There are a lot of myths about vein disease out there, often causing confusion about the disease. Renowned vein expert Dr. Thomas Wright hears a lot of vein disease myths at his treatment center in St. Louis and wants to set the record straight. Click on one of the vein disease myths below for the facts.
Fact: Varicose vein disease can affect people at any age. Some people in their late teens and early 20s have varicose veins. Heredity is an important factor in vein disease, so families with vein disease may begin experiencing symptoms at early ages. Factors that also affect veins are gender, pregnancy hormones, weight, physical trauma, and standing for long periods with no relief.
Fact: Women do have experience higher incidences of vein disease. This is attributable to female hormones affecting vein walls, especially during pregnancy. But many men experience vein disease — as many as 25% of men experience venous reflux.
Fact: The truth is that spider veins are not the same as varicose vein disease. Their cause, appearance and medical implications are very different. Varicose veins are ropey, thickened veins that have twisted due to incompetence of inner valves. Spider veins on the other hand are visible dilated blood vessels just below the skin’s surface, typically showing on the face, neck, chest and legs.
Fact: Varicose veins are a medical issue. Vein disease is frequently painful and interferes with enjoyment of life and work. Veins can swell and hurt, burn or itch. Legs may also feel very heavy.If not treated, vein disease progresses to conditions including eczema, pigmentation, skin ulcerations and bleeding, and leaves patients at risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism.
Fact: Vein ablation as a varicose vein treatment is proven to be safe, effective and relatively pain-free, with patients experiencing just minimal discomfort after the procedure. Recovery is very quick. It is an outpatient or in-office procedure that is completed in under an hour. Patients walk out and resume normal activities the same or following day. There is no need for general anesthesia with vein treatments, and its associated long recovery. There are a few incisions that are tiny and they heal rapidly.
Fact:External lasers can be used to treat spider veins for cosmetic purposes, but cannot treat and cure the cause of varicose vein disease. Endovenous ablation has been shown to offer 98 percent success at one month follow-up and 93.4 percent at two-year follow-up.
Fact: Vein ablation patients are less likely to suffer short-term bruising or the long-term scarring compared to surgical ligation and stripping or other invasive varicose vein treatments.
Fact: Treating the cause of varicose vein disease can entail closing off the faulty vein. There are many veins in the leg. After treatment, the blood in the faulty veins will be diverted to healthy veins in order to make its way back to the heart. Circulatory problems are not a result.
Dr. Wright’s vein treatment results are undeniable, check out his before and after pictures.
I wear a lot of tight compression shorts and bike shorts when I exercise (running, biking, etc.). Could these choices lead to varicose veins later in life?
With rare exception, the answer is “NO.” In the past, our misunderstanding regarding the cause of varicose veins emphasized mechanical causes, such as the weight of a baby during pregnancy and tight fitting clothes. We now understand that the causes are most strongly genetic (hereditary) and the female hormones which allow increased flexibility of vein size.Unfortunately, the particular past neglect of venous attention created a sort of void which became available for many myths to form. Currently, our goal is not only better treatment, but also education to correct the many myths that remain popular.
Does wearing high heels result in spider veins around the ankles?
We do recommend to patients to try and minimize the amount or duration of wearing high heels whenever possible. Although high heels do not specifically lead to spider veins at the ankles, their chronic use can lead to overall vein problems. The reason is that high heels minimize the full range of motion of the foot and ankle when walking, and therefore decrease the amount of blood flow by what is called the “muscle pump” of the calf. This can lead to an increase in venous pooling in the limbs, and eventually to vein problems.
One of my knee high hose has a run in the foot up into the lower ankle. Can wearing this be dangerous? My doctor advised to wear the hose for fluid retention. If it is not safe, can I wear just one leg until my new hose arrives tomorrow?
No it is not dangerous to wear just one hose, or wear one with a run in it. Use kitchen gloves or latex gloves to put them on as this will allow you to pull the hose away from the skin of the leg rather than poking your fingernail through the hose.
Dr Wright and the staff at Laser Lipo and Vein Center are the BEST! I have had leg vein problems for years and have been to numerous doctors all over the St Louis area. Was still not happy with the results I had achieved with these other doctors. When I found the flyer/coupon for Laser Lipo and Vein Center I thought why not try one more. From my first visit to my last I am so pleased with the results! The staff and Dr Wright were knowledgeable, informative, and very caring about the procedures that were to be done which were basically painless! Besides my co-pymts my insurance covered it all! I would recommend him to all who are in need of the services they provide!