Men Get Varicose Veins, Too
Sorry men, you can’t escape genetics. It’s a common misperception that only women get varicose veins, however, that’s not the case. While it is true that women are prone to more risk factors due to hormonal influences and childbearing, the most common indicator for developing varicose veins is heredity.
And while women tend to develop varicose veins more frequently, men tend to have more severe cases and more commonly experience complications as a result of untreated varicose veins.
Anyone can develop varicose veins, but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about half of all people who have varicose veins have a parent who has them too. If one of your parents has varicose veins, you’re 50% likely to as well. And if both your parents have varicose veins, that risk increases to about 80%.
Aside from genetics, additional risk factors for men include:
- Occupations that require long periods of standing or sitting
- Being overweight
- Sedentary lifestyle
In just the past week of appointments, 23% of the patients at East Tennessee Vein Clinic with varicose veins were men. This seems pretty typical.
Varicose—meaning enlarged or swollen—veins develop when the one-way valves in the superficial veins in the legs become damaged or weak. The valves in healthy leg veins keep the blood flowing continuously against gravity toward the heart. But when the valves become weak or damaged the blood is allowed to “reflux,” or flow back down and pool in the vein. Over time, this “reflux” can develop into the visibly twisted, bulging appearance of varicose veins.
Backward flow and high pressure within varicose veins cause an inflammatory response. And this causes the common symptoms of varicose veins.
However, these very symptoms such as pain, swelling, heaviness, or aching often occur long before varicose veins even become visible on the surface of the legs.
Unfortunately, the mere appearance of varicose veins isn’t always enough to nudge men to come in for a consult. Too many men wait until the pain and discomfort are negatively impacting their work and quality of life before they seek treatment, or they simply hope the condition will improve on its own. However, varicose veins are both chronic and progressive. They do not heal or go away on their own, and they usually slowly worsen with age. The sooner varicose veins are treated, the better.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available with little to no downtime, and insurance typically covers the procedures. Today’s advanced laser techniques that eliminate varicose are minimally invasive, in-office procedures that are typically completed in less than an hour.
Your best treatment option will depend on the severity of your condition, your preference, and desired results. The most important aspect men need to keep in mind that there’s no need to put up with the discomfort varicose veins are causing. Plus, failing to treat varicose veins can in some patients lead to more serious health complications such as discoloration or hardening of the skin, spontaneous bleeding, leg ulcers, or clotting.
If you are concerned about developing varicose veins, or are suffering from pain, swelling, or heaviness in your legs, it’s time to consult with the experts at East Tennessee Vein Clinic.
Dr. Douglass and the staff at East Tennessee Vein Clinic are solely dedicated to the treatment of varicose veins, and lead the region in experience and expertise of vein treatments. We treat veins differently than other clinics because of our comprehensive attention to treating the root cause and full extent of each patient’s vein disease.