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Common Myths about Varicose Veins

Common Myths about Varicose Veins

Posted on July 22, 2013 by Dr. Stephen Rivard


There are many common misconceptions or myths about varicose and spider veins. The reasons for many of these misconceptions stem from a number of factors including antiquated treatments as well as a lack of specialization. However, with recent advancements in technology over the last decade and the adoption of the newest medical Board Speciality (Phlebology-2008), the truth behind many of these common myths have come to light. 

This article focuses on many of those common myths about varicose and spider veins and truth behind them. They are not listed in order of popularity and are not meant to be exclusive, but rather contain the more common or frequently told:

  • Myth #1: Varicose veins are purely cosmetic and do not need to be treated. This is probably one of the most common myths told by many doctors.  Not only is this untrue, it's just bad advice to give when considering the potential side effects of leaving your varicose or spider veins untreated. Although it is commonly told that if your veins cause you no pain then you do not need to seek medical attention, this is not sound advice. Unfortunately, if you do have an underlying issue of venous insufficiency or venous hypertension (varicose veins) the pain resulting from this real disease can progressively increase resulting in more serious damage to your body. Some of these include: skin damage, venous ulcers, even things like congestive heart failure or hypoxia at the tissue level.  If continued to be left untreated the vein values and connective tissue surrounding them will eventually die, then the real pain will occur. With proper treatment these symptoms can be reversed.

  • Myth #2: Men are Not at risk for developing varicose veins. Most men often think that varicose veins are problem's that women suffer from, particularly when compression stockings get involved.  Men tend to work through the pain and never seek professional advice as varicose veins are really not a big deal. However, according to a study by the American Heart Association, vein disease affects nearly 40% of men by age 60, and the symptoms of veins disease, like discoloration, large bulging veins and skin ulcers, manifest regardless of gender. In fact, for men with sports related injuries that require surgery, treating your varicose veins may very well increase the success of your recovery by delivering proper blood flow to the injured area.

  • Myth #3: Varicose Veins are a sign of aging and really only occur in older adults. Actually, the most common factor for determining whether you will develop varicose veins is due to heredity. If one parent has varicose veins you have about a 40% chance of developing them yourself. However, if both parents have them you are almost guaranteed to have them at some point in you life, potentially even as young as 10 years of age.  Although varicose veins can frequently occur when you are older as a result of normal wear and tear, this is not necessarily a result of old age.  Alternatively, if you suffer early on from venous insufficiency by the time the disease has manifested into large bulging veins it most often results in more significant damage and pain to the body, which certainly can be perceived as the result of old age. The best advice is to be guided by symptoms not age.

  • Myth #4: Women are better off waiting until they have finished having all their children before treating their varicose and spider veins. Historically, this proved true as a result of inadequate and painful treatment methods such as vein stripping which frequently led to recurrence.  Modern advancements in technology, however, have not only led to safer procedures, but has significantly reduced the recurrence rate to less than 2% by treating varicose veins at their source. In actuality, obstetrics should recommend that their patients seek evaluation from a Board certified Phlebologist prior to getting pregnant which would actually prevent a lot of the unnecessary symptoms associated with vein disease. 

  • Myth #5: Vein Treatments are too expensive to consider. This myth is often followed by Myth #1, as cosmetic procedures are generally not covered by insurance and thus are paid out of pocket. However, because vein disease is real disease most of the cost is covered by insurance.   



At Illinois Vein Specialists, we understand that seeking proper care is just as important to you as it is for us.  That is why we focus only on treating varicose and spider veins and provide the most advanced and effective treatments available today.  We treat patients from Buffalo Grove, Cary, Elgin, Algonquin, Palatine, Vernon Hills, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Lake Zurich, Fox River Grove, Mundelein, Grayslake, Wauconda, Glenview, Northbrook, Chicago, and all areas of Barrington, Illinois. 

We understand that when you choose a doctor you want to go to someone you know, like and trust, and honestly so do we. We know that patients come to us most often from satisfied patient referrals, but we encourage you to do your own homework and ask around. In the end no matter where you live or who you decide to have treat your varicose or spider veins find someone who focuses only on diagnosing and treating varicose and spider veins -- find a Board Certified Venous and Lymphatic Doctor.



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Tagged Varicose Vein Treatment, varicose veins, Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins, venous hypertension, vascular insufficiency, vein stripping, venous insufficiency, Prevention of Vein Disease, common myths of varicose veins


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