Stroke and Vein Disease

Stroke and Vein Disease

Review of strokes in relationship to varicose vein disease

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Varicose veins are generally thought of as a non-medical issue according to Upper East NYC vein doctors for vein treatment . However, there are enough reasons to consider an evaluation if you are suffering from symptomatic varicose veins. Most often secondary to venous insufficiency, varicose veins present due to abnormal circulation in the leg veins. Can this indicate an increased risk for stroke?Stroke and varicose veinsFirst, the chances of varicose veins lead to a stroke are very slim. In particular, the concern is that stagnant flow inside large abnormal veins in the legs can lead to the development of a blood clot. Blood clots in the leg veins represent an increased risk for pulmonary embolism, when they travel to the lungs. This can be a fatal complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the legs.

DVTs have a low likelihood of entering the brain, however can occur in situations where a small defect exist in the heart. Clots can then travel from the right side of the heart and enter the arterial circulation to cause serious issues including stroke, heart attacks or thrombosis of the extremities.

Stroke Chances with Varicose Veins

Fortunately, the chance of having a stroke due to a blood clot in the lower extremities is very rare. However, that doesn't mean we should just ignore varicose veins.

Unlike strokes, venous disease affects the circulation that returns blood back to the heart. This is accomplished by both the deep veins (main route) and the superficial veins in our legs. Superficial veins can be prone to the development of varicose veins as they depend on tiny valves to keep blood moving in the right direction against gravity. When the valves weaken secondary to genetics and wear and tear, venous insufficiency can develop. This results in increased pressure inside the small veins in our legs including the saphenous veins. Varicose veins are physical signs of venous insufficiency.


There are several factors that influence the development of varicose veins.

1. Prolonged sitting or standing for extended periods of time without rest

2.Hormone changes secondary to pregnancy, medications, or aging

3.Age itself is associated with the wear and tear of the leg vein valves.

4.Obesity increases the stress on the leg veins

5.Genetics is the most important factor

What Are Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Symptoms of varicose veins are common and include heaviness, leg pain, aching, swelling and restless legs. With progression and under treatment, individuals can suffer from skin discoloration, leg ulcerations, eczema, and most concerning blood clots.

What Are Symptoms of Blood Clots

A DVT is a rare occurrence simply due to varicose veins. Most often individuals have a precipitating factor that results in extended period of immobility. This can be due to a serious illness, injury, long trips or surgery. Individuals with underlying factors such as clotting disorders, cancer, certain medications can also be at increased risk for dvts. Varicose veins are not generally considered a significant risk factor for blood clots, however a study published in JAMA did indicate an increased risk. For this reason, individuals with large symptomatic varicose veins should be under the care of a vein doctor.Symptoms of a DVT include acute onset swelling of one extremity (sometimes both), pain, redness, decreased mobility, and edema.


If you are suffering from symptoms of chronic leg pain, heaviness, aching or restless legs then it's important to have a venous evaluation. Physical signs of varicose veins should certainly prompt attention to a Upper East vein clinic for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.