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5 Varicose Vein Myths

Every health condition, whether serious or minor, is surrounded by myths most of them being old wives tales. There are several myths attached to varicose veins too. This article aims at dispelling some of these myths. Take a look.

1. It is prevalent in women than men

This is one of the most common myths associated with varicose veins. Almost equal numbers of men and women develop this venous disease. The reason why it appears to be more prevalent in women is because very few men seek treatment for this condition; they do so only when the condition worsens. Thus, many cases go unrecorded.

2. Standing continuously for long hours increases the risk of this venous disease

It is often stated that people whose jobs require them to stand for long periods display a higher tendency of developing spider veins. This statement is partially true. Prolonged standing does not cause this venous condition, it only accelerates damage. Varicose veins are caused by leg pump failure. This is a condition wherein blood flows from the heart to the leg via the arteries, but it does not flow back from the leg to the heart via the veins. The veins are composed of smaller one-way valves placed at intervals. A leg pump failure is the result of lost valves in the leg veins. A leg pump failure occurs not only in older individuals, but teenagers and children too. It is only that the damage becomes more visible as the person ages.

3. Pregnancy is one of the primary causes

Pregnancy is often looked upon as one of the causes for varicose veins because a vast majority of women developed this condition during the child bearing stage. They did not suffer this condition before they got pregnant. This myth is similar to the previous one. The valve problem is responsible for formation of unsightly, discolored veins during pregnancy. Only those women who have lost valves in their veins before they get pregnant develop this venous disease during pregnancy. There are two more reasons for this. During pregnancy, the body increases its production of blood thereby increasing blood pressure. Not only this, the surge in hormones allows the tissues to stretch more than their usual capacity making the veins more noticeable.

4. It is a cosmetic concern that can left untreated

Varicose veins start as a regular cosmetic issue. In its initial stages it does not cause much trouble besides its unsightly appearance and hence many leave it untreated. However, it is not a mere cosmetic issue; the problem lies skin deep. It is an indication of leg pump failure. If left untreated, it can cause a more serious venous problem called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).

5. Compression stockings cure varicose veins

Keeping the legs in an elevated position or wearing elastic compression stockings are often recommended as cures for this venous condition. They help reduce discomfort, but they do not cure varicose veins. Treatment options include minimally-invasive techniques such as sclerotherapy, litigation and stripping, ablation and stab avulsion.

Shankar N