With over 30 years of experience, the doctors at Kapadia Hospital have often confronted with twisted medical cases. While the technicalities are well understood by doctors, it is important to understand from the doctors what factors can contribute to a certain problem. With some cajoling and a lot of running around behind them, we were finally able to find some time to talk to our doctors about the problem of varicose veins. Let’s have a look at 8 things every woman should know about varicose veins in order to not suffer from it.
- Heredity Is the Largest Risk Factor: While there are many factors that can increase your chance of getting varicose veins, genetics is numero uno (thanks, Mom), explains Dr. Rajan Modi, medical director of Kapadia Hospital, “It is by far a genetic problem with more than 70 to 80 percent of patients with varicose veins having a relative with varicose veins.” Other risk factors include obesity, incorrect postures, wearing high heels, aging, and pregnancy (that’s because you produce up to 50 percent more blood to support the fetus).
- Varicose Veins Don’t Just Pop Up in Your Legs: While varicose veins are most commonly seen in the legs due to the natural pressure of body weight and gravity, different forms of varicose veins can be seen in other parts of the body. Telangiectasias and venom lakes are common on the face and neck, while spider veins can be found on various parts of the body. Even hemorrhoids—enlarged veins around the anus—are a type of varicose vein. “All of these concerns are caused by pooling of blood in defective veins,” says Dr. Neeta Modi, Director Premier Laser Vein Clinic.
- Lifestyle Changes Can Slash Your Risk: There are many risk factors that are out of your control, but you can do your part to decrease your chance of varicose veins by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding prolonged periods of standing or sitting. Experts also recommend avoiding clothes that feel tight on your waist or upper thighs and wearing high heels for long periods, both of which can impact adequate circulation. So basically, you just got a pass to rock those yoga pants and Birkenstocks.
- Varicose Veins Can Be a Cosmetic Issue, a Health Issue, or Both: Though some might be bothered just by the appearance of varicose veins, others may actually feel discomfort. “The main symptoms of varicose veins are heaviness, aching, tightness, fatigue, tiredness, swelling and often itching, burning, numbness, cramping, and restless legs,” says Dr. Rajan Modi. Not all varicose veins require treatment, but you should definitely see a doctor if your veins have become swollen and tender, have created sores on your skin, are interfering with your daily activities, or if one begins to bleed. Left untreated and ignored over time, there can be marked skin changes in the legs and poor vascular health that can lead to non-healing ulcers or wounds and even blood clots.
- If You’ve Had One, You’re Likely to Have More: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. “Having a faulty vein in one location does put the patient at risk for developing venous disease in other location,” says Dr. Rajan Modi, “and venous regrowth is possible.” That’s right—while most treatments are effective at destroying a damaged vein, they can regrow.
Ready to get help for your varicose veins? Start by contacting your primary care physician, who may recommend you head to a phlebolist (vein specialist), a vascular surgeon, or a dermatologist, depending on the type of treatment you need. Also, be sure to check with your insurance to see which types of specialists or treatments they might cover. Oftentimes insurance may cover some forms of treatments if your veins cause pain.