Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the deep veins within the legs that can break away and move toward the arteries in the heart, causing a life threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism. Veins are vessels that lack muscle and are responsible for moving blood from the body back to the heart and lungs. They move blood by the contraction of the muscles and valves that keep blood moving in the right direction. The valves may eventually not close properly, allowing blood to pool in the veins.
Stage 2 Vein Disease (pre-DVT) is Varicose Veins
With the pooling of blood in the veins, this causes stretching of the veins, which then develop into varicose veins. Varicose veins can be found in both the superficial and deep veins. The more common varicose veins are in the superficial veins, which appear as the gnarled and swollen veins see on the skin surface.
Superficial varicose veins can lead to complications, such as thrombophlebitis. This condition causes swelling in the vein with a localized clot that can feel like a firm area in the vein. Clots form due to the blood pooling and moving slowly, which allows the blood to coagulate. Thrombophlebitis does not cause any worsening condition and is easily treated with localized heat, such as a heating pad and use of anti-inflammatory medications.
"Deep varicose veins are not seen on the skin surface, but can cause the same symptoms, such as cramping, swelling, and fatigue in the legs. " - Dr. Edward Mackay
Symptoms & Diagnosis of Deep Varicose Veins
Deep varicose veins are not seen on the skin surface, but can cause the same symptoms, such as cramping, swelling, and fatigue in the legs. Since the deep varicose veins cannot be seen on the skin surface, the only way to diagnose them is through the use of an ultrasound. Just like in superficial varicose veins, the deep varicose veins can also develop clots from the blood pooling with poor movement.
Clots in Deep Veins create Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
The type of clots that form in deep varicose veins are deep venous thrombosis (DVT). These are a concerning type of clot, because they cause localized increased swelling, pain, and redness in the leg. If left untreated or unidentified, deep venous thrombosis can break away from the leg vein, traveling to the lungs causing a condition called pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary embolisms can be deadly, as they can reduce the ability of blood getting to the lungs to reoxygenate the body. Symptoms are often shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain.
Video: Understanding Deep Vein Thrombosis
Dr. Mackay describes DVT.
Do Superficial Varicose Veins Mean you Have Deep Varicose Veins? It is possible.
If you have superficial varicose veins, you may also have deep varicose veins and even if you don’t have superficial varicose veins, but have problems with venous insufficiency, this can lead to developing deep varicose veins. Having varicose veins does increase the risk for developing deep venous thrombosis versus those that do not have varicose veins. Other risks that can increase deep venous thrombosis are smoking, pregnancy, clotting disorder, obesity, and use of estrogen, therefore if you have varicose veins in combination with any of these risks you are at an even greater chance to develop deep venous thrombosis.
To learn more about the dangers of untreated varicose veins visit: https://www.drmackay.com/varicose-vein-untreated-dangers/
What To Do If you Feel You Have DVT
Varicose veins can be unsightly and painful, but can also lead to concerning and life threatening conditions. Having your varicose veins properly evaluated, diagnosed, and treated can reduce the potential for deep vein thrombosis. Contact a vascular surgeon today to schedule a consultation to understand your risk.
Video: Meet Dr. Mackay
Meet one of Tampa Bay's most trusted vascular surgeons. Dr. Edward Mackay has been helping clients prevent and treat vascular diseases. Click here to learn more about this board certified vascular surgeon.