Dr. Tonie Reincke’s Top Varicose Vein Myths
The blue blood vessels in your legs called varicose veins are often unsightly, but that is as far as many people think about it. They don’t realize that varicose veins can be damaging to the skin or that they might eventually lead to blood clots. The interesting thing about varicose veins is that they affect almost one in four adults. Almost 22 million women have varicose veins and 11 million men have them when they are between the ages of 40 and 80.
The leg veins have the challenge of pushing the blood against gravity up to your heart to receive more blood. They prevent the blood from flowing back down to your feet through small flaps which are called valves. This prevents the blood from pooling or sitting too long in your legs. The umping of your muscles in your legs also help push the blood back to your heart.
However, when the valves weaken, your blood pools which creates more pressure on your veins. The increased pressure causes your body to react. The veins begin to widen and thicken to compensate for the increased pressure.
There are a number of myths centered in varicose veins that this article will address. However, if you have any questions about varicose veins or you are concerned, speak with your local vein doc.
Myth 1: Varicose Veins Are a Sign of Aging that Can’t Be Avoided
Varicose veins get worse as you age but they are not something everyone gets. It is degenerative though, so if you have them, it will get worse as you get older. However, young people can get them too. It might even be hereditary.
Hormone levels can also affect the risk factor for varicose veins. It can be made worse by all the chaotic hormone levels when women are pregnant.
Myth 3: Varicose Veins are a Woman’s Problem
Varicose veins affect men as well as women. Though it is more prominent in women, it still affects 10-15% of men.
Myth 3: Varicose Veins Are Just A Cosmetic Issue
Varicose veins can be a serious sign that something is wrong. Many people think it is only a cosmetic issue because their primary care physician doesn’t recognize that varicose veins could also lead to more serious complications.
A significant portion of people with varicose veins develop more serious symptoms. They include achiness, throbbing, cramping, and leg swelling. It can also damage the skin and cause severe itchiness or dryness of the skin.
However, one of the more serious issues that varicose veins might lead to is deep vein thrombosis. People who have varicose veins are more at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis which is a blood clot that forms in the leg. If it breaks off and travels to the lungs, it could lead to a pulmonary embolism, which has a high mortality rate.
What Should You Do If You Have Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can be treated by a professional vein doc like those at Metro Vein Centers. The doctors there are specialists that focus on vein and artery health. They treat varicose veins and spider veins by using technology that doesn’t require a long recovery time.
They use radiofrequency ablation which uses radio waves to treat the varicose veins at the root. It only takes an hour for the entire procedure and it requires minimal recovery time. They also use endovenous laser ablation to get to the bottom of the varicose veins and the underlying causes. This also only takes an hour and is often covered by insurance.
Dr. Tonie Reincke is one of the board-certified Interventional Radiologists that works at the Metro Vein Centers.