Did you know that having varicose veins increases your risk of blood clots? Many people view the twisted, swollen veins that cause parts of their leg to bulge as merely a cosmetic issue. However, untreated varicose veins can put you at risk for several serious health conditions. Common examples include pulmonary embolism, stroke, and heart disease.

When Varicose Veins Get Blood Clots

Blood normally flows upwards from your lower legs to your heart and back again. The long journey pits your blood against gravitational forces, which sometimes causes a breakdown of vein structures. You may not have any symptoms at this point other than swelling, discoloration, and twisting of veins just below the surface of your leg. Vascular specialists refer to this collection of symptoms as varicose veins.

Blood clots are one of the major risk factors of existing varicose veins. They can also occur after surgery when you have remained in one position without moving your legs for hours or days. Blood thinners are a type of medication that helps to break up blood clots for your body to re-absorb.

Why Blood Clots Are Dangerous

Blood clots form in your legs when your normally liquid blood turns solid for any number of reasons. Blood clotting is helpful when you injure yourself because it prevents you from losing too much blood. Unfortunately, blood clots can be dangerous when they develop inside your body and do not go away on their own.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can form in the larger veins of your body. The danger comes when the blood clot comes apart on its own and its pieces travel to the bloodstream. DVT that reaches the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism. This condition is an emergency because it can prevent blood from flowing and quickly cause a fatal outcome. Approximately 100,000 Americans die each year from deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.

Arterial clots that form and break in the brain cause strokes, and blood clots that form in the arteries or heart valve can cause cardiac arrest. You can also experience pain, nausea, and vomiting when blood clots form in your abdominal area.

Why Blood Thinners Work

Blood thinners work by promoting normal blood flow in your arteries and veins and preventing existing blood clots from growing larger. The two major types of blood thinners are anticoagulants and antiplatelets. The latter comes in pill form and targets tiny blood particles called platelets.

Treatments for Deep Vein Thrombosis

Dr. Tif Siragusa typically recommends one of the three treatment options described below for treating DVT.

Anticoagulants (Blood thinners)

Anticoagulants prevent liquid blood from turning into solid cell clumps that stick together and form clots. Most prescription anticoagulant blood thinners come in pill form, although several are now available as an intravenous injection.

Compression Stockings and Leg Elevation

Compression stockings place pressure on the legs to improve blood flow. Elevating your legs can have the same effect.

Vein Surgery Treatments

Dr. Siragusa offers several surgical treatments for DVT and other serious vascular concerns. You can learn more about each of these options during your initial consultation.

Contact Siragusa’s Vein Clinic in Nashville, TN

Do you want to receive vein treatment from one of the top vascular doctors in Nashville? If so, we invite you to meet our vein physician in Nashville when you schedule a consult for a free vein screening.

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