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Consultant Vascular Surgeon - Varicose and Thread Vein Expert


Monday, 9 August 2010

Dispelling the myth about varicose veins

The myth that varicose veins only hit women who are pregnant or are of a certain age is one that I am constantly looking to dispel.

Any man or woman, of any age, can be affected at anytime. Take the case of Ian Coveny. Here was a man in his early 50s who had rowed for Cambridge in the boat race.

Surely someone so physically fit wouldn’t have problems with varicose veins? Wrong. As Ian readily admits, he did suffer and part of this was because of his reluctance to get help when the early signs showed themselves.

It was only when Ian’s pain became insufferable, that he finally sought the help of his local GP who referred him to me.

It took Ian an incredible six years before he got help and he admits that he now feels a bit silly for not coming to me sooner.

But this is no advertisement for my services. This is just to make people realise that they can’t just ignore the onset of varicose veins. While men just view staining for instance as a cosmetic issue, it can eventually lead to severe pain and ulceration.

The activities of healthy rowers like Ian, or any other sports men or women, does not make them immune to problems. Indeed, when statistics show that one in five people of the population get varicose veins, it is obvious sufferers will come from all walks of life.

I guess one reason why men, and even some women, are reluctant to seek help is that they believe they will face a long spell away from work or sport. Again wrong. Correction of varicose veins used to mean a general anaesthetic and weeks off training to recover. But with the new radial fibre laser that I use, the operation is performed under local anaesthetic and you are back to training within days.

Ian recently joked that he was the face (or maybe the legs) of varicose veins. It might have been a light-hearted suggestion but I praise Ian’s attitude in highlighting a potentially serious problem.​