Varicose veins are those little blue lines that can appear on people’s legs as they get older. Approximately 23% of American adults have them. Oftentimes, they are just seen as a cosmetic change. A new study has shown, though, that there might be something more insidious with these veins. It finds that there is an association between varicose veins and an increased risk of blood clots.

The study published in Circulation details how researchers found that the risk of blood clots was quintupled for those who have varicose veins. Scientists looked at a group of 425,000 people, half of whom have varicose veins. They found that people who had the veins were 5.3 times more likely to have blood clots.

This study did not prove that the veins cause blood clots. That will be up to future studies to investigate. It does show an association and that should be taken into consideration when planning the care routines of those who have varicose veins. It also shows that varicose veins might need to be taken more seriously as a health issue. Watch for our upcoming article on knowing the signs of blood clots.

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Shyue-Luen Chang, M.D., phlebologist, department of dermatology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan; Maja Zaric, M.D., interventional cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Feb. 27, 2018, Journal of the American Medical Association Circulation.

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