There are many varicose veins myths and misconceptions when it comes to varicose veins. The internet is full of homemade remedies and other questionable science for preventing varicose veins. Here at the Northern Illinois Vein Clinic, we want to debunk some of these varicose Vein myths and point you in the direction of proven research.
Common Varicose Vein Myths
1. Varicose veins are caused by the way you sit.
This is a varicose vein myth. Rather, varicose veins can be caused by the amount of time you spend sitting, how much weight you gain and other factors like pregnancy and age. Crossing or uncrossing your legs won’t really make an impact. The best thing to do is to stay active and take regular breaks when you are sitting for long periods. Both men and women can get them too.
2. Varicose veins are ugly but harmless.
There is also a Varicose vein myth stating that they produce a wide range of symptoms ranging from discomfort, tiredness and aching to more severe pain. If left untreated, they can also cause open sores and bleed as the skin around them thins, in addition to the formation of blood clots. In fact, according to the 2018 study by the Journal Jama, people suffering from varicose veins are 5.3 times more likely to get a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) than people without varicose veins. DVT is a serious and sometimes life-threatening medical condition when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually your legs.
3. Avoid exercise.
While exercise might be more difficult if you have large varicose veins already, the truth is that it is one of the most beneficial things you can do. It actually keeps the muscles around your veins healthy and ensures that the blood isn’t allowed to pool in one spot. Exercise and proper hydration can play a major role in preventing varicose veins in the first place. Obesity is a primary cause of varicose veins, and losing weight can drastically reduce the risk of them developing.
4. Varicose veins can’t be treated.
There are many treatment options available for varicose veins. While most natural remedies do not work, there are several surgical and non-invasive procedures available, including endovenous laser ablation, which is minimally invasive and won’t leave a scar. It is impossible to say that they can be 100 percent removed or prevented in the future, but early treatment will minimize the damage and pain associated with the condition.
5. Varicose veins and spider veins are the same.
For some people, spider veins can be a precursor to varicose veins, but they are very different conditions. Spider veins are small, red and blue webs that appear just beneath the skin, and are usually only cosmetic. A varicose vein becomes swollen and the actual vein tissue hardens up as the blood pools in the area.
Image: Sinart Creative