November 9, 2022

4 Misconceptions About Varicose Veins

Fitness, General, Healthy Living, Leg / Vein Health

Venous disease affects more than 40 million Americans, including half of U.S. citizens over the age of 50. Venous disease is diagnosed when the one-way valves that allow blood flow to the heart fail to function or are damaged in some way.

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that occur in the legs. They’re usually dark blue in color and can form near or above the surface of the skin. Keep reading to discover several misconceptions about varicose veins.

  • They’re just a cosmetic issue.

Varicose veins are usually considered unattractive, but these problems go far deeper than purely cosmetic. They can be painful and worsen over time by causing swelling in the legs and feet, a sense of fatigue or restlessness in the leg muscles and throbbing and cramping at night. The skin around the veins may also itch and burn.

  • Only women get them.

According to Men’s Health, as many as 56% of men suffer from varicose veins. Genetics play a large role in who develops varicose veins, but vein genetics target both genders.

  • Treatment is painful.

A first line of treatment for varicose veins is a pair of prescription-strength compression socks. After a thorough consultation with one of our vein experts, we offer three additional treatment options: endovenous vein therapy, ambulatory phlebectomy and sclerotherapy.

Our treatments leave minimal scarring and are sometimes performed under local anesthesia, allowing patients to go home the same day. In most instances, you’ll be back to normal activity the following day.

  • Exercise makes them worse.

Getting adequate exercise each day helps your calf muscles pump more blood to your heart, which increases your blood circulation and helps your veins. The Surgeon General recommends getting 10,000 steps a day to maintain a healthy weight and to build bone and muscle mass.

If you’ve already had treatment for varicose veins, wear compression socks during exercise to prevent blood from pooling in your legs.

Visit the MercyOne Iowa Heart Vein Center to learn more about our treatment options and to schedule a consultation.  

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