What Those Bulging Veins in the Legs Mean

legEvery year, about 900,000 people in the US develop deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT.  This is when blood clots in the veins, usually the legs, and they look like your veins are getting ready to pop out of the skin. This usually comes with pain and swelling, but in some cases, there are no symptoms.

But, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 10% of patients with DVT die within one month of diagnosis. Moreover, about half of DVT sufferers also get postthrombotic syndrome (PTS), according to Veniti.com.

What is PTS?

PTS is a complication of DVT. When a person has DVT, the blood clot keeps the blood in that vein from flowing properly. After some time, this blockage can damage the vein itself.  It allows fluids to leak from the vein and pool in the legs.  This can lead to painful swelling, cramping, dry skin, eczema, and sores.  People with PTS often find it difficult to move. They are also at risk of pulmonary embolism (PE), where a blood clot in the leg travels to the lungs. About 25% of patients with untreated DVT die suddenly of PE.

Who gets DVT?

PTS happens when DVT remains untreated. The obvious answer to PTS is to prevent DVT in the first place. Most people get DVT because they have a medical condition or take medication that causes the blood to clot. Some people get DVT because they do not move for a long time, such as when they are recovering from surgery.

What should you do?

People at risk of DVT can prevent it by wearing support hose, exercising regularly, and taking the proper medication. If you already have DVT or PTS, or suspect you have it, it is important to consult your doctor immediately.  Ignoring it and hoping it will go away will only make things worse. There are medications and innovative procedures that can help your condition.