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Vein Myths Debunked

December 6, 2016

According to the American College of Phlebology, over 80 million people suffer from venous disease, highlighting how vein concerns – and pain – are common issues in the United States. Unfortunately, people can be reluctant to seek treatment because of the misinformation that surrounds vein disease.  Vein disease is a serious medical condition which is often detrimental to one’s health if left untreated, causing extreme discomfort and leading to further health issues.

To help set the record straight, we gathered some of the most common myths about vein disease and debunked them with the help of Vein Clinics of America’s National Medical Director, Dr. Satish Vayuvegula, MD, FACPh. Knowing the truth about vein disease is crucial to one’s overall health and the first step in treating possible symptoms.

Myth: Varicose veins don’t harm my health, it’s only a cosmetic issue.

Fact: Varicose veins are a serious health issue that need to be addressed and treated properly for positive long-term health. Varicose veins are enlarged, often ropey veins that appear blue or red. Varicose veins are caused by unhealthy valves inside the veins and often occur deeper under the skin where they are unseen. The longer varicose veins are untreated, the more likely you’ll experience pain, fatigue, itching, burning, swelling, cramping, restlessness and throbbing in areas where there are varicose veins.[1]

Myth: Vein disease is a sign of aging.

Fact: Vein disease affects people of all ages. According to Dr. Vayuvegula, genetics, the number of pregnancies you’ve had or your occupation are a few factors that affect vein disease. It usually starts early in life, but tends to become more noticeable with age because of the progression of the disease.[2]

Myth: Varicose veins result from exercising too much.

Fact: On the contrary, exercise can be good for your veins because it improves blood circulation throughout your legs and the rest of your body. The muscles that surround the veins help tremendously with blood circulation, which is why strengthening your muscles through exercise should be a priority.[3] Dr. Vayuvegula recommends taking short walks if you are sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time to help with circulation.

Myth: Spider veins are the same thing as varicose veins.

Fact: Spider veins and varicose veins happen at different surface levels in the skin. Spider veins are tiny, thin veins that are close to the skin’s surface. Varicose veins are ropelike and bulging and happen deep under the skin. Both conditions are caused by valves breaking and blood going in the wrong direction, spider veins just happen in smaller branches.[4] Many people who suffer from vein disease often suffer from a combination of both spider and varicose veins causing many to think that these issues are the same.

Myth: Vein disease only affects women.

Fact: As many as 45 percent of men could be affected by vein disease.[5] More than half of women in the U.S. will develop vein disease over their lifetime, but many people are surprised to learn that a significant number of men are also affected by venous disease.[6] They run the risk of developing the same symptoms that women have for untreated vein disease.

If you are concerned about vein disease, be sure to double check information and seek reputable sources so your health is not inadvertently at risk.  Proactively reach out to professionals and seek consultations to catch vein disease early on and avoid health concerns in the future.

 

[1] Conditions and Treatment. Retrieved from http://www.phlebology.org/patient-information/conditions-treatments

[2] Causes. Retrieved from http://www.phlebology.org/patient-information/conditions-treatments/causes

[3] Causes. Retrieved from http://www.phlebology.org/patient-information/conditions-treatments/causes

[4] Byrg, Robert J. (2016, June 6). Treatments for Spider and Varicose Veins. Retrieved from http://www.onhealth.com/content/1/varicose_vein_treatment

[5] Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency. Retrieved from http://www.sirweb.org/news/newsPDF/facts/Varicose_Veins_fact_sheet.pdf

[6] Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency. Retrieved from http://www.sirweb.org/news/newsPDF/facts/Varicose_Veins_fact_sheet.pdf

 

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