Ask questions: check out the main myths and truths about varicose veins and spider veins


Are you worried about the health of both legs? Certainly you have tried to find out about varicose veins and vessels on the internet and have come across several false information. Thinking about it, to remove all doubts on the subject, the angiologist and vascular surgeon at Clínica Sanjuan Maria Clara Sanjuan separated some myths and truths. Check out:

According to the Brazilian Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery, 35.5% of the Brazilian population suffers from varicose veins, a condition that can cause or aggravate other diseases. Varicose veins are dilated and tortuous veins that develop below the skin and, depending on the stage they are in, they can be small, medium or large.

The most affected veins are those of the lower limbs: on the feet, legs and thighs. Teleangiectasias, the famous spider veins, are capillaries located in a superficial layer of skin that dilate, explains the angiologist and vascular surgeon at Clínica Sanjuan Maria Clara Sanjuan. “They are thin and appear grouped in tiny branches of a red or purple color. They do not hurt or show symptoms, and can appear anywhere on the body and even on the face ”.

According to the doctor, varicose veins are the result of chronic venous insufficiency that is caused by several factors, including genetic predisposition and hormonal changes, and is characterized by veins that undergo dilation in their walls, compromising the normal circulation of the bloodstream. “

In general, genetics, female gender and age are the main risk factors for the appearance of varicose veins. While the genetic factor is predominant, aging is an aggravating factor. Venous disease is more present in women due to these hormonal variations throughout life as it happens during pregnancy, for example ”, he comments.

The doctor explains that the problem has treatment and can also be prevented. Therefore, it helps to demystify some information circulating on the topic:

1. Can pots turn into varicose veins?

MYTH. According to Dr. Maria Clara Sanjuan, these are different conditions. “While spider veins occur in the most superficial layers of the skin, varicose veins appear in deeper veins and are of a larger caliber. Pots do not evolve to varicose veins, they are different. So, a person can have both problems or just one of them ”.

2. Do only elderly people have varicose veins?

MYTH. People of any age can have varicose veins, but they are more common from the age of 35 and affect more women than men.

3. Can high heels cause varicose veins?

IT DEPENDS. The doctor explains that wearing high heels does not cause varicose veins. However, if used every day in a person who does not exercise regularly, high heels can cause a shortening of the calf muscles, which can favor the appearance of varicose veins or worsening of an existing condition. “The calf is known as the“ heart of the legs ”, as it has veins that pump blood back to the heart. For this reason, the ideal is to always strengthen the musculature of this region, thus minimizing the use of high heels ”, he highlights.

4. Does pregnancy cause varicose veins?

TRUTH. The appearance of varicose veins during pregnancy is due to two factors. “The first one is the hormonal one, since progesterone weakens the venous wall, which favors the appearance of varicose veins, especially in those who already have a genetic predisposition. Another factor is the compressive effect that the pregnant uterus has on the abdomen veins, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart and favoring its accumulation in the lower limbs. The use of compression stockings prescribed by a vascular surgeon can help to minimize the problem ”.

5. Do physical exercises help to prevent varicose veins?

TRUTH. Physical activities, especially muscle strengthening in the lower limbs, stimulate blood circulation and help prevent the appearance of varicose veins. “The strengthening of the leg muscles, especially the calf, acts as a real pump, helping the blood return to the heart and reducing the effects of gravity”, highlights the angiologist.

6. Do crossed legs and tight pants cause varicose veins?

MYTH. The doctor explains that there is no relationship between these habits and the functioning of blood vessels. Staying cross-legged for a long time only leads to tingling, since the pants would need to be very tight enough to make a tourniquet to hold the circulation.

7. Varicose veins get worse in the summer?

TRUTH. According to the angiologist, the increase in temperature causes the vessels to dilate, reflecting in the capillaries (venules and lymph), which results in swelling of the lower limbs that already suffer from the presence of varicose veins, which can cause pain and a feeling of heaviness in who already has the problem.

8. Does hair removal influence the increase in varicose veins?

MYTH. Some works have already investigated the theme, since the heat of the wax can cause transient vascular dilations. However, this occurs only when under direct action of heat and, once the contact is eliminated, all actions are undone, without residues. Shaving with razors, although not influencing the increase in varicose veins, can cause microtrauma in the region.

9. Are varicose veins hereditary?

Truth. This is the main risk factor for the appearance of varicose veins and “it is a risk factor that we have not been able to modify. Varicose veins are very common when first-degree relatives, such as a father or mother, present the problem. The constitutional genetic factor is transmitted to the descendants, mainly by determining fragility in the vein wall ”, explains the doctor.

10. Can varicose veins be dangerous?

TRUTH. Depending on the degree, varicose veins can cause varicose ulcers, which are injured in the legs caused by poor circulation. In more advanced cases, the patient may need to undergo surgery. The good news is that currently the vast majority of varicose veins can be treated without surgery, with minimally invasive treatments and in the office. At Clínica Sanjuan, Dr. Maria Clara offers a range of these treatments for varicose veins, in addition to having state-of-the-art equipment, capable of making diagnoses faster and results more effective.


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