How many people do you think have varicose veins? It is estimated that by 60 years of age up to 60% of women have some form of varicosities. Only in the United States, nearly 80 million people suffer from venous disease of the lower extremities. Even though varicose veins are very common, a lot of people don’t know too much about them. Did you know…
1. Varicose veins are not much different from spider veins
Varicose and spider veins are caused by the same condition, often referred to as “chronic venous hypertension”. It means, that they represent the branches of an abnormal, also called “incompetent” vein responsible for their formation. While the varicose veins develop from the branches of first degree, the spider veins are distended terminal branches, or “venous capillaries”. The difference between varicosities and spider veins is only their diameter.
2. Not all enlarged veins are varicose veins
The prominent veins often noticeable on the back of our hands are not varicose veins. When the veins are filled with the blood under high pressure, they stretch across, becoming wider, and along, becoming longer. That is why varicosities are not only wide, but also are torturous, and that is why prominent but straight veins are normal.
3. Varicose veins are common in the legs
Varicose veins are exceptionally rare on other than legs parts of the body. The reason for that is erect posture of human beings. It is very easy for blood to get from the heart to the legs due to forces of gravity and contractions of the heart. Getting from our lower limbs all the way up to the heart is very different. Multiple pathological conditions affecting veins of our legs lead to pressure build up in these veins and, therefore, formation of varicosities. Interestingly, that laboratory animals placed in semi-vertical position, quickly develop varicosities of their rear limbs.
4. Varicose veins aren’t just for the elderly
Old age is not a diagnosis and is never, therefore, responsible for any of disease by itself, including varicosities of the lower extremities. The varicose veins are caused by a condition called “chronic venous hypertension”. It develops due to genetic predisposition combined with so-called “acquired risk factors”. Some of them are prolonged standing or habitual heavy lifting, increased body weight or height, chronic constipations, multiple pregnancies, trauma or surgery of the pelvis and lower abdomen and many others. The age, however, does contribute to certain diseases, but not chronological age (number of years lived), but rather so-called “physiological age” (multisystem health status reflecting overall well-being).
5. Compression stockings are not for treatment
Compression stockings for varicose veins are as good as a pair of crutches for a broken leg: they do not treat, but merely allow to get by until definitive, or permanent, treatment takes place. There is wide variety of non-invasive or minimally invasive (done through a needle) procedures, performed in the office, under local anesthesia, quick, effective, painless, with no incision, no preparation and no restrictions. Most importantly, all such procedures are perfectly safe and their results are permanent.