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Four Common Myths About Varicose Veins

by April Maguire

By some estimates, more than 35% of adults in the United States suffer from varicose veins. These enlarged, unsightly veins typically affect the legs, but they can crop up on other parts of the body as well, leading to discoloration, pain, swelling and ridges rising up from beneath the surface of the skin. Despite the prevalence of the condition, there are many myths floating around about varicose veins, and here are four of the most common.

Varicose Veins are the Same as Spider Veins

Although spider veins do share some similarities to varicose veins – namely that both conditions feature discolored veins – they are entirely different issues. The term "spider veins" refers to smaller veins near the surface of the skin that have become dilated, and they are mostly a cosmetic problem. Varicose veins, on the other hand, reside deeper in the body and are typically much larger veins, which can lead to a number of different complications.

Exercise Causes Varicose Veins

Varicose veins form when the valves inside the veins break down, causing blood to flow backwards. Sometimes exercise can cause these valves to malfunction, but the risks of not exercising are far greater. Not only does exercising regularly help to stimulate blood flow in the moment, but it also improves circulation overall, helping to ensure that your veins continue to function at optimum efficiency.

Varicose Veins are Purely a Cosmetic Issue

Without question, varicose veins aren't pretty, but they're not only a cosmetic problem. Most sufferers report having irritation and pain in the area of the affected veins, and other common symptoms include itching, throbbing and swelling. In more advanced cases, varicose veins can cause dermatitis, unnaturally thick skin, and the affected veins are even more likely to develop blood clots, which could be potentially life threatening.

Only Surgery Can Treat Varicose Veins

Once varicose veins appear, there is no way to get rid of them that doesn't involve closing off circulation to the vein, but that doesn't mean surgery is the only option. In some cases, regularly wearing compression stockings can help to alleviate symptoms. And even if treatment is required, some of the modern options are far less invasive than traditional surgery. For example, foam can be injected into the affected veins, irritating the walls and closing them off. Alternatively, a doctor can also use a process called VenaSeal, which uses a glue-like adhesive to close off the veins.

If you're suffering from varicose veins, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. The new, less invasive methods work well for some patients, while other patients require more traditional laser or radiofrequency ablation. Ultimately, with all the options on the market, there is no reason to live with varicose veins if you don't want to.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about vein treatment, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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