Varicose veins appear when veins are damaged, leaving the blood to pool around the area. This causes the appearance of unsightly bulging veins that are visible from outside the skin. While this may be the case, many still view varicose veins as merely a cosmetic issue that doesn’t need to be treated. So we’ve compiled a list of what could happen if you leave your varicose veins untreated. Here are some conditions that might arise.
Excess blood may leak into the tissues of the leg when veins get too damaged. When this happens, areas, where excess blood may seep, will become inflamed and become discolored, a condition known as hyperpigmentation. While this condition may not be considered potentially life-threatening, the swelling in the affected areas has been known to cause considerable pain.
Lipodermatosclerosis is a condition that arises during advanced stages of venous insufficiency. When leg inflammation caused by varicose veins are left untreated, the tissues around the affected area start to become firm and will feel harder than usual. The legs also feel increasingly tender, which makes it more difficult to move or even relax. Over time, the skin can keep hardening.
Venous Leg Ulcer
Advanced stage varicose veins often result in a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This occurs when the valves in the veins don’t work properly and as a result, make it difficult for blood in the legs to return to the heart. When this is left not treated, this can progress into a much serious condition known as a venous leg ulcer. A venous skin ulcer appears when the skin around the affected vein comes very thin, so the skin can break easily. When left untreated, the ulcer becomes larger and larger, which will become quite painful, especially when infected.
Because blood cannot return to the heart due to damage on the vein walls, varicose veins are pushed out until they become close to the surface. As it comes closer to the surface, the risk of it being dangerous increases. For instance, a light scratch might lead to excessive blood loss. In some cases, the bleeding occurs without any sensation of pain. But this might lead to significant blood loss when left untreated.
When the veins beneath the skin due to the weakening of the veins and decreased blood flow, the surrounding area might experience some redness, increasing tenderness, and pain that never goes away. This is a condition known as superficial thrombophlebitis, which can cause serious discomfort in the affected areas.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Varicose veins are not a cause for any disease or condition. Instead, it is a symptom of much serious diseases, like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This occurs when blood clots form that causes a pulling sensation in the legs. When the clot breaks off, it could travel to various parts of the body, including the lungs, which could become life-threatening when left untreated.