Varicose veins are raised, large, swollen blood vessels that twist and can be seen through the skin. Varicose veins are a common condition, with three million new cases every year in the United States and around 25 percent of adults affected. Despite their commonality, many people are unfamiliar with how problematic they can be, what causes them, and who gets them. In this blog, we will go over some myths that surround varicose veins, and set the record straight.
MYTH: Varicose veins are just a cosmetic problem
People are often under the impression that varicose veins are only a cosmetic problem, and therefore, don’t require medical intervention. While not everyone will experience other symptoms, there is a significant number of patients who develop them. Symptoms include cramping, heaviness, achiness, swelling, and achiness in the legs. You may also experience dry and itchy skin near the varicose veins. Varicose veins also put you at risk for forming deep vein thrombosis. Less common symptoms include skin discoloration and thickening, ulcers, and bleeding. Any skin damage from varicose veins is permanent. Therefore, if you have varicose veins, it is important that you talk to your doctor about vein treatment.
MYTH: Varicose veins are inevitable
Some people are under the impression that everyone gets varicose veins as they age, and that only older people get varicose veins. However, while aging makes varicose veins worse, not everyone will get them. Additionally, younger people can get varicose veins. The main cause of varicose veins is genetics, so if you have a family member with varicose veins, it is more likely that you will develop them. Additionally, hormonal factors such as pregnancy and birth control pills can worsen varicose veins. They have nothing to do with age.
MYTH: Only women get varicose veins
Varicose veins are more common in females; however, men can also get them. About 25 percent of women deal with varicose veins, while around 10 percent of men do. Men should not feel dissuaded from coming into our vein clinic for treatment because they think of varicose veins as “a woman’s issue.” It is a health problem that both men and women need to address with a medical professional.
MYTH: Varicose veins are caused by running too much
There is a perception that running causes varicose veins. In reality, exercise is a positive thing for your veins because it gets your circulation going. When you walk or run, it makes your calf muscle pump more blood. If you have varicose veins and you are a runner, it is to your advantage to wear compression stockings to prevent your blood from pooling. Additionally, after you run, it is wise to elevate your legs.
MYTH: Varicose veins can always be seen
While you may notice varicose veins right under the skin, they also occur deeper in the body where they cannot be seen. It just depends on how your legs are composed. For example, if there is fatty tissue between your skin and muscle, you may not be able to see varicose veins underneath. Surface varicose veins are only one part of the picture.
MYTH: Varicose veins are caused by standing all day
Some people believe that if you have a job that requires you to stand all day, you are more likely to develop varicose veins, but this is not necessarily true. While people who stand all day, such as flight attendants, may be more bothered by their varicose veins, standing for a long time has not been proven to cause varicose veins. Symptoms are just more apparent if you are standing.
MYTH: There’s no point in making lifestyle changes
If you have varicose veins, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to ease your symptoms. For example, obesity makes varicose veins worse; if you are obese, losing weight can help reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. Additionally, becoming more active can help you with your varicose veins because it improves your circulation. Other steps you can take to relieve the symptoms of varicose veins include wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, and strengthening your calves.
MYTH: You need surgery to treat varicose veins
In the past, the only treatment option for varicose veins was stripping, a surgery that removed veins from the body. Now, you have many minimally invasive treatment options, such as endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency thermal ablation, both of which we offer at Center for Advanced Vein Care. These types of treatments address varicose veins but do not require much down time, allowing you to get back to your life as soon as possible.
MYTH: Varicose veins are curable
Unfortunately, varicose veins are not curable. They are treatable, but they may reappear after your treatment. Fortunately, treatment for varicose veins is effective at easing your symptoms and diminishing their appearance, so it is worth investing in treatment. Just be aware that they may reappear after some time.
At Center for Advanced Vein Care, we are focused on providing you with the varicose vein treatment you need to ease your symptoms and get back to your normal life. Contact us for vein treatment in Mentor, OH today.