Medicine

Varicose veins may be sign of bigger health problem

Varicose veins may be sign of bigger health problem

Chang and colleagues matched via propensity score 212,984 patients with varicose veins (mean age, 55 years; 69% women) with 212,984 controls without varicose veins (mean age, 54 years; 70% women) and compared incidence rates of DVT, PE and PAD. It's unclear whether varicose veins might cause blood clots, or whether the two share a similar cause. However, the association to these conditions was "less clear due to the potential for confounding", by factors such as smoking history or obesity - information not available in the claims data.

Typically, varicose veins are considered more of a cosmetic nuisance than a physical problem. Animal models have shown higher concentrations of macrophages, monocytes, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and matrix metalloproteinases in venous valves exposed to high pressure for prolonged periods, like in varicose veins. They found the veins were associated with a more serious condition of deep vein thrombosis. Due to the association with increasing risk of more serious diseases, patients with varicose vein may warrant careful monitoring and early evaluation. 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. Moreover, patients with chronic venous diseases have increased leukocyte adhesion and more activated leukocytes. Furthermore, endovenous ablation provides quick recovery which in turn is expected to create demand for varicose vein treatment.

Still, the association between varicose veins and DVT was strong, he added.

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Dr. Andrei L. Kindzelski, program director at the Translational Blood Science and Resources Branch at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, also said the findings "are not new or unexpected".

"True healthy people are not included in this study at all", Kindzelski said, since the researchers drew data from medical records using codes. Have you ever experienced a blood clot or deep-vein thrombosis?


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