|Varicose veins not only affect the way your legs look and feel but these veins can have a serious impact on the way your blood flows. This is why it’s important to see your vein specialist right away if you suspect blood clots as it could point to Deep Vein Thrombosis. Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer is one of the top and most trusted vascular surgeons in Youngstown, Salem, and Warren, Ohio. He will help you figure out the best course of action for any suspected or diagnosed blood clots.|
If you have vein disease, you’re probably wondering how blood clots can affect your life. Blood clots can be dangerous and can also indicate a serious underlying issue while varicose veins can be the bane of your legs’ existence.
What are Blood Clots?
Blood clots are solid components of blood composed of red blood cells and clumps of platelets cross-linked by fibrin that form in your body. This may occur when blood flow has slowed or when there has been an injury to the vessel.
Blood clots are the body’s way of protecting you from losing too much blood, especially when an injury has left you open-wounded. As you heal, the clot disappears and dissolves and should allow blood flow to continue. Blood clots may also develop in abnormal vessels, such as varicose veins. These abnormal twisty veins are prone to blood pooling and clotting. This is called superficial thrombophlebitis and may be related to a deeper problem such as venous insufficiency or deep venous thrombosis.
What are the Symptoms of Blood Clots?
The symptoms of blood clots in varicose veins will differ based on the size and location of the vessels. You may feel nothing at all, or any of these symptoms:
- Swelling around the affected area
- Reddened skin
- Pain in and around the affected area
- Tender or warm to the touch
What Causes Blood Clots?
In the body, blood is constantly moving. Through veins and arteries, the blood must reach every organ. Blood flow is very important but what happens when the flow is somehow interrupted, the blood flow slows, or an injury occurs? Blood clots form.
When the circulatory system is not flowing efficiently, blood cells can pool and stick together in a gelatinous knot. Now, imagine if this clot formed in your vein. The flow you enjoyed would then become jammed-up highways, stuck in the slowest lane possible, disrupting your circulation and causing a backup of blood flow, increasing the pressure in the surrounding tissues and causing a myriad of symptoms.
A blood clot that forms in a varicose vein is called superficial thrombophlebitis and is not particularly dangerous, in most cases just a painful nuisance. This type of blood clot, however, may be associated with a more dangerous DEEP blood clot known as a DVT, or deep venous thrombosis.
If a deeper clot is dislodged and this crimson mass joins the flow and travels to your heart and lungs it can cause issues as critical as a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening. On rare occasions, this type of blood clot may also lead to a stroke.
What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
DVT is a blood clot that occurs in any of the deep veins of the body. There are many causes of DVT, including surgery, certain medications, prolonged immobilization, injury, cancer, and inherited blood disorders. DVT typically presents with pain and swelling in one of your extremities.
Understanding DVT can prevent other life-threatening conditions – pulmonary embolism. This occurs in patients with DVT in which a blood clot breaks free from the leg and travels through the heart to the lungs.
This is why it’s important to see your vein specialist as soon as possible if you suspect blood clots.
Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer provides customized treatments to address blood clots and DVT. Book your appointment today to get ahead of the blood clots and get back your flow.
What are Varicose Veins?
Veins could be described as one-way lanes on a major highway that transport deoxygenated blood. The venous blood flow weaves and swooshes through a vast and organized network of veins hard-wired to keep moving in a particular direction – straight to the heart.
The direction of blood flow may be reversed by injury to the delicate valves within the vein, or increased pressure causing weakening of the valves. This may result in the development of varicose veins.
It is a common condition that occurs when the veins in the legs become swollen and enlarged. With nowhere to go, the blood settles somewhere in the middle, restricting blood circulation. These are typically seen in the legs, though they may appear in other areas of the body. You can read more about the risk factors associated with vein issues.
What is the Relationship Between Blood Clots and Varicose Veins?
If you have vascular health issues, your risk of developing blood clots in your legs increases. Varicose Veins may become clotted, known as superficial thrombophlebitis, affecting not only the way your legs look and feel but can have a serious impact on your health due to the increased likelihood of developing deep venous thrombosis.
Blood clots don’t have to stop your flow, call your vein specialist today to hear about your treatment options.
What are the Treatment Options for Superficial Thrombophlebitis and Deep Venous Thrombosis?
Doctors will first have to make a diagnosis as to the extent of venous disease to verify whether you have blood clots and how the valves in the veins are functioning. Dr. Schmetterer completes this through comprehensive vascular ultrasound imaging. Your legs are examined to detect changes associated with venous insufficiency, as well as bulging varicose veins. Both arterial and venous circulation issues are addressed.
Once Dr. Schmetterer has established that you indeed have venous circulatory issues, appropriate treatment is discussed. A deep venous thrombosis is typically treated with oral anticoagulation (blood thinner) to prevent further blood clots and pulmonary embolism.
In cases where blood thinners have failed to prevent the growth of a blood clot, or if blood thinners are ill-advised due to a bleeding disorder, a vena cava filter may be placed in order to prevent clots from traveling to your heart and lungs. In the most severe cases, blood clots may be removed in surgery utilizing a device to dissolve and suction out the clot.
Speak to Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer — the Leading Vascular Surgeon of Choice in Northeast Ohio
Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer is a vascular surgeon and vein expert based in Youngstown, Ohio with services provided in Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana Counties. With his vast expertise in vein disease, he can help you with your arterial or venous circulatory problems.
the effects of venous insufficiency, superficial thrombophlebitis, and deep venous thrombosis. To find out how to combat the effects of venous disease, book your consultation with Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer today.