Varicose veins are a problem that many people associate with elderly women. However, those bulging veins – and their underlying cause – can affect men as well as women. Unfortunately, because venous conditions are seen by many as a “woman’s issue,” men are less likely to seek treatment for their veins. It is important for men to understand the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options for varicose veins, as well as the underlying condition that often leads to these visible veins, venous insufficiency.
What is Venous Insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a condition that affects around 40 percent of adults in the U.S., according to the Cleveland Clinic. The condition occurs more frequently after the age of 50 and tends to be seen in women more often than men. However, anywhere from 10-50 percent of men over the age of 50 may be plagued with this condition.
Venous insufficiency occurs when tiny valves inside the veins wear out or become damaged. The primary job of these valves is to keep blood flowing in a single direction back to the heart. When they stop working efficiently, blood can pool inside the vessel, leading to the formation of varicose veins.
Who is at Risk?
While anyone can develop venous insufficiency, there are some factors that make this condition more likely:
-Significant weight gain
-Jobs that require prolonged periods of standing or sitting
What are the Possible Complications?
While many see varicose veins as a cosmetic problem, these unsightly veins can also lead to serious medical complications over time. Because blood flow in the area of the varicose veins has been compromised, it can eventually affect the skin and tissue around the veins. The skin may change color and texture, and open sores can form around the ankle and foot. Known as venous ulcers, these sores have a high infection and recurrence rate, making them very difficult to treat.
What Treatments are Available?
The good news is minimally-invasive treatments are now available to stop venous insufficiency in its tracks and eliminate both the appearance and the painful symptoms of varicose veins. When administered early in the condition, complications like skin changes and venous ulcers can be prevented. The procedures involve minimal discomfort, do not require hospitalization and do not cause a major disruption in your daily life. To learn more about your treatment options for venous insufficiency and varicose veins, contact the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin at 800-910-VEIN.