Deep Vein Thrombosis
The Link Between Varicose Veins and Deep Vein Thrombosis
While most of us are familiar with the term “varicose veins”, many of us may consider this to be a non-malignant condition that is simply unsightly. While this might be true in some cases, it is important to realise that varicose veins could also be indicative of other, more serious conditions. If left untreated, varicose veins might even lead to deep vein thrombosis – a serious condition that could potentially be fatal.
What is deep vein thrombosis?
This is a vascular condition where one or more deep-seated veins are occluded, in other words, obstructed. This condition most commonly occurs in the legs, and the mortality rate is alarmingly high. When occurring in the lower limbs (legs), it often starts in the distal veins.
Factors that can lead to an increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis include a family history of this condition, pregnancy, the use of contraceptives, old age, obesity, and varicose veins.
Symptoms can include swelling and increased temperature in the legs, pain, and dilation of superficial veins. This last symptom is what can cause varicose veins to appear.
How does varicose veins lead to deep vein thrombosis?
Varicose veins occur when the superficial veins are under strain and start to become dilated, elongated, and tortuous (full of twists and bends). This damages the valves and walls of the veins. When this happens, the body could interpret this damage and resulting pooling of blood as blood loss. To combat this, it activates the process of forming blood clots to stop this perceived loss of blood. However, because there is no loss of blood, these blood clots end up obstructing the veins.
Treating varicose veins
Because of this risk, it is important to treat varicose veins before further complications, such as deep vein thrombosis, arise. The Gibson Vein Practice is one of the leading treatment facilities for varicose veins in South Africa. They offer a range of treatment options, depending on the patient and the severity of the condition. These include:
- Sonar-guided treatment
- The “button ligation” method
- Endovenous laser treatment
With more than two decades of experience in medical practice, the Gibson Vein Practice, alongside the advanced treatments on offer, are known to produce exceptional results. At the head of this practice is Dr Stewart Gibson, a trusted varicose veins specialist. For more information of the treatments they offer, your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, or to book an appointment, contact the Gibson Vein Practice today.