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What is the health risk of not treating my varicose veins?

I am a 50 year old woman and am in good health overall. I have some small varicose veins near my ankles, but nothing major. I do not think their appearance is very noticeable, so I probably will not do anything about them. At my age, are there any health risks posed by NOT treating the varicose veins? For example, will I be more likely to get blood clots?

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Doctors Answers (4)

The health risks you have described for small varicose veins near the ankle are minimal to no different from the normal risks. If you are past having more children and do not have to stand for long periods at work, then progression of the varicose veins will be slow, and it is recommended to wear compression hose on your legs if you do stand often such as with teachers, nurses, hair stylists, etc. Treatment will help if you have any discomfort from the varicose veins and are treated often for the cosmetic improvements.

What you describe is more like a reticular vein than larger "worm like" bulging varicose veins. If you are healthy and do not have any symptoms, do not worry. You could wear a light compression sock when traveling and only seek care if it is cosmetically unacceptable or painful.

If they are not symptomatic where you are having pain, aching, swelling, heaviness, etc., then no need to treat at this time. There is no significant risk to not treating.

The presence of small varicose veins do not pose any significant health risk. In almost all patients, small veins are not associated with blood clots or skin ulceration. If you have no symptoms, then there is no reason to perform any therapies to prevent any further progression of disease. If the veins become larger in the future, you will be aware of this long before your risk for having any problems such as blood clots will occur.

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