7 Most Common Misconceptions About Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are an extremely common issue that affects more than 40 million Americans. About 50% of people with varicose veins have a family history of varicose veins. Although 50 percent of varicose vein cases are hereditary, vein problems can be acquired.
Many people believe that varicose veins are just a cosmetic concern, but if left untreated the issue can lead to infections, bleeding, sores, thrombophlebitis, and deep vein thrombosis. There are lots of other myths about varicose veins people tend to believe. These include:
1. Varicose veins can occur only in women
Varicose veins are more common in women, but men can get exposed to this condition as well. Nearly 45 percent of all men will get varicose veins at some point in their lives. Since men are more prone to cardiovascular disease, varicose veins might indicate heart problems.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), stroke is the number five cause of death in the U.S. that leads to 129,000 deaths each year. Stroke is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the veins and starts to travel through the arteries. Men who have varicose veins and are prone to heart issues should visit a varicose vein specialist and cardiologist to get proper treatment.
2. Lifestyle changes won’t help in treating varicose veins
Lifestyle changes are a crucial part of varicose vein treatment. Since obesity can exacerbate varicose veins, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. Doing calf-strengthening exercise, elevating legs, and wearing compression stockings can improve varicose veins as well. Those who have cardiovascular conditions should follow their treatment and visit their health care providers on a regular basis.
3. Varicose veins are only a cosmetic concern
Many people still believe that varicose veins don’t cause any health issues. However, varicose veins can contribute to dangerous conditions like thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis. Thrombophlebitis is a condition in which a blood clot forms and blocks one or more veins, typically in legs. Deep vein thrombosis is another serious condition that’s characterized by the formation of blood clots deep inside the body.
Moreover, some people develop dull achiness, cramping, throbbing, and heaviness in their legs due to varicose veins. Nearly 10 percent of people with varicose veins experience skin discoloration, bleeding, and ulcer formation.
4. Varicose veins are always visible
Deep veins that are invisible can also be affected. This type of varicose veins is called deep vein thrombosis. It’s a more dangerous condition that might lead to a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening as blood clots in deep veins can block blood flow to your lungs and cause damage to your organs.
5. Varicose veins are curable
Unfortunately, varicose veins are incurable but they can be well managed. There are effective treatments that can help, but in some cases, varicose veins can appear again. Self-care is a major part of treatment for varicose veins that includes maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, elevating legs, and wearing compression stockings.
More severe varicose veins require additional treatments such as sclerotherapy, laser treatment, catheter-assisted procedures using radiofrequency or laser energy, phlebectomy, or endoscopic vein surgery.
6. Varicose veins always indicate aging
Not every person develops varicose veins with age, but aging can definitely exacerbate the problem. Since varicose veins are incurable, they get worse with time, and the aging process can accelerate their progression. The most common cause of varicose veins is heredity. Hormone changes and pregnancy can also increase the risk of varicose veins.
7. Running can contribute to varicose veins
Running is beneficial for your vein health. Any exercise is good for blood circulation and can be an excellent way to prevent vein issues. However, those who have untreated varicose veins and practice running on a regular basis should wear compression stockings to avoid blood pooling in the lower legs.