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Varicose Veins Are a Major Risk Factor for Deep Vein Thrombosis

Are Varicose Veins related to DVT? Yes. Varicose veins raise your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) by up to 900%.

This is important to know now because COVID-19 infections are on the rise and COVID-19 also increases the risk of getting a DVT. The risk of a DVT after COVID-19 infection persists for up to 6 months according to a study from Sweden.

The link between DVT and varicose veins was first reported over 20 years ago.  It was a population-based study from Minnesota and it showed that varicose veins were a significant factor in the development of deep vein thrombosis — in that people with varicose veins had a higher incidence.

In 2012, research from Germany found that people with varicose veins were approximately 9 times more likely to develop a deep vein thrombosis.

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. They also 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).

Other Risk Factors for DVT

Varicose Veins are only one of many risk factors for DVT. Other risk factors are:

  • Age over 60
  • Immobility
  • Admission to hospital
  • Injury or surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Heart Failure
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Personal or Family History of DVT
  • HRT and oestrogen-containing contraceptive therapy
  • Inherited conditions that lead to “sticky” blood (thrombophilias)

Most experts consider the risk factors above to be more important than varicose veins. 

Can the risks of DVT be reduced?

YES!  There are things you can do to reduce the risks of getting a DVT:

  1. Stay active and avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  2. Keep hydrated
  3. Consider wearing medical compression
  4. Eat a healthy diet, limiting sugar and processed food (both of which are inflammatory)
  5. Maintain a healthy weight
  6. Stopping smoking
  7. Consider having your leg veins treated if they are causing symptoms or complications
  8. Consider vaccination against COVID-19

Do Varicose Veins Cause DVT?

Although Varicose Veins are a risk factor for DVT, we cannot say that Varicose Veins actually cause DVT. Therefore, we do not advise our patients to have their veins treated only to reduce the risk of DVT.

In the absence of other risk factors, DVT in people who have Varicose Veins remains relatively rare.

So, please do not worry about DVT if you have varicose veins unless you develop symptoms.


  1. The link between Varicose Veins and DVT is established.
  2. Varicose Veins may increase the risk of DVT by up to 9 times.
  3. Varicose Vein Treatment may reduce the risk.
  4. People with varicose veins should consider self-help measures such as keeping active and hydrated as well as wearing compression hosiery.
  5. On its own, the presence of varicose veins is not a reason to have vein treatment. In the absence of other risk factors, DVT in people with varicose veins is rare.

If you would like more information about varicose veins, please get in contact and one of our advisors will be happy to help you.