What happens if varicose veins are left untreated?

Patients with varicose veins often wonder if they can avoid treatment. There’s a persistent (and dangerous) myth that varicose veins are purely cosmetic conditions that don’t necessitate medical treatment. But that’s simply not true. Varicose veins are often symptomatic of chronic venous insufficiency, a dangerous medical condition caused by the collapse of vein valves. The initial signs and symptoms of varicose veins might be mild, but the symptoms gradually worsen and escalate, leading to severe complications.

Varicose veins are dense clusters of damaged blood vessels with excess blood accumulation. They protrude from the skin’s surface, usually on the legs, looking like a mass of tangled, twisted, and knotted ropes. They’re usually caused by chronic venous insufficiency, a dangerous medical condition caused by the collapse of vein valves. When your vein valves collapse, blood flows backward and accumulates in the leg veins because of gravity, eventually leading to vascular dilation and the formation of bulging leg veins.

Maryland Vein Center provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for varicose veins and vein disease. Our vein doctors examine your leg veins, review your medical history, perform thorough ultrasound scans, and offer minimally invasive treatments to address the root cause of your problems. You can find our state-of-the-art vein center at 10215 Fernwood Rd, Suite 301, Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC, in Silver Spring. Please schedule an appointment if you notice the signs and symptoms of vein disease.

Below, we describe the possible signs, symptoms, and complications of untreated varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.

What happens if varicose veins are left untreated? We describe the 8 possible signs and symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. Please visit our vein center in Maryland for diagnosis and treatment.

Leg Heaviness

Leg heaviness is one of the first symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. At the earliest stage of vein disease, the continued accumulation of blood in leg veins and the lack of proper blood circulation would make your legs feel heavy and tired, especially at night or after long periods of sitting or standing still.

Leg Cramps

As blood continues accumulating in your leg veins, you may experience sudden muscular convulsions in your legs, known as leg cramps. While leg cramps may happen for many reasons, frequent leg cramps after long periods of sitting or standing may indicate underlying chronic venous insufficiency.

Leg Pain

Leg pain is a common symptom of untreated chronic venous insufficiency. As blood continues accumulating in your leg veins and you develop varicose veins, your legs will start hurting, which can affect your ability to perform daily activities. Leg pain can also prevent you from participating in sports and physical activities.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a common symptom of chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins. You may have a sudden urge to move and shake your legs, especially at night or after long periods of inactivity. Restless leg syndrome also leads to insomnia and exhaustion, which can negatively affect your life.

Leg Swelling

The accumulation of blood in leg veins, combined with insufficient blood circulation, may make your legs feel swollen and heavy. Leg swelling is a common symptom of chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

Skin Discoloration

The lack of effective blood circulation in your leg veins would drain your skin of color, leading to skin discoloration. Furthermore, the breakdown of blood cells may also lead to rust-colored and leathery patches on your skin.

Burst Veins

Varicose veins are essentially engorged veins with excess blood. As blood continues accumulating in the leg veins, the varicose veins will continue growing larger and dilating, which will weaken the vein walls. Over time, the varicose veins may burst, leading to profuse bleeding, for which you have to be taken to an emergency room.

Leg Ulcers

Leg ulcers are non-healing leg wounds on the skin. You need proper blood circulation to heal wounds. Without proper blood circulation, the scratches, wounds, and minor injuries on your legs won’t heal properly, leading to non-healing leg wounds, i.e., leg ulceration.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis is one of the most dangerous long-term complications of untreated chronic venous insufficiency. The accumulated blood in your leg veins may harden and clot, and these blood clots may eventually break away and travel to your lungs, leading to a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.

Do men get varicose veins?

There’s a common misconception that varicose veins and spider veins only affect women. But varicose veins can also affect men of all ages, though the risk of varicose veins increases as you grow older because of the gradual weakening of vein valves. Women are more likely to get varicose veins because estrogen and progesterone hormones weaken the vein valves, which leads to a higher risk of vein disease.

Can you get varicose veins in the arms?

Varicose veins usually appear on the lower extremities of the body, such as the legs and thighs. That’s because gravity forces blood to flow backward and accumulate in the leg veins. But you can also develop varicose veins in the arms, pelvis, genitals, and other parts of the body.

Can you get varicose veins in the upper thigh?

Bulging varicose veins are extremely common in the upper thighs. In fact, the inner thighs, upper thighs, lower legs, and calves are the most common regions for varicose veins because that’s the region where gravity forces blood to flow downward (instead of up towards the heart).

What can get rid of varicose veins?

The only way to get rid of varicose veins is to contact a reliable vein center in Maryland. Your vein doctor must diagnose and treat the root cause of varicose veins, following which they should remove the superficial varicose veins. A comprehensive vein treatment plan will prevent your varicose veins from returning.