor cuts, bruises and scrapes you might have ignored in the past become infected and may develop into full-blown leg ulcers, leaving your legs covered with open sores that will not heal.
Sadly, all of the symptoms discussed so far are still minor compared to what untreated varicose veins can cause
The important thing to remember when considering the overall effects of varicose veins is that the swollen veins themselves (and in fact all the other symptoms discussed so far) are surface symptoms of a deeper and more destructive vein disease. This vein disease is busy beneath the surface of the skin, crippling your circulatory and immune systems, and greatly increasing your likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and becoming obese. At the same time, the emotional drain of having to live with all of these symptoms is causing another set of mental health problems. People ashamed of their appearance because of varicose veins tend to isolate themselves from friends and family and often become clinically depressed.
Finally, the most unexpected side effect of varicose veins can be death
All of the symptoms we’ve discussed so far arise from a vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), the disease that causes most varicose veins. But having CVI also greatly increases your risk of getting another vein disease called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. If you develop DVT, blood clots form in the deep veins of your legs and can also move through the veins to other locations. But if the clots reach your brain they can cause a stroke, and if they reach your lungs they can cause a pulmonary embolism. Both conditions are potentially fatal.
So what should you do to avoid these side effects if you have varicose veins?
You should seek vein disease treatment in Texas and talk to a Flower Mound vein specialist about possible treatment options. These treatments can be conservative, such as wearing compression stockings to reduce swelling. They may also be more aggressive, such as procedures that remove the diseased veins, and thus their side effects, permanently. The most important thing is that these treatments WORK. They can eliminate all of these unpleasant symptoms completely. So call the best vein doctors in Texas today at 972-410-5757 and find out what your treatment options are.