If you suffer from having varicose veins, then you likely know that they are not rare, as perhaps many of your family members and friends have them as well. In the United States alone, roughly 3 million new cases of this condition are diagnosed each year, with ages of affected individuals ranging from merely 14 years to 60 plus. While benign, there is unfortunately not a cure for varicose veins, but there are a lot of myths and falsities that have abounded about them over the years. For your peace-of-mind, we have reviewed 5 of the top ones below.
Myth: Only Women Can Get Varicose Veins
While certainly more common to the female sex, varicose veins are not exclusive to women. On average, about 25% of women have or will have varicose veins in their lifetime. The percentage is a bit lower for men, ranging from 10% to 15%. Overall, genetics is the biggest determining factor in whether or not a man or woman will acquire this condition.
Myth: Exercise is Bad for Varicose Veins
Contrary to popular belief, physical activity is not bad for varicose veins. As this condition is a result of weakening valves (i.e., circulation issue), it is only natural that maintaining a good exercise routine would be beneficial. Exercise, especially aerobic activity (walking, running) and lower body exercises, greatly enhance and strengthen the circulatory system in the lower extremities, thus proving as beneficial for anyone suffering from the presence of varicose veins.
Myth: Varicose Veins are Only a Cosmetic Issue
Often, primary care physicians will advise their patients with varicose veins that they are simply a cosmetic issue and nothing else. This, however, is not always the case, as most people with this condition will eventually develop more bothersome and sometimes worrisome symptoms, such as aching, cramping, leg swelling, skin itchiness, and even serious blood clots.
Myth: Lifestyle Changes Have No Effect
The majority, if not all, health conditions are radically improved and even rectified by lifestyle modification. Why would varicose veins be any different? Surprisingly, most people who are troubled with varicose veins experience significant improvement in their condition through weight loss, increased physical activity, regular leg elevation, and the use of compression stockings for circulation enhancement.
Myth: Treatment is Expensive, Painful, and a Big Time Commitment
The thought of treatment for any condition is certainly cringe-worthy, but this is truly not the case when it comes to varicose veins. For the majority of cases, treatment is virtually painless. With today’s technology, through the use of sclerotherapy and laser therapy, both non-invasive options, you can be out of the doctor’s office and back to your daily routine within 30 minutes or less. Better yet, as varicose veins are not merely cosmetic, these procedures are typically covered by most insurance carriers.
Ranging in nature from mild to severe, varicose veins can serve as both a cosmetic concern and a more painful and uncomfortable condition. The good news is that with proper care and medical attention, they usually do not lead to more severe health complications. Even better, if necessary, treatment is virtually painless, as indicated above, and many of the false truths that have arisen about them throughout time are simply misconceptions.