There are many varicose vein myths out in the wild of the internet, so we’re here to clear things up with hard facts! We’ll tackle the five most common myths you should be aware of:
- They’re only visually displeasing
- Young people don’t get them
- Men don’t get varicose veins
- There’s no way to prevent varicose veins anyway
- Surgery is the only treatment
Let’s nail them in turn!
Varicose Vein Myths #1: It’s Just a Cosmetic Issue
This is the most common of the varicose vein myths – that they’re simply unattractive. While varicose veins may not be life-threatening, they can become much more than a cosmetic issue.
If you experience the following, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a vein specialist near you:
- Heavy, achy tired legs
- Restless Leg
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Red, inflamed, dry, itchy skin around the affected vein(s)
Varicose Vein Myths #2 I’m Too Young to Get Varicose Veins
As we age, yes, our veins become weaker, and the probability of varicose veins increases. However, while they’re probably more common in adults over 50, it’s not surprising to have people in their 20s and 30s getting varicose veins.
With varicose veins having a heritability factor of ~17%, we can safely say that family history is one of the main causes for developing varicose veins, no matter your age.
Want some proof? Researchers from the University of Oxford analyzed and compared data from over 810,000 individuals (~135,500 with varicose veins and ~675,000 without), and brought additional evidence supporting genetics as one of the main culprits!
In addition, there are other factors you should also watch out for – whatever your age – such as:
- Extra weight – we’ll be talking more about this in the New Year.
- Sedentary lifestyle – hard to alter in the winter months, but not healthy for your veins!
- A job that demands you stand for long hours.
- Hormonal medication (such as birth control pills).
- Hormonal changes at any age.
- Skin trauma caused by previous surgeries or injuries.
- Pregnancy – many times, varicose veins develop during pregnancy.
So, no! It’s a varicose vein myth that you’re too young. Take care of your veins!
Varicose Vein Myths #3 I’m a Man So They Can’t Be Varicose Veins: It’s a Lie!
The truth? Varicose veins can affect both men and women. While women do have an increased risk (because of hormonal changes and pregnancy), and men are half as likely to get varicose veins, nevertheless 45% of men develop varicose veins at some point in their life.
Men might not have the same hormonal changes in their bodies as women, but having a family history of varicose veins, aging, and unhealthy habits can catch up on you!
You might also want to consider the type of sport you’re taking part in. Some types may be putting a strain on your veins. Keep an eye on them.
Varicose Vein Myths #4 There’s Nothing I Can Do to Prevent Them Anyway
To be truthful, this is one of the varicose vein myths that’s a semi-myth – meaning it’s sometimes true. If varicose veins run in your family and/or you’re a woman, you’re more prone to developing them than other people.
On the other hand, while there’s not much you can do about those factors, there are still things you can do to reduce your risks, such as
- exercising regularly,
- maintaining a healthy weight for you,
- avoiding long periods of standing or sitting, and
- wearing compression socks or stockings when travelling if you can’t move around very often.
We’ve been stressing this over and over, but these simple tips can make a world of difference for preventing varicose veins from forming and/or worsening!
Varicose Vein Myths #5 Only Surgery Can Treat Varicose Veins
This is definitely a varicose vein myth – and one that can put you off consulting with a vein doctor.
Surgery can be scary, and we understand that not many people will choose it when it’s not absolutely needed.
But surgery’s not the only solution.
There are many other treatments available that are minimally invasive, including VenaSeal, ultrasound guided medical sclerotherapy, or laser treatment such as Endovenous Laser Ablation of the Saphenous Vein (ELAS).
And while we’re challenging these varicose veins myths today, let’s quickly review the many benefits of opting for non-surgical treatments over surgical ones:
- It’s minimally invasive.
- Treatments are simple outpatient procedures.
- They’re painless.
- You have a fast recovery time.
- There’s minimal to no scarring.
- Most insurances cover the procedure if you meet criteria.
So Don’t Let Varicose Vein Myths Stand in the Way of Your Health!
Varicose vein myths can float around in your mind till you believe them. Unfortunately, they can also prevent you from seeking medical care in time.
For example, if you’re young and/or a man, you might think varicose veins won’t happen to you. And when you do have them, you might believe they’re no big deal and cosmetically unimportant.
But varicose veins don’t go away on their own. Whoever you are!
Leaving them untreated for long can be a big risk and there’s a 10% chance of them developing into more serious health problems.
We’re not out to scare you. It’s simply good to be aware of possible (albeit rare) developments of varicose veins. So let’s quickly run through what you’re aiming to avoid:
- Superficial thrombophlebitis (characterized by blood clots and vein inflammation, as well as red, tender, and inflamed skin around the diseased vein)
- Spontaneous bleeding (weak varicose veins can easily cause bruises or even bleeding)
- Statis dermatitis (the skin around the affected veins resembles eczema and is red, inflamed, and itchy)
- Venous leg ulcer (the pressure in the veins causes the skin around to break down)
- Lipodermatosclerosis (due to venous insufficiency, the skin of the lower legs becomes thicker and discolored; symptoms include pain, itching, swelling, and redness of the entire area surrounding the affected vein)
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots forming deep inside veins are potentially dangerous because if they break free from the veins, they can go to your lungs and cause pulmonary embolism).
In general, varicose veins are not critical to your health, but they can still cause discomfort and have the potential to lead to more serious health problems, as briefly outlined.
However, hopefully, we’ve debunked some varicose vein myths and encouraged you to consult with a vein specialist if you’re at all concerned about your veins!
We’ve Got Your Back!
At Denver Vein, we offer a variety of non-surgical treatments for your veins. Whether for health or purely cosmetic reasons, our team can answer any questions or concerns and create a personalized treatment plan for you. Contact us today!