Can you die from varicose veins? Fatal haemorrhage is a rare but well-documented complication of varicose veins. Patients with particularly prone varicosities, coagulation anomalies or anticoagulation therapies and those who have had previous bleeds are especially at risk. Those living alone may be at risk of overwhelming haemorrhage or hypovolaemia.
All varicose vein patients should receive haemostasis advice. This advice should explain leg elevation and bleeding point pressure to ease or cease bleeding. This case highlights the point that varicose veins are not always as benign as they are often perceived. Haemorrhage should be treated seriously and appropriately, and prompt varicosity treatment should be sought if the patient is at particular risk of haemorrhage.
With hindsight, other than haemorrhage advice the best treatment for this patient may have been in a one-stop clinic, in which evaluation, assessment and treatment could all have been undertaken in the same visit. Attempts to start such a one-stop clinic at Worcester Hospital have been made, and hopefully this will begin in the near future.
Can you die from varicose veins?
In general, varicose veins are not life threatening. However, some people experience significant discomfort associated with their varicose veins. Skin changes can also occur, including discolouration of the skin over the veins.
Occasionally, people with varicose veins develop ulcers on the legs, usually near the ankles. These ulcers can be extremely painful and take a long time to heal.
A blood clot and inflammation in the varicose veins is another possible complication. This is known as thrombophlebitis. Bleeding from varicose veins is another possible, but rare, complication.
When to See A Doctor About Varicose Veins
If you suspect this venous disease, you should speak to a vein specialist for a venous evaluation. Not all varicose veins are visible as the dark or bulging veins you see in before and after photos. Some are visible and less noticeable, while others aren’t seen at all. If you have unexplained leg pain or heaviness in the legs, you should be evaluated. An ultrasound can locate venous insufficiency, allowing our providers to address the problem effectively.
Patients in higher risk categories should also be routinely evaluated, especially if they notice symptoms of venous disease such as heaviness, aching, swelling, tenderness, burning and itching. Patients who are at an increased risk have a family history of venous disease, are of advanced age, and women over 30 who have had three or more children or who are taking oral contraceptives.
It isn’t just women and the elderly, however. If you sit or stand still for long periods of time, your risk for developing venous disease increases. If you’re on extended bed rest for any reason, you’re chances of developing blood clots go up as well.