5 Facts About Varicose Veins That’ll Impress Your Friends and Family

5 Facts About Varicose Veins That’ll Impress Your Friends and Family

5 Unexpected Things You Can Teach Them About Varicose Veins

Forget Everything You Learned About Varicose Veins …

…and let me tell you the facts that I have learned after a lifetime of studying and treating varicose veins.

These essential varicose vein facts are from a vascular surgeon who has specialized in treating veins for eighteen years.

First of all, varicose vein disease is confusing to all of us.

You often learn about varicose veins from stories that our mothers or relatives told you about their varicose vein problem.

They probably still have them.

They may have even had them treated unsuccessfully.

The bottom line is – you just don’t want to end up with your mother’s or father’s legs.

Misinformation and myths about varicose veins are everywhere.

The reality is that venous disease is very complex.

No two people’s veins are alike.

There is no one master blueprint for veins.

Variations in venous anatomy are common.

For that reason, people often need different treatments.

  • Some people need their saphenous veins ablated.
  • Some people require sclerotherapy (injections).
  • Some people require phlebectomy (removal of large varicose veins through mini incisions).

It’s not unusual that people with varicose veins in both legs will need a different treatment in each of their legs.

The Most Common Things People Ask Me About Varicose Veins

Here are the most common answers to questions that most people ask about their varicose veins during their initial consultation.

This information will be useful to you if you suffer from varicose veins.

Often people have family members who also suffer with this problem.

You may likely have a mother or father that suffers from varicose veins.

This information should impress them.

After all, it is a mainly a genetic problem.

You can be the informed one with all of the answers to their questions about varicose veins at the next family get-together.

Fact #1 Venous disease and varicose veins are incurable.

Sorry for the bad news.

After treatment, you will most likely make new unwanted veins.

That doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t have your veins treated in the first place.

If neglected, they will only enlarge and become more symptomatic.

The more complete the original vein treatment is, the longer the varicose veins should stay away.

The reason that they recur is that it is a genetic problem.

As I mentioned, new veins will inevitably occur sooner or later.

The earlier that you see your vascular vein specialist after the new ones appear, the easier it will be to keep them under control and prevent complications.

Fact #2 Obesity and pregnancy can make them worse.

Although obesity and pregnancy can exacerbate the condition, it is widely believed based on the scientific literature that the predisposition to develop varicose and spider veins is in your DNA.

Both conditions increase your intra abdominal pressure. That is like tying a tourniquet above your legs.

It’s similar to the rubber tourniquet that they tie on your upper arm when you have your blood drawn. The veins dilate from the tourniquet.

Exercising or the lack of exercising did not cause them.

Since the cause is malfunctioning valves within the veins, exercising your muscles will not change what is happening in these valves.

Similarly, walking on hard surfaces (including concrete), crossing your legs, and surgical procedures on your legs will not cause unwanted veins in your legs.

Fact #3 Neglecting varicose veins results in larger veins.

I may sound like Captain Obvious saying this but people always ask me this question after I discuss treatment options and alternatives.

You have already noticed that over time varicose veins inevitably enlarge.

The valves inside the veins which caused the problem will not improve over time.

I suppose everyone who is in the process of considering treatment and its risks need to be reassured that treatment is necessary and that they are making the right choice.

Fact #4 Men develop varicose veins at about the same rate as women.

This surprises most people because they assume that varicose veins are a woman’s problem.

It is even thought by some to be a Granny’s disease.

The truth is that men also suffer from the problem at almost the same rate. Recent studies challenge the old concept that women suffer at a higher incidence from varicose vein disease.

Often men neglect the big ropey veins in their legs.

When a man comes to see me for their varicose veins, their veins are usually huge and at an advanced stage.

Often their enormous veins were asymptomatic until a complication occurred. Often that is a blood clot in their varicose veins which is called thrombophlebitis or phlebitis for short.

This usually occurs after a period of immobility like after a long car or plane ride. When blood is not pumped through these dilated veins by the calf muscles during walking, the blood can clot.

Men often don’t care as much as women what their legs and veins look like. Men with hairy legs have a built-in camouflage for any cosmetic issues with their legs.

Since varicose veins inevitably enlarge, the sooner that they are treated the better.

The treatment only becomes more complicated than if they would have come in earlier.

Fact #5 Varicose veins aren’t just cosmetic issue.

Many family doctors tell their patients this and perpetuate this common misconception.

Many family doctors are familiar with the old stripping operation. The results of that procedure were often worse than the veins themselves.

With the latest minimally invasive varicose vein treatments, you can resume normal activities right away.

Complications are very rare.

There is no downtime.

The cosmetic results are incredible.

People can’t believe that the pictures that I give them after their procedure were actually their legs!


I hope that this information has been useful to you.

You can now set the record straight when people talk to you about their varicose vein problems.

Vein doctors universally agree that if you have varicose veins, the first thing you should do is have them treated.

Conservative medical management with support stockings is not the answer.

The largest and most respected consensus article on the treatment of venous disease states, ” [we] recommend against compression therapy as the primary treatment if the patient is a candidate for saphenous vein ablation” …

Modern vein treatments are usually covered by insurance.

However, insurance companies are becoming more restrictive and covering less as time passes.

It doesn’t make sense to neglect your varicose veins with the latest minimally invasive treatment options that are available today.

Choose only an accredited vein center to have your treatment done properly so that the results will last.

…to infinity and beyond!

Can I have one last Hallelujah?

Call us at 724-969-0600 or click here to learn more.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.