Learn How Varicose Veins Increase Your Risk of DVT
March is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month
Did you know?
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) affect upwards of 600,000 Americans each year and cause more deaths each year than the more well-publicized conditions of breast cancer, AIDS, and motor vehicle accidents.
- DVT/PE are a leading cause of preventable hospital deaths in the United States.
- DVT/PE are the leading cause of maternal death in the United States.
- One-half of DVT/PE patients will have long-term complications and one-third will have a recurrence within 10 years.
- An estimated $10 billion in medical costs in the US each year can be attributed to DVT and PE.
While there are a multitude of potential causes of DVT, we know that varicose veins are a predisposing factor. In fact, just this month alone, we've seen three patients in our office with moderate sized varicosities and acute, new DVTs. None of the patients had predisposing factors that would increase the risk of DVT other than varicose veins, and each was active and free of other major medical problems.
The underlying cause of varicose veins is chronic venous insufficiency, or valve weakness that prevents normal vein flow up the leg. Venous insufficiency causes sluggish flow of blood in the dilated leg veins which increases the risk of superficial blood clot formation. Detailed studies have shown that nearly 10% of patients with superficial blood clots have associated deep vein thrombosis due to clot progression from the surface veins.
Deep vein clots (DVTs) associated with varicose veins cause as much morbidity and potential mortality as do other DVTs.
If you have symptoms of varicose veins, such as swollen legs, itching, burning, aching or throbbing symptoms in your legs occurring later in the day, you could have chronic venous insufficiency and an increased risk of blood clot formation. We encourage you to seek evaluation with a board certified vascular surgeon to avoid progression and complications.