Is Varicose Veins the same as DVT?

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Those varicose veins popped up on your legs can be much more than unattractive. Research suggests varicose veins might increase the risk of dangerous blood clots by five times. To read more about the research on varicose veins linked to DVT, read here. Known as deep venous thrombosis (DVT), these blood clots can be dangerous if the reach to the lungs or heart.

So, what are they?

Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that develop on the legs, feet, hands, and face. They might appear in blue or purple and are lumpy, twisted in appearance.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops in the deep vein, usually legs. Often, DVT develops in a deep leg vein that is present in the muscles of the calf and the thigh.

Why do varicose veins develop?            

Veins have uni-direction valves to ensure that the blood flows to the heart in one way. These valves may fail and make blood flow in reverse down the veins. This results in excess pressure when standing. This overload of pressure widens the veins, so the veins do not close well. Blood flows in reverse back into the leg through these veins and develops varicose veins.

Why does deep vein thrombosis occur?

Deep veins are located between the muscles. Any muscular activity (moving the legs, walking, any leg work out) helps blood easily move up these veins. When your legs are inactive, especially when sitting or standing, blood pool in the deep veins. Pooling of blood can lead to thrombosis. Sitting with the legs crossed such as on a chair for long (as on a flight) may restrict blood from flowing up the veins in the calf.

The longer the stagnation of blood, the certainty of developing thrombosis is higher. If blood is “thick” or “sticky” caused by dehydration or medical conditions, there is a higher chance to develop thrombosis.

Compression stockings are effective in reducing symptoms of varicose veins and DVT. Anti-embolism stockings are effective in preventing DVT by compressing your legs. These stockings are effective when worn regularly.

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