7 Facts About Varicose Veins

Health Writer
View as:|
1 of 7

Varicose veins are common

Varicose veins become more common as you get older. By the age of 50, half of people have varicose veins. Women are affected more often than men, with 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men developing this vein condition.

Spider veins are not the same

Spider veins are small areas of your veins where your blood pools. They are not raised and are called spider veins because of their appearance. They can appear on different areas of your body, including your face. Spider veins are not usually a serious health problem, although you might notice itching or burning in the affected area.

Varicose veins are most often in your legs

Because of gravity your legs have the most difficult task of sending blood back to your heart. The pressure of your body weight and gravity can cause the valves to not work properly and make your blood to flow backwards. Being overweight puts additional pressure on your legs and is a risk factor for developing varicose veins.

Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic matter

Some people never have any problems as a result of their varicose veins. Others have aching, throbbing, cramping or other discomfort in their legs. They can also lead to additional medical problems, such as sores, skin ulcers, blood clots and swelling.

Varicose veins are hereditary

About 80 percent of all cases of varicose veins are found in people who have a family history of varicose veins. If you have varicose veins, there is a 40 percent chance your child will develop them. If you and your partner both have varicose veins, there is a 90 percent chance your children will also have them.

Some lifestyle changes can relieve discomfort

Losing weight, elevating your legs and exercise can help relieve the pain and discomfort that sometimes comes with varicose veins. Moving around rather than sitting or standing for long periods of time can also help. If medical testing shows you have poor blood flow, your doctor might recommend compression stockings.

There are treatments for varicose veins

Most of the time, varicose veins do not cause any medical problems. However, in some cases, treatment is necessary, including:

  • Endothermal ablation – Heat is used to seal the affected veins.
  • Sclerotherapy – A special foam is used to close the vein.
  • Phleboectomy – The vein is removed.