Yes, Young Adults Can Get Varicose Veins. Learn Why.
It is not uncommon for the vein disease process to start much earlier in life. Often young people don’t even realize that they are having symptoms of venous insufficiency. Ideally, a young person would get their mild symptoms treated before the symptoms become advanced.
Often, we associate vein disease with older people. When asked about venous insufficiency, most people imagine the elderly as the ones who endure itchy, painful, or swollen legs. They assume that one must be older to suffer from varicose veins, spider veins, leg ulcers, or skin changes on the legs and ankles.
However, while age is a risk factor for developing symptoms of vein disease, it is not the leading cause of this condition.
Does vein disease affect young people?
Young people (age 40 and younger) are susceptible to venous disease because the number one risk factor is heredity, not age. And while there are many ways a person can reduce their risk of developing symptoms of vein disease, one cannot change their genetics.
Why do people equate vein disease with being older?
After years (sometimes decades) of progressively weakening leg valves, it’s often not until later in life that the painful symptoms of vein disease get to the point that one seeks medical intervention.
What are the early signs of vein disease?
Suppose a young person has a job that requires them to stand for long periods (such as in a warehouse, fast food, retail, or other industries). In that case, they can experience tired, achy, cramping legs by the end of the shift. They come home, prop their feet up and feel better, and don’t give it another thought. These uncomfortable symptoms, however, could be a sign of early vein disease.
It is easier for younger people to dismiss these early signs because the symptoms are milder than after the disease process has been going on for twenty or thirty years. These younger patients assume that the symptoms are a normal consequence of being on their legs all day. However, these symptoms are not normal and should not be dismissed.
Can young people get varicose veins?
People as young as eighteen to twenty years old have come to Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) suffering from large, bulging, painful varicose veins. Often these younger patients incorrectly attribute varicose veins and swelling to sports. While these symptoms are rare for a young person, it is a sign of underlying venous insufficiency that a vein specialist must address.
It is important to remember that “vein disease is chronic (long-lasting), worsens over time, and is never going to get better by itself without medical intervention.
Is vein disease harder to treat if it’s been going on for years?
Luckily, vein disease that started during a person’s youth is not harder to treat, and the treatment options will be the same. However, because vein disease is a progressive disorder, the symptoms can worsen and lead to skin discoloration, leathery, flaky skin texture, or even leg ulcers. It’s in these later stages that the treatment becomes more complicated.
What are the risk factors for young people?
The main risk for people of any age to develop vein disease is heredity. Obesity, which is not unique to younger people, is increasingly becoming a problem among young adults. We have a population of people obsessed with their screen devices (phones, computers, television, etc.). As a result, they are not getting the physical activity needed to prevent vein disease.
This sedentary lifestyle in the younger population will put them at higher risk of developing vein disorders in the future.
What can a young person do to prevent vein disease?
The following to help young people reduce the risk of developing the symptoms associated with developing vein disease:
- regular exercise
- maintaining a healthy weight
- avoiding standing or sitting for extended periods
- elevate the legs after standing for a length of time
Are the treatment options different for a young person?
The experienced vein physicians at CVR approach all new patients first by getting a thorough health history. In a youthful person, they will assess the severity of the venous insufficiency (as would happen with a patient of any age). If it's determined that symptoms are mild, the vein doctor will recommend conservative measures such as compression stockings. The Rejuva line of compression socks is particularly appropriate for younger people as the selection of socks is lightweight and comes in a variety of fun, bright patterns, and fashionable colors.
Eventually, these patients will need an in-office treatment, such as sclerotherapy or ablation, because of the progressive nature of vein disease.
What should a young person do who is concerned about vein disease?
The bottom line: Anyone concerned about their vein health seeks the consultation of a vein specialist. At CVR, our vein specialists talk to the patient about their concerns, go over symptoms and discuss ways they can take control of their vein health, now and in the future.
To schedule an appointment with any of CVR’s highly qualified vein experts, call 1-800-FIX-LEGS or visit centerforvein.com for more information. Scheduling online is easy and convenient. Most insurances are accepted.