Venous issues are very common, affecting over 80 million people. One such issue is varicose veins, a condition where veins become dark in color and often protrude or bulge from the skin.
Varicose veins can impact both health and quality of life, but due to a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding the condition, many people are reluctant to seek treatment. Here are a few of these most common myths.
MYTH #1 – Varicose Veins are Only a Cosmetic Issue
Many people assume that varicose veins are never anything more than a simple cosmetic issue and cannot affect health. This is false—varicose veins are caused by unhealthy valves inside your veins, often deep down under the skin where they can’t be seen. If untreated, they’ll lead to pain, fatigue, itching, burning, swelling and several other health- and comfort-related problems.
MYTH #2 – Varicose Veins are a Sign of Aging
Some people see varicose veins as a sign of aging, but this isn’t the case. Varicose veins can affect people of all ages—they only tend to become more noticeable later in life because of the progression of the disease over time, and in reality, they often begin earlier in life.
MYTH #3 – Varicose Veins are the Result of Too Much Exercise
Not only is this myth false, its exact opposite is often true. Physical exercise is great for the veins because it promotes circulation—a process that’s also impacted by the muscle around the vein, which grow stronger when you exercise them.
MYTH #4 – Spider Veins and Varicose Veins are the Same
Many simply assume that varicose veins and spider veins are the same thing, but this is false. Spider veins can be considered a type of varicose vein, but they’re different—spider veins are smaller, thinner and closer to the surface of the skin. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are larger and occur deeper under the skin in most cases. Some people will develop both at the same time, which is often what leads to the confusion.
MYTH #5 – Varicose Veins Only Affect Women
Men can get varicose veins too. In fact, up to 45 percent of men could be affected by vein disease of some kind.
MYTH #6 – Varicose Vein Treatment Requires Surgery and Long Recovery
Treatments for varicose veins are simple, non-invasive and do not require sedation. Downtime is minimal to non-existent, and most people can resume normal activities the same day.
MYTH # 7 – Varicose Veins Just Come Back After Treatment
Using radiofrequency ablation, success rates for closing varicose veins permanently is in the high 95-percent range.
MYTH #8 – Treatment Isn’t That Important
Varicose veins left untreated can lead to skin discoloration issues and, in some extreme cases, ulcers.
If you’re dealing with varicose veins that are painful, uncomfortable or even just unsightly, speak to your doctor. He or she can evaluate your condition and discuss treatment options with you.
“Vein Myths Debunked.” Vein Clinics of America. https://www.veinclinics.com/vein-myths-debunked/#_ftn5
“Top 7 Myths About Varicose Veins.” The Vein Institute. http://www.farewellveins.com/blog/2015/06/23/top-7-myths-about-varicose-veins/