Are Varicose Veins Dangerous? 5 Myths + Facts to Know

woman with varicose veins on her leg

Table of Contents

  • What Causes Varicose Veins? 
  • Varicose Veins Myths 
  • Varicose Veins Facts 
  • Fact or Myth? Consult a Vein Specialist 
  • Types of Varicose Vein Treatments
  • Find the Best Vein Specialists Near You 

Varicose veins are a very common ailment. If you don’t suffer from them yourself, you probably know someone who does. Often, they are simply a cosmetic issue, but sometimes they can lead to painful complications

Varicose veins are enlarged,  bluish-purple veins that bulge out from the skin’s surface. They are most commonly seen in the legs. They may be painful and cause an itching, burning, tingling sensation in the surrounding tissue. In rare cases, they can lead to severe bruising and ulcers. 

If you wonder whether varicose veins are dangerous,  the answer is “not usually.” But if you develop enlarged blue veins, you should have them checked out by a vein specialist. They can determine the severity of your varicose veins and whether treatment is necessary.

What Causes Varicose Veins? 

Varicose veins are caused by a failure of the valves in the veins. These valves are one-way doors that prevent blood from flowing backward and stop blood pooling in the veins. These valves keep the blood moving in a single direction toward the heart. When the valves don’t do their job effectively, gravity pulls the blood back down the veins. The blood builds up in the veins of the legs. This buildup of blood causes the veins to inflate and bulge out of the skin. The valve failure may be due to genetic weakness. Parents often pass along the tendency to their children. But not all people who develop varicose veins have a family history of the ailment. 

There are many myths about varicose veins’ causes and side effects, many of which are not true. Here are a few debunked myths about varicose veins

Varicose Veins Myths 

  1. Women are not the only people who get varicose veins. Although they are much more common in women, men can also suffer from varicose veins. 
  2. Not all varicose veins can be treated at home. While it is true that there are many things you can do at home to alleviate the pain and swelling associated with varicose veins, some will need medical treatment to prevent complications. 
  3. Surgery is not the only treatment for all varicose veins. There are many options available to treat varicose veins that do not require surgery. 
  4. Varicose veins don’t necessarily come back after treatment. There is little or no chance of varicose veins reappearing with most treatments. Other varicose veins can develop over time. 
  5. Varicose veins are not just found in older people. It is true that as you age, your chances of developing varicose veins increases, but they can show up in people as young as their late teens. 

Here are some verified facts about varicose veins.

Varicose Veins Facts 

  • You can take steps to minimize varicose veins’ appearance and side effects. These include putting your feet up, wearing gradient compression stockings, sticking to a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • It is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from varicose veins. 
  • Insurance will cover many treatments for varicose veins. 
  • New technology and techniques make the treatment of varicose veins easier and safer. 
  • Some activities and habits increase your chances of developing varicose veins. These include prolonged sitting or standing, being overweight, smoking, and insufficient exercise.

Fact or Myth? Consult a Vein Specialist 

Everybody seems to have an opinion or idea about dealing with varicose veins. If you have developed swollen blue veins in your legs and are worried, they may be dangerous, set up a consultation with a vein specialist to get the facts. 

In most cases, treatment for your varicose veins begins with a consultation in which a doctor will examine your veins. It may be best to go to the consultation with a list of questions you want answered. This will help ensure you get the information you need to make the right decision about your course of treatment.

In many cases, no medical treatment is needed, and the office will send you home with a list of exercises and best practices to reduce the swelling and appearance of your varicose veins. For others, treatment may be necessary to alleviate other symptoms like tingling or pain. In rare cases, you may need immediate treatment to prevent dangerous complications like ulcers or blood clots. 

Types of Varicose Vein Treatments

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) – uses the heat of a laser to seal off the veins.
  • Microfoam Injection – a form of sclerotherapy, in this case, a foam is introduced to the vein to both manually seal it off and chemically damage the vein’s walls.
  • Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) – uses the heat of radio waves to seal the veins.
  • Phlebectomy – this is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Small cuts are made in the skin, and the veins are drawn out through them.
  • Endovenous Mechanochemical Ablation (MOCA) – in this treatment, a catheter is fed into the vein, where it spins to damage the walls of the vein while spraying a sclerosant. The damage allows the liquid to penetrate deeper into the walls of the veins. This procedure is effective on large and thick varicose veins. 
  • Cyanoacrylate – this is a medical adhesive. It is placed into the vein through a catheter and glues the vein’s walls together, sealing it off completely.

Regardless of which treatment path you follow, it all starts with contacting a nearby vein specialist to get the process started. 

Find the Best Vein Specialists Near You 

If you have developed varicose veins, find a vein specialist near you to answer your questions and suggest a treatment plan. Thankfully, there is a place you can go to find the proper vein care close to home, My Vein Treatment. 

MyVeinTreatment.com has a great deal of information about varicose veins, from how to recognize them to how to avoid or reduce them. My Vein Treatment also provides information about the many treatment options available. Here you will also find our unique Find a Vein Specialist tool

With Find a Vein Specialist, all you need to do is enter your zip code, and a list of vein specialists near you pops up. These listings include doctors’ names, specialties, and all the information you need to contact the office to set up a consultation. 

Find a vein specialist