Elderly adults have a higher than average risk of developing varicose veins. These unsightly purple patches range from mild to serious, and they are common in seniors because of their sluggish circulation and lower activity levels. Family caregivers may be tempted to ignore varicose veins as something that is inevitable in seniors but leaving them untreated can lead to other major health issues.
Varicose veins appear as thickened and enlarged veins just under the surface of the skin. They are usually purple or dark blue and may cause stiffness, itchiness or pain for the elderly adult. The good news is that varicose veins can be treated with a variety of methods, from regular exercise and wearing compression socks to sitting with the feet elevated and even surgery for serious cases. However, if varicose veins are left untreated in elderly adults, it can lead to a number of health conditions.
Here are just a few of the dangerous conditions that seniors may face if they don’t seek medical care:
Because there is a lot of pooled blood in and around varicose veins, it pushes them closer to the skin’s surface. Even small abrasions can lead to blood loss and the open wound is a gateway for germs to enter the body.
A venous ulcer is a sin sore that opens up to reveal the tissue underneath. They heal very slowly, if at all, without treatment. Over time, venous ulcers grow larger and more likely to become infected.
This condition describes the hardening or stiffening of leg tissues. The elderly person may complain of tenderness and pain in the area and the condition may limit movement and flexibility.
When the veins become inflamed, it can cause irritation and tenderness, plus swelling and pain. The vein walls grow even weaker and blood flow decreases even more. Superficial thrombophlebitis affects the veins close to the surface of the skin.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
When veins deep within the body are affected by varicose veins, it is known as deep vein thrombosis. Not only will the aging adult feel pain in the legs, they will notice redness, swelling and tingling. Blood clots are common with this condition. In extreme cases, the blood clot can break free from the legs and make its way elsewhere in the body.
If family members or elder care aides notice varicose veins developing anywhere on the elderly adult’s body, they should arrange for medical care immediately. With treatment supervised by a doctor, it’s possible to prevent the condition from worsening. Remedies include regular exercise and stretching, elevating the feet when sitting, compression stockings and losing weight. In severe cases, the elderly person may need surgery. Because treatments all depend on the condition, elderly adults with varicose veins should always be seen by a doctor.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Manalapan, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.