Q: Do varicose veins increase my risk of blood clots?
A: Varicosities do not increase your risk of having deep venous thrombosis (DVT). They can increase your risk of having clots in the superficial veins or in the varicosities themselves, because blood flow in these abnormally dilated veins is not laminar. The blood eddies in the bulging varicose vein and when blood pools, it can clot.
Q: Are varicose veins just a cosmetic problem?
A: Some people have small spider veins that do not cause discomfort or disability, and in these cases, treatment may be considered purely cosmetic. However, varicose veins that cause discomfort, or that are associated with clotting or bleeding episodes or skin damage are called symptomatic varicosities, and are considered a medical problem warranting insurance coverage.
Q: Do my varicose veins predispose me to stroke or heart attack?
A: No. Veins and arteries diseases are not directly related. Stroke and heart attack are arterial problems. Risk factors for arterial problems include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, family history of atherosclerosis, getting older, and being a man.
Q: What are risk factors for varicose veins?
A: Increasing age, being a woman, childbirth, leg trauma or leg surgery, family history for varicose veins, deep venous thrombosis (DVT), obesity, and standing jobs or sedentary lifestyle all increase risk of developing varicose veins. Crossing your legs, standing on hard flooring, and pounding exercise like running probably does not increase your risk significantly.
Q: Does my insurance cover treatment for varicose veins?
A: If your varicosities are symptomatic (see #2 above), then you should be eligible for insurance coverage. Your insurance company will mandate that you have been compliant with conservative management for at least 3 months. This implies that you are striving to maintain an active lifestyle and ideal body weight and are wearing compression stockings. Click here for where to buy compression stockings.
Q: When do I wear my compression stockings?
A: You should wear your compression stockings when you are sitting and standing for long periods. You do not need to wear them at nighttime or when exercising, unless you want to.
Please visit the Additional Resources section for a listing of some local compression stocking vendors.