Varicose veins are easily recognized. These are purple and enlarged veins that can appear in your legs. You may be unclear about exactly what causes them. You may also have heard some misinformation about varicose veins.
Arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to the body, and veins return the blood to the heart to repeat the process. As the blood travels farther from the heart, it slows down. Veins have small valves to keep the blood from backing up. When these valves don’t function well, the blood can pool in the veins and stretch the vein walls. Varicose veins can be the result of this.
There’s a lot of anecdotal advice out there about how to deal with varicose veins. You may have been told to put your legs up, but that can be hard for busy people. You may have been told to wear compression stockings, which can be hard to put on and not very attractive.
Why not get professional help instead? In the meantime, be sure you aren’t falling for these 10 myths about varicose veins.
10 Myths About Varicose Veins
Learn to recognize these myths about varicose veins. If you’re armed with the truth, you’ll be better prepared to deal with any vein-related issues.
Myth #1: Everyone gets varicose veins when they get older.
The valves in the veins typically weaken as you age, and most older adults have an enlarged vein or two. Some have a higher risk of developing varicose veins, but many people never have veins that are enlarged enough to cause symptoms. No matter what your age, if you have varicose veins, you do not have to accept them as a natural part of aging.
Myth #2: Others in my family have varicose veins, so I’m sure to get them.
Some people may inherit genetic risk factors associated with varicose veins, but developing them because older relatives have them is not a certainty. Your vein specialist can tell you more about why you have them, as well as explaining your treatment options for varicose veins in the legs.
Myth #3: It’s hard to know what is going on inside a person’s veins.
Once that might have been true, but today doctors have several ways to judge how well your veins are working. During a medical appointment, your doctor or vein specialist will check your legs as you sit and stand. You may get a duplex ultrasound, a non-invasive test that can show how the blood moves through your veins.
Myth #4: My varicose veins are caused by something I’ve done.
Certain circumstances may make varicose veins more likely, but don’t “cause” them. You may have been told that crossing your legs or wearing tight clothing causes varicose veins. You should avoid anything that cuts off circulation to your legs, but these practices don’t cause varicose veins.
If your job involves standing around for long periods, it’s not something you want to do as much as it’s required of you. It may increase your risk of developing varicose veins or make them worse if you already have one or two. Try marching in place or doing other movements that use the leg muscles, and your blood won’t be as likely to pool in your legs.
Myth #5: I have varicose veins because I’m overweight.
Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle are associated with varicose veins — but many active people of normal weight have vein issues, too.
It’s always a good idea to maintain a healthy weight. You may avoid exercise because you’re worried about putting stress on your veins or because you don’t want to expose unsightly veins. Your vein specialist can answer all your questions about your condition and may help you achieve a more active, healthier lifestyle.
Myth #6: Pregnancy causes permanent varicose veins.
Pregnancy puts a burden on veins because the volume of blood in the body goes up quite a lot. That extra fluid can put a strain on the blood vessels.
Many women find that their distended veins gradually return to normal when they are no longer pregnant. Others find that they still have some enlarged veins. Some women choose to wait until they can no longer carry a child before seeking vein treatment in their legs, but that isn’t always necessary. Your vein specialist can advise you about your particular case.
Myth #7: Varicose veins look ugly, but aren’t a health problem.
Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic flaw and can cause troubling symptoms. The most common symptom of varicose veins is leg discomfort or pain. Usually, discomfort comes in the form of heavy and aching legs, but some experiencecramping or burning sensations.
Are varicose veins dangerous? Certainly, varicose vein pain can affect your quality of life. Varicose veins can sometimes lead to more serious problems. You could be at risk for blood clots or inflammation of the veins. Such complications are rare — but if you develop sharp pain in the legs, discolored patches of skin, or slow-healing ulcers, be sure to see a vein specialist.
Myth #8: Treatment of varicose veins isn’t covered by insurance.
Since varicose veins can be a health problem, your insurance may cover its treatment. Insurance should cover an initial consultation with your doctor or a vein specialist. After that visit, you’ll have a better idea of whether you might need treatment, what that treatment could look like, and how much it might cost.
Myth #9: Varicose veins are hard to fix.
Not long ago, varicose veins were treated surgically. Today there are several minimally invasive and even non-invasive options for getting rid of your varicose veins. Most procedures can be done in an office setting under local anesthesia. Also, the recovery time should be short.
Myth #10: Varicose veins often come back after treatment.
Varicose veins are currently treated by closing off the problem vein so that the blood is routed through healthier veins. There are several techniques for closing off the problem veins. These veins will not open up again, so they cannot “come back.” In some cases, a different vein may swell and cause problems. In many cases, problem veins never recur.
Find Expert Help for Varicose Veins
Perhaps you still have questions about your varicose veins. My Vein Treatment can help. Our locator tool can help you find a vein specialist who can advise you about your particular situation. You’ll learn about the latest treatment for varicose veins in the legs and how you can be free of varicose vein pain.