It seems as though there are still plenty of lingering myths about varicose veins, even after debunking myths such as many of the home remedies as “False” if not disgusting. Here are some of the most pervasive myths you’ve probably heard at one time or another about varicose veins.
#1 Crossing your legs will pinch your veins, causing varicose veins. While prolonged crossing of legs may increase pressure, this does not automatically cause varicose veins. Weakening of the venous walls makes it harder to pump blood back up to the heart, causing the blood to pool in the vein’s “soft spots.” So if you have varicose veins and keep your legs crossed and cramped, you may impede circulation and worsen preexisting veins; however, crossing your legs won’t be the cause of them.
#2 Wearing high heels will give you varicose veins. Similar to the myth of crossing your legs, this long-standing myth should be kicked to the curb. While standing for prolonged periods of time with pressure focused on the balls of your feet can lead to swelling, leg swelling in and of itself is not what creates varicose veins.
#3 High stress will always give you varicose veins. “Causes” is the problematic word here. There is a correlation between stress, which can lead to high blood pressure, and varicose veins, if the venous walls are already compromised and will be weakened by the pounding of elevated blood pressure. But a short deadline or a final exam or a trying experience will not actually cause a sudden appearance of varicose veins.
#4 DVT causes varicose veins. Let’s flip this around a bit. DVT (deep-vein thrombosis) is a blood clot deep in a vein, usually a leg. These become dangerous if the clot breaks loose and moves throughout the body—in the lung, for example, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism. Usually, blood clots form when the venous walls have already been weakened, and when the valves in the vein don’t work properly and can’t pump blood sufficiently back to the heart.
#5 Everyone gets varicose veins when they get older. As you age, your tissues change, and it is easier for parts of your body—especially your thin veins—to weaken. The process really depends on the individual body’s rate of degeneration, as well as a propensity for weakened veins, exacerbated by a number of factors, including weight and mobility.
#6 All pregnant women get varicose veins. Never believe the labels “all,” “every,” “always,” “none,” and “never.” Each expectant mother is different, and individual women may have entirely different experiences with multiple pregnancies, especially depending on age, weight, and overall health.
#7 Yoga cures varicose veins. There is no actual cure for varicose veins. You can treat and remove individual veins, but you cannot prevent the future occurrence of varicose veins. That being said, staying fit can greatly reduce the likelihood and severity of varicose veins. However, while yoga can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, not all yoga exercises are effective in preventing the development of varicose veins, and prolonged poses that put pressure on the abdomen, which can cut off the vena cava, can make existing varicose veins worse.
#8 There’s nothing you can do about varicose veins since they’re hereditary. Sure, while you can’t prevent varicose veins, you can help prevent factors that increase the likelihood of their appearance (and their severity). As with yoga and exercise, staying healthy and active stimulates circulation, which improves the blood flow throughout the body, keeping the blood from pooling in those weakened veins. Also, a lot can get in the way of the blood that has to travel through weakened veins; this is where anything that can impede circulation will have an additional negative affect on varicose veins. Carrying a lot of abdominal weight makes it hard to get that blood through the vena cava, that main vein to the heart, and leg veins then have to do a lot more work, which is difficult when they’ve already been compromised.
#9 You can easily see all your varicose veins. Not all varicose veins are visible; this really depends on your body structure. Some are deeply embedded in the legs, for example. An indication of hidden varicose veins might be a prolonged heaviness in the legs, constant swelling, and continuous pain.
#10 You don’t have to treat varicose veins unless they bother you. If you see varicose veins but they don’t hurt, that doesn’t mean you have zero risks for a medical emergency. Treatment is simple and can be done in-office with sclerotherapy, a short and simple procedure that injects the chemical sclerosant directly into a varicose vein in order to damage the inside lining of the vein. The subsequent scarring causes the vein to close, and eventually, the vein will dissolve and be absorbed back into the bodily tissue. If you see or suspect you might have varicose veins, it’s worth getting treatment early, especially since there is a risk of blood clots forming. Remember, varicose veins are a medical issue!
For more information on sclerotherapy or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 760-944-9263 or visit us at www.sdveininstitute.com.