Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

Varicose veins, a condition that affects tens of millions of people in the United States, are often misunderstood as merely a cosmetic concern with minor symptoms. However, these twisted and enlarged veins can signal deeper trouble and be a serious cause for concern.

In this brief article brought to you by Cardiovascular Specialists of York, we introduce you to varicose veins and explore the risks and underlying conditions associated with this common condition. If you’d like to consult with a licensed cardiologist directly, then call Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule an appointment today.

Understanding Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged, twisted, and visibly protruded under the skin. They commonly occur in the legs and feet, where veins experience increased pressure due to standing and walking. Varicose veins typically develop when the valves within the veins weaken or malfunction, causing blood to pool and veins to dilate.

The Risks Associated with Varicose Veins

You may have noticed that varicose veins can cause chronic leg discomfort, including aching, throbbing, heaviness, or cramping, especially after prolonged standing or sitting, but the risks go further.

Varicose veins can indicate underlying chronic venous insufficiency (CVI): a condition where the veins fail to adequately return blood to the heart. This can lead to symptoms such as leg swelling, pain, fatigue, and skin changes.

Prolonged venous insufficiency can lead to skin complications such as dermatitis (skin inflammation), venous ulcers (non-healing wounds), and skin discoloration or pigmentation changes.

Varicose veins are also associated with an increased risk of developing blood clots, particularly deep vein thrombosis (DVT) where a blood clot forms in a deep vein, effectively posing a serious health threat if it dislodges and travels to vital organs.

Underlying Conditions Associated with Varicose Veins

Ignoring or overlooking varicose veins can allow other health conditions to worsen or complicate. This is why seeking a heart doctor or specialized healthcare professional requires urgency. Here are some underlying conditions to be aware of:

  • As we mentioned earlier, varicose veins are often a symptom of CVI, a condition where the veins fail to efficiently return blood to the heart, leading to venous hypertension and related symptoms.
  • Individuals with varicose veins are at an increased risk of developing DVT, a potentially life-threatening condition where blood clots form in deep veins, obstruct blood flow, and pose a risk of embolism.
  • Prolonged venous insufficiency and impaired circulation can lead to venous ulcers, non-healing wounds that typically occur around the ankles or lower legs and require specialized wound care.
  • Varicose veins may coexist with periphery artery disease (PAD), a condition characterized by narrowed or blocked arteries in the legs, leading to reduced blood flow, leg pain, and increased risk of complications like ulcers and gangrene.

Assessing Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can pose serious health hazards. A healthcare provider can perform a physical examination to assess the appearance, size, and distribution of varicose veins as well as evaluate associated symptoms and risk factors.

There are many treatment options available for varicose veins, but prompt diagnosis and intervention is essential. Call Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule an appointment and/or consultation with a licensed physician today. We are also happy to arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible.


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Sylvia Savoie

Hanover, PA

My mom was seen by Dr. Gilbert. She was treated like a queen. Treated her with respect and dignity and took his time even going through writing the information down so she would have the paper. I can’t say enough and the staff at the Cardiovascular Specialist of York clinic was great and friendly.

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Joann Bernard

York, PA

Dr. Gilbert provided excellent service. Both personable and professional. Went above and beyond to provide detailed explanations that I could readily understand. I've never felt more comfortable and better served. If you need a cardiologist in town, I strongly recommend seeing Dr. Gilbert.

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Karen Canzoneri

Pennville, PA

Excellent experience. Dr. Gilbert gave me a wealth of information about taking good care of myself.  I went into this appointment a little worried but came out relieved after his clear explanation and valuable health tips. If you are looking for the best cardiologist in town look no further than Cardiovascular Specialists of York.

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