Here is a fact that very few people with varicose veins and even doctors know: having varicose veins increases the risk of getting a DVT.
Why is this important now? Because COVID-19 also increases the risk of getting a DVT.
The first significant paper in the medical literature that we had on the subject came in 2000. It was a population-based study from Minnesota and it was over a 15 year period and it identified that varicose veins were indeed a significant factor in the development of deep vein thrombosis — in that people with varicose veins had a higher incidence.
In 2012 another piece of research was published from Germany and it looked at 83,000 people over a three-year period and it found that people with varicose veins were approximately 9 times more likely to develop a deep vein thrombosis compared with other people.
Another study from Texas in 2012 showed that people undergoing total hip replacement were at an increased of deep vein thrombosis if they had varicose veins compared with those who did not. And also quite significantly they found that people who had had treatment for their varicose veins and who were undergoing a total hip replacement had the same risk of deep vein thrombosis as people who did not have varicose veins.
The most recent study from Taiwan in 2018 looked at a group of just over 425,000 patients equally divided between those with varicose veins and those without. Over a period of nearly 8 years, DVT was 5 times more common in the group who had varicose veins. Furthermore, a paper this year (June 2020) in the British Medical Journal suggests that having varicose veins increases overall mortality (the risk of dying).
There is now no doubt that varicose veins are indeed a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis.
In the COVID-19 era, this means it is particularly important to take measures to avoid DVT, because COVID-19 causes massive inflammation and the blood becomes more sticky.
So here are my 5 top tips:
- Stay active and avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing
- Keep hydrated
- Consider wearing medical compression
- Eat a healthy diet, limiting sugar and processed food (both of which are inflammatory)
- Consider having your leg veins treated
If you would like more information about varicose veins, please get in contact and one of our advisors will be happy to help you.