If left untreated, varicose veins can become more serious, and lead to the development of the following:
- Edema in the lower limbs
- Blood clots
Ulcers may result from the buildup of fluid over time, due to the increased blood pressure in varicose veins. Ulcers are typically found near the ankles. Prior to ulcer formation, the skin typically becomes discolored. Blood clots and edema may result from the enlargement of deep veins. Signs of a blood clot include an immediate swelling of the leg. Blood clots could lead to the development of thrombophlebitis: inflammation of the vein due to a blood clot. In cases where the vein is very close to the surface of the skin, it may rupture and bleed as well.
How can varicose veins be prevented?
Because muscle activity helps pump blood back to the heart, the best way to reduce the risk of developing varicose veins is to improve muscle tone and circulation. This can be done by participating in the following:
- Weight management
- Eating a high-fiber, low-salt diet
- Avoiding tight clothing around the legs
- Avoiding high heels
- Elevating the legs
- Alternating between sitting and standing
- Avoiding sitting with legs crossed