It may seem a bit strange for a guy to write about varicose veins.
Though I did recently find out that men, as well as women, can get them too. But when a Connecticut cardiologist asked me to help promote a varicose vein screening he was conducting it was the first time that I ever heard that varicose veins were potentially dangerous for your health.
After all, like many people I simply assumed that treating varicose veins was simply a cosmetic procedure.
Turns out I was wrong.
Why varicose veins can be dangerous
Did you know that varicose veins affect nearly 40 million Americans?
And though you probably know what they look like — blue, bulging and at times unsightly veins typically occurring on your legs, what you may not know is that they pose a potential health hazard for you or someone you love.
The fact is that varicose veins put you at greater risk for blood clots or stroke.
And since varicose veins tend to form as you age you can see how treating them is not simply a cosmetic procedure, one simply to make you feel better about your appearance (not that there’s anything wrong with feeling better about the way you look).
Aside from age, other risk factors for developing varicose veins are:
- sitting a lot
- lack of movement or physical exercise
- your age
- pregnancy (some women get varicose veins because of hormones due to pregnancy)
And that means men can get them, too.
Additionally, varicose veins are also sometimes the first stage of a more serious, progressive condition. In some cases varicose veins are a warning sign and the first stage of edema, or swelling of your legs.
Treatment options for varicose veins
When it comes to treatment options it can be as simple as wearing compression stockings. These stockings essentially squeeze your legs (gently) in order to promote better blood flow and circulation.
For many people this takes care of the problem. However, some people do require surgery.
There is good news?
Gone are the days of painful surgeries that required your veins to be “stripped” in an operating room (ouch!). Like other areas of medical technology you can now benefit from less invasive, and less painful surgical options. Now surgical procedures for varicose veins rely on laser or radio-frequency treatments which can be done in a doctor’s office using a local anesthetic.
And since these newer procedures are less invasive your “downtime” is less drastic as well.
In fact, people are advised to be up and on their feet walking around (about once per hour) just 48 hours after having a procedure. You will most likely need to wear a compression stocking after having surgery as well.
If you live in Connecticut and would like to schedule a free vein screening, click the link or contact Dr. Jack Hauser of HeartCare Associates, a New Haven cardiology clinic for more information regarding varicose veins and possible treatment options.