Varicose veins increase chances of a blood clot: Study

Scientists are warning that varicose veins could increase the chance of a blood clot. Source: Getty

Varicose veins are a common, but a new study has warned the little blue veins, previously thought to be harmless, can be quite dangerous for your health.

While many people feel self-conscious about their varicose veins, enlarged and twisted veins that form just under the skin, the study suggests they could also put your health at serious risk

Researchers from the China Medical University in Taiwan said that varicose veins put people at greater risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis. This type of blood clot commonly forms in veins, with the new research becoming one of the first in the world to link varicose veins with a health issue.

The condition is quite common, so much so that as many as 23 per cent of America’s adult population are said to be living with varicose veins. While commonly affecting people due to their unsightly appearance, China Medical University’s study has linked the condition to deep-vein thrombosis. While more research needs to be done to figure out the exact link between the two, there are concerns that these kinds of veins may also contribute to an array of other vascular diseases including pulmonary embolism and peripheral artery disease.

Read more: The most common myths about varicose veins debunked

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The observational study analysed 212,984 people with varicose veins and 212,984 without and found that those with varicose veins were more likely to develop deep-vein thrombosis than those without. Because of the nature of the study, researchers did not intervene and were unable to control other elements and factors that may have impacted the outcomes.

All people as part of the study were enrolled in Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program from 2001 to 2013, with follow ups occurring in 2014. While the findings have been promising, more research is needed to determine whether the link between varicose veins and deep-vein thrombosis is causal or associated with other specific risk factors.

While they can occur anywhere in the body, they’re usually more prone to the legs and feet. Typically, there are a number of reasons why someone could develop varicose veins. They can be hereditary, but are also common in people who are overweight. They’re also known to develop in people who are on their feet a lot, or people who sit down too much.

If you are living with varicose veins and they’re becoming increasingly painful, it’s best to speak to a health professional to see what treatment options are available. 

What do you think? Have you got varicose veins? Have you ever experienced a blood clot or deep-vein thrombosis?