Varicose Vein Thrombosis Risk Increases Dramatically with Older Age

August 24, 2020

The health risk to older adults posed by vein thrombosis can be significant. Although there may be many contributing factors, the risk due to age increases dramatically each year once a person is in their sixties.

A thrombosis is the formation of an obstructive clot in an artery or vein. In veins they often develop suddenly and can have serious consequences if they cause an embolism, a blockage in a blood vessel. A vein thrombosis that forms deep inside muscle tissue is particularly challenging. If this deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a portion of it breaks off and travels through the bloodstream, it can cause a pulmonary embolism impeding the normal function of the lungs.

vascular surgeon treats thrombosis in senior patient at high risk

Several studies in recent years have focused on the correlation between age and the occurrence of vein thrombosis. The reasons for the increase in thrombosis risk with age are not definitively known but may be related to an increased presence of other illnesses predisposing to thrombosis, an increase in coagulation, or a combination of both.

One extensive study showed that nearly 70% of all patients diagnosed with venous thrombosis were over 60 and nearly 25% were over 80 years old [1]. Another research study showed the risk for vein thrombosis was 13 times greater in subjects older than the age of 85 over those aged 45–55[2].

Yet another study showed a steady increase in risk, with incidence climbing 0.5-1.0% per year for each year over the age of 70 [3]. Clearly, age becomes a huge factor for thrombosis risk in later years.

Genetic factors can increase risk by impacting the blood’s coagulant properties. Thrombosis can also be triggered by surgery, pregnancy, immobility, and traumatic injury. Then there are acquired risk factors such as age, diet, obesity, frailty, hormonal treatments, cancer, and varicose veins.

elderly adults seniors on beach south florida varicose vein patients

It is best to address the factors that can be treated through changes in lifestyle and behavior, such as diet and activity, especially when approaching the higher risk ages. Another preventative factor is the treatment of varicose veins. One study revealed a 60% increase in DVT risk by subjects with varicose veins over the age of 70 [4].

The symptoms of varicose veins are typically leg pain, leg cramping, and the appearance of twisted, bulging veins against the skin surface. The following are some symptoms that may indicate the presence of a DVT. If you have any of these symptoms, especially if they appear suddenly, you should immediately contact a vascular surgeon.

  • Swelling of the leg
  • Pain in the leg, ankle, foot, or arm
  • Warm or hot skin on either leg
  • Red or discolored skin on a leg
  • Veins that are visibly swollen, red, hard, or tender to the touch

The treatment of varicose veins has advanced significantly in recent years. Most treatments are minimally invasive procedures, with a quick recovery. While the relief from leg pain and diminished function should be enough to induce a patient to be treated, the reduced risk of DVT and other health complications make varicose vein treatment essential for older adults.

For the treatment of DVT, varicose veins, and other vascular incidents, it is best to be treated by a professional well-versed in all possible treatments. A board-certified vascular surgeon has spent years of additional study in their specialty and is committed to the exclusive study of vascular problems and remedies. They are most qualified to offer all possible remedies and address unforeseen complications should they arise.

Many patients in Florida and beyond have discovered and engaged the services of Dr. Christopher Boyes of Coastal Vein and Vascular Specialists in Palm Beach Gardens. Dr. Boyes is a 5-star reviewed, board-certified vascular surgeon renowned for his expertise in resolving vascular complications.

dr christoper boyes board certified vascular surgeon palm beach florida

Coastal Vein and Vascular Specialists treat patients for varicose veins, arterial disease, aneurysms, carotid artery disease, stroke prevention, kidney dialysis access, and other vascular specialties. Expert second opinions are also available if you have been previously diagnosed.

Please contact the office online today if you have any vascular concerns or call 561-295-4110 to schedule an appointment.


  1. Venous thrombosis in the elderly
  2. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Venous Thrombosis
  3. Clinical features of venous insufficiency and the risk of venous thrombosis in older people
  4. Venous insufficiency symptoms predict thrombosis in older patients