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How can varicose veins be dangerous?

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» Watch Next Video by Martin Franklin, D.O. - How do you diagnose venous disease?

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I'm Dr. Martin Franklin, medical director of Vein Associates of Texas. I'm board certified in family medicine for the past 15 years and also certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. How can varicose veins be dangerous? Varicose veins are a problem because blood does not flow properly and return back to the heart. The valves inside the heart are frequently incompetent. The veins are stretched out. This does not allow blood to flow properly. Anytime you sit in one position, stand in one position for long period of time, sit in a car and travel for a long period, without graded compression stockings or anytime you fly in an airplane, you risk developing clots when you have varicose vein disease. When this occurs this clot can pass through the deep system creating deep vein thrombosis, which can be a long term issue. Also it can pass further into the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism. Another issue associated with varicose veins is breakdown of the skin and you can actually get ulcerations.

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