Are you exploring varicose vein treatment for men? We know people always say that men make the worst patients. And, as it turns out, that may actually be true!
Here’s the story. Statistics show that men are less likely than women to seek treatment for what they consider ‘minor health issues.’ Unfortunately, many people think of varicose veins as a simple cosmetic problem. So men are unlikely to seek medical attention for these bulging veins.
But this thinking is a problem. Because varicose veins aren’t just ugly: they can be a sign of more serious medical conditions like chronic venous disease (CVD). For that reason, you can’t dismiss vein-related health issues. In fact, if they’re left untreated, those veins can actually cause life-threatening health complications.
Varicose Veins are not a Gender Issue
Varicose veins affect men and women of all ages. Now, while older individuals have a higher risk, they can develop at any age. And that happens when blood pools in the veins of your lower extremities, causing them to stretch out. Over time, they stop returning to their normal size, leaving them swollen, bumpy and visible through your skin.
Aside from age, risk factors for varicose veins in men include family history, standing in one spot for too long, and a sedentary lifestyle. Early on, varicose veins may be irritating at worst. Then, as your disease progresses, the veins can become so swollen that their valves no longer meet close completely. Which is a big problem, since that allows blood to flow in the wrong direction. (We call that reflux.)
As we mentioned before, varicose veins are more common in seniors. (That’s due to the loss of tissue and muscle mass and weakening of venous walls that naturally occurs with age.) But they can strike at any age, and are very common in men. In fact, approximately 45 percent of men will have varicose veins at some point in their life.
The likelihood of developing varicose veins is higher if you have a family history of vein-related health issues. Standing for long periods during the day and sitting for too long also increases the risk of varicose veins.
Worried you’ve got a problem? Symptoms of chronic venous disease include heaviness, pain, cramps, and swelling in the legs. On their own, or together, they can keep you from your daily activities.
Health Risks of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are often the first sign of a serious, progressive condition called venous disease. Varicose veins can progress to cause swelling in the legs and hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) in the ankle area, caused by blood pooling in the veins. When this occurs, it is not unusual to develop painful, debilitating ulcers in the skin above the ankles on the inside of the leg.
Varicose veins also put you at risk for blood clots, ulcers, and other painful and dangerous conditions. When blood pools in the legs as a result of varicose veins, it can easily develop into phlebitis, a superficial but painful blood clot that is not usually life threatening. However, if left untreated, phlebitis can worsen and grow into deep veins, where pieces of the clot may break off and move through the blood stream. Traveling bits of blood clots may become lodged in the lungs and cause a life-threatening blockage called a pulmonary embolism.
While a greater percentage of women get varicose veins than men, men often develop more severe cases. This is largely because men frequently ignore the signs of vein problems until they experience significant discomfort, while women are more likely to seek treatment before dangerous complications have a chance to arise.
Varicose Vein Treatment for Men (and Women)
Varicose veins are usually easy to treat, especially if we catch them early.
For minor cases, wearing compression socks is often enough to keep blood from pooling in the veins and keep it moving back to the heart. Exercise regularly to improve blood flow. And think about limiting your salt intake. Remember, men who notice signs of varicose veins should consult a doctor right away. So they can choose simple treatments like switching to a different type of socks.
In more severe cases of varicose veins, it may be necessary to have veins treated with lasers in a process called radiofrequency laser ablation (RFA). In this quick outpatient procedure, energy is applied through a laser fiber inserted into the vein to collapse and seal it shut, which causes blood to be diverted into healthy veins nearby instead. The procedure is generally painless and takes about thirty minutes. Afterward you can return to work and resume normal activities almost immediately.
Want to hear even better news? Research from the Journal of Vascular Surgery proves that, after two years, RFA offers similar results to surgeries that remove varicose veins. Even better? with RFA, you don’t have to worry about hospital stays or extended recovery time. While you will have to follow our specialists’ post procedure instructions, you should be able to return to your daily activities almost immediately.
So listen up guys: if you suspect you may have varicose veins or venous disease, contact Texas Endovascular today to schedule an appointment. Don’t push off a consult: if you wait until your varicose veins progress, you may find yourself dealing with a more serious, potentially life-threatening condition.