Blood Clots & Leg Ulcers
Varicose veins can worsen over time, but when blood clots develop, the health issues can be truly critical. Many are unaware of the dangers unhealthy veins can pose, failing to see them as anything more than a cosmetic blemish. But if a blood clot or thrombosis forms in the legs, the dangers can be very real.
Blood clots that start in the legs and travel to the lungs claim more lives than breast cancer, AIDS and car accidents combined (see www.preventdvt.org). There are two types of blood clots: superficial blood clots, also called phlebitis, and deep clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When a deep clot in the leg travels to the lungs, this is called a pulmonary embolus — this can be fatal.
As areas of stagnant blood, varicose veins increase the risk for superficial phlebitis. Surface clots typically appear as hard, tender, red lumps on the leg. Discounting this as a harmless inflammation is dangerous, because 10 percent of these superficial clots are associated with a more dangerous deep vein thrombosis.
On their own, deep vein clots typically cause deep leg pain and sudden swelling. If the clot moves to the lungs, abrupt chest pain and shortness of breath can develop. Deep vein thrombosis usually occurs during times of immobility, such as traveling in a car or recovering from an illness or surgery.
If you experience signs of a deep or superficial blood clot, don’t ignore it! A thorough examination, including a duplex ultrasound of the leg, and prompt treatment can help prevent a blood clot from enlarging and becoming a potentially lethal pulmonary embolus.
In addition to evaluating for blood clots, Advanced Vein Center is one of the few centers that can drain superficial clots and provide immediate relief for the pain of superficial phlebitis.
Since blood clots can arise in varicose veins and move into the deep circulation, eliminating diseased varicose veins can help improve venous blood flow and decrease the risk for phlebitis.
Facts about blood clots:
- Deep vein blood clots can dislodge and travel to the lungs. This is called pulmonary embolism.
- There are more deaths from pulmonary embolism than breast cancer, AIDS and car accidents combined.
- Deep calf or thigh pain and abrupt swelling of the leg are signs of deep vein thrombosis.
- Blood clots also arise in varicose veins. This is called superficial phlebitis.
- Ten percent of superficial phlebitis will be associated with a more dangerous, deep vein blood clot.
- Superficial phlebitis usually feels like a hard, tender lump on the leg.
- If you experience signs of a deep or superficial blood clot, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Leg ulcers are a miserable complication of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), affecting up to a third of patients with CVI*. Swelling, rashes and brown discoloration develop due to poor return of blood back to the heart. Toxins accumulate and ultimately the skin will break down.
This debilitating condition can cause patients to not only miss work, but also miss out on life. Imagine living with daily dressing changes, a chronic drainage or the foul smell that can accompany a leg ulcer. From day one, a person’s life is altered when having to deal with a chronic wound. The sad thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Although artery problems are often thought of first, in fact, more than 70 percent of leg ulcerations are related to leaky veins. Unfortunately, many suffer with leg ulcers for years before they are referred for evaluation of their veins. Today’s treatments can not only help ulcers heal, but are proven to help ulcers stay healed.
Ulcers that have been present for years often heal within a few short months of receiving treatment. Some heal in weeks. Furthermore, with modern vein ablation, recovery is quick and downtime minimal.
Facts about leg ulcers:
- Vein problems cause more than 70 percent of leg ulcers.
- Unfortunately, sometimes it takes years before an ulcer patient is referred for a vein evaluation.
- Vein-related leg ulcers are typically located on the ankles in areas of brown discoloration.
- Leg swelling, discoloration and itchy rashes often precede the breakdown of the skin.
- Treating the diseased veins is an effective way to promptly heal many leg ulcerations.
- Compression stockings and exercise are a must for patients with leg ulcers.
- Approximately a third of patients with chronic venous insufficiency will develop leg ulcers.
The best way to protect the health of your legs is to be proactive in treating them when problems surface. Brown discoloration and leg ulcers do not need to be accepted as a way of life. If you, or a loved one suffer with leg swelling, rashes or ulcers, you owe it to yourself to call for a complete and thorough evaluation.
We have taken these life-changing treatments across the globe, treating advanced vascular disease on humanitarian missions to Latin America. It is truly gratifying to treat severe vein conditions, as the improvement in quality of life is so significant.
Call now to protect your circulation — 480-844-VEIN (8346).
*Gonsalves, CF: “Venous leg ulcers,” Techniques in Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 2003.