Does Heart Health Affect Varicose Veins?

May 25, 2016

Varicose veins are those bulging, twisting vessels that often rope up the lower leg. Because they are part of the circulatory system, some individuals worry that varicose veins and heart disease go hand-in-hand. The good news is varicose veins are not a risk factor for most other cardiovascular conditions. However, the steps you take to treat and prevent varicose veins may promote better heart health as well.

Why Varicose Veins Form

All of the veins of the body have the same job – to move blood back to the heart. The veins in the lower legs have to work a bit harder than other veins since they have to work against gravity and the body’s own weight to move blood in an upward direction to the heart. That hard job can lead to damage inside the vessels, specifically, damage to the tiny valves that are taxed with the job of keeping blood moving in a single direction.

When the valves wear out, blood can start to pool inside those vessels. This can lead to weakening and swelling of the vein, which results in visible varicosity over time.

Varicose Veins and DVT

While varicose veins are not linked to most cardiovascular conditions, there is a higher incidence of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis or DVT with varicose vein sufferers. DVT is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the body, usually the leg. This clot may not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, if it is left unchecked, it can break free from its original location and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a life-threatening condition known as a pulmonary embolism.

Symptomatic Varicose Veins

While varicose veins are not typically a risk factor for heart disease, they can be accompanied by symptoms of their own that can become quite uncomfortable and even serious. Symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Pain and aching in the lower legs
  • Swelling of the legs and feet
  • Cramping or restless legs
  • Heaviness or fatigued legs at the end of the day
  • Skin irritation, burning or itching around the vessel
  • Skin thickening and discoloration

The symptoms can become severe enough to limit a person’s physical activity and impact their quality of life. In addition, changes to the skin can become permanent, even if the veins are eventually treated. For this reason, it is always a good idea to have your varicose veins evaluated by a vein specialist to determine whether treatment should be performed.

Treatment Options

There are many different treatment options for eliminating varicose veins today. Most are minimally-invasive and involve no anesthesia or recovery time afterward. At The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we use proven therapies and state-of-the-art treatments that effectively eradicate swollen vessels and their painful symptoms.

While vein treatments will not affect any other cardiovascular conditions you may have, these procedures will promote better vascular health overall. Treating varicose veins allows blood to reroute naturally into healthy veins nearby, which lowers pressure in the veins and keeps blood flowing more efficiently. Steps to prevent future varicose veins, such as maintaining a healthy weight, getting daily exercise and kicking the smoking habit will also benefit your heart health.

Varicose veins may not directly impact your heart health, but they can become unsightly and uncomfortable enough to impact your quality of life. Contact The Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin today at 800-910-8346 to find out which vein treatment is the right one for you.