Varicose Vein Treatments in Lakewood Ranch and Venice, Florida

Varicose Vein Myths Quashed

According to data from the American College of Phlebology, more than 30 million Americans suffer from some form of venous disorder. With so much of the population affected, it’s a subject on many minds, and it’s no surprise that there’s misinformation out there.

Dr. Lackey and his expert staff serve patients in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Venice, Wellen Park, Sebring, Florida, and beyond. In nearly twenty years, we’ve encountered our fair share of misconceptions about varicose veins. The internet has given patients more access than ever before to information about their health. Unfortunately, that information isn’t always accurate, and it’s increasingly hard to distinguish what is helpful from what is harmful. Today, we’re going to dispel a few of the most common varicose vein myths heard by Florida Lakes Vein Center.

Myth #1: Varicose veins are “just” a cosmetic issue

There’s no denying that varicose veins are unsightly. They twist and  bulge, which can make it embarrassing to wear shorts or dresses that reveal your legs. They can disrupt the Florida lifestyle and decrease your quality of life. Appearance is a major reason people seek treatment for varicose veins but it shouldn’t be your only reason.

Ignoring damaged veins can mean serious repercussions for your health. Mild symptoms of varicose veins include throbbing, aching, tiredness, heaviness, burning, itching, swelling or pain in your legs or ankles. If left untreated, these symptoms can worsen. Patients with advanced varicose veins can develop skin changes, severe pain and aching, chronic inflammation, muscle cramps, bleeding, ulceration, phlebitis and other conditions that interfere with their daily life. The risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) — a potentially life-threatening blood clot — is also increased in patients with untreated chronic venous insufficiency.

Myth #2: Varicose veins only affect seniors

Although the risk of developing varicose veins does increase as you get older, anyone of any age can get them. Patients in their early 20s visit Florida Lakes Vein Center weekly with varicose veins, and they can be just as unsightly and painful in younger people as they are in the older population.

Age is just one of many factors that play a role in your chances of developing venous issues at some point in your life. Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins due to pregnancies and hormonal fluctuations. Individuals with a family history of venous disease are also more likely to get them. Other risk factors include smoking, standing or sitting too long over years (teachers, bus drivers, hairstylists, etc.) leg injury or surgery. However, even if you don’t have any of these “risk factors,” anyone can still develop venous insufficiency (AKA varicose veins).

Myth #3: Only a sedentary lifestyle gives you varicose veins 

Every list of risk factors for varicose veins mentions “a sedentary lifestyle.” Prolonged periods of sitting put excessive pressure on parts of your body and make it harder for blood to flow through your leg veins. Exercise, on the other hand, promotes better blood circulation, lowers blood pressure and helps you maintain a healthy weight — all things that contribute to reducing your risk for varicose veins or easing the symptoms of existing varicose veins.

But sedentary people aren’t the only ones who are at risk. Athletes and people who are frequently on their feet can also develop varicose veins. Prolonged standing and some forms of exercise can also increase venous pressure in the legs and feet. Over time, this pressure can weaken the vein walls. If you spend a significant amount of time standing or sitting, make an effort to move at regular intervals.

Myth #3: Varicose vein treatments involve downtime

The latest advancements in vein treatments require little to no downtime. Gone are the archaic days of vein stripping which required hospitalization, general anesthesia, and multiple weeks for recovery.  At Florida Lakes Vein Center, we only offer minimally-invasive treatments that can be done in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia. These options are safer and more comfortable than surgery, and allow patients to return to normal activity immediately. Dr. Lackey’s preferred nonsurgical varicose vein treatments are Varithena (foamed polidocanol) and VenaSeal (medical adhesive), and our patients drive themselves home to immediately return to their daily activities.

Myth #4: Pregnancy varicose veins will go away

Pregnancy is a well-known risk factor for varicose veins. In fact, population studies have shown that only 12 percent of women who have varicose veins have never been pregnant! During pregnancy, the total amount of fluid in the body increases, which can cause swelling in the legs and ankles. In addition, increased levels of hormones in the body can weaken vein walls and cause veins to dilate among other things. The combination of these factors creates ideal circumstances for varicose veins to appear.

For some women, varicose veins will go away after delivery. For others, vein problems that occur during pregnancy persist postpartum or increase the future risk of developing varicose veins.

Myth #5: Natural cures can get rid of varicose veins

The latest wellness trends have inspired health-conscious individuals to seek out natural remedies for a lot of ailments, including varicose veins. Claims about the benefits of these kinds of treatments should be evaluated with a critical eye. While it’s possible that some are indeed beneficial, scientific support for natural treatments is often lacking. A vitamin supplement isn’t going to cure venous insufficiency.

Research for natural varicose vein treatments reveals a range of things from vitamins to dietary changes. Will they work? The answer is yes and no. Things like exercising regularly, elevating your legs, losing weight, and wearing compression garments can help alleviate some of the symptoms of varicose veins, but these avenues will not treat the underlying disease. Professionally-administered medical treatments are the only reliable and effective way to treat varicose veins.

Schedule a free vein screening today! Dr. Lackey and his team are the leading vein specialists in Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice, and North Port, Sebring, Florida areas. Since founding Florida Lakes Vein Center in 2007, Dr. Lackey has helped tens of thousands of patients find minimally-invasive solutions for their vein problems.