What are varicose veins?
The term varicose comes from the Latin word "varix," meaning swollen or knotted.
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red or flesh-colored. They often look like cords and appear swollen, twisted, and bulging above the surface of the skin. Many people have varicose veins that don't show on the skin surface; rather, they experience some of the numerous other physical symptoms.
Who is at risk for varicose veins?
According to the American College of Phlebology, where much of the cutting-edge research on vein disease originates, it is estimated that over 80 million Americans suffer from varicose veins and associated venous insufficiency.
The biggest risk factor is heredity (genetically weak veins) even if there are no known family members with vein disease. Studies have shown that patients are 90 percent likely to have varicose veins if both parents have the condition, and 20 percent likely if neither parent has the disease.
Other risk factors include:
- Advancing age
- Decreased level of activity
- Occupations that require standing for prolonged periods of time, such as nurses, hair stylists, teachers, and factory workers
- Hormonal influences during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
- History of injury to legs
- Current or past blood clots
Are men at risk for varicose veins?
There is a common misconception that only women suffer from varicose veins. Studies have demonstrated no such difference by gender. In one study, although the rate of moderate disease (less severe varicose veins) was twice as high among women as men, the rate of severe disease (advanced varicose veins) was higher in men than women. This is likely because men tend to wait longer before seeking treatment, thus they have more advanced disease when diagnosed.
How are Varicose Veins Treated?
Alsara Clinic uses a non-surgical and minimally invasive varicose vein treatment called Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA). This varicose vein treatment is an effective alternative to painful vein stripping—an invasive surgical treatment for varicose veins.
Learn more about Alsara Clinic treatment options on our Varicose Vein Laser Treatments page.