(Meredith/CNN) – Varicose veins are often considered a cosmetic nuisance, but new research has shown they might be a warning sign of another health issue.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 25 percent of all Americans have varicose veins. They are generally caused by pregnancy or blood vessels weakening with age.
However, it’s now believed that if you have varicose veins, you may be at risk for Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT), a potentially deadly clot that forms deep within the body.
Doctors in Taiwan studied nearly 213,000 patients with varicose veins and those without varicose veins. They discovered that people with varicose veins are five times more likely to develop DVT.
They also have higher rates of clotting in the lungs and a narrowing of peripheral arteries.
More research is needed to know whether varicose veins cause the dangerous clots, or if they are just a symptom of it.