Millions of people suffer from varicose veins, but they can manifest and present themselves differently from person to person. While some people may find discomfort with varicose veins, others only deal with aesthetic irregularities. In both regards, varicose veins pose a dangerous threat to your health. What many people don’t realize is that varicose veins are caused from a medical condition called venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is when your vein is damaged or weakened and the valves aren’t working properly, which can cause a myriad of health problems and lead to deep vein thrombosis. Most people who have serious varicose veins will also experience some sort of accompanying leg pain, swelling, aching, a feeling of heaviness or throbbing in the legs, itching, redness, overall fatigue, or worse. However, it’s important to understand that there are a lot of expectations when it comes to varicose veins—many of which aren’t true.
One expectation is that you won’t get varicose veins if you’re a man. While women experience varicose veins at a higher rate than men, men can and do still get them. The underlying health problems are the same for both men and women, so don’t hesitate to see a certified vein specialist if you notice any signs or symptoms of varicose veins.
Another expectation is that varicose veins won’t develop as long as you don’t cross your legs too often. This stems from the belief that crossing your legs will worsen blood flow and that will lead to the development of varicose veins. While varicose veins are caused by poor circulation, the act of crossing your legs isn’t going to cause veins to start bulging out left and right. Prolonged sitting in general should be avoided, especially if you have other risk factors, but crossing your legs often does not necessarily mean you’ll develop varicose veins.
Finally, one of the most important expectations about varicose veins is that you will always, 100% see them when you have them and if you can’t see any bulging veins, you don’t have a problem. This isn’t true. Some varicose veins are deeper in your skin and can’t be seen. These are just as dangerous, so you need to be aware of and watch out for any of the warning signs we mentioned above. To help reduce your likelihood of developing varicose veins, stay active and see your doctor regularly. If you notice any signs or symptoms of varicose veins, get them treated as soon as possible by a board-certified vein specialist like the ones at Illinois Vein Specialists.