Ask most people on the street what “vein disease” is, and the two most common images they report are varicose veins and “old people.” In their minds, they link the two, and assume both that vein disease is only about varicose veins, and that it only affects people over 60. Sadly, both assumptions are misconceptions, and dangerous ones, so in this article we’ll present facts to help parents understand that helping their kids prevent vein disease starts while they’re still in their teens. A Maui vein treatment expert explains.
Contrary to popular opinion, age is NOT the primary vein disease risk factor
It is true that vein disease strikes primarily older people – over 50% of women over 65 have varicose veins, as opposed to 5% of women under 24. That said, in recent years varicose veins and other vein diseases are appearing in increasing numbers of young people, some as young as 11 years old. So although age IS a risk factor for vein disease, it’s not the most important one.
The most important risk factor is heredity, followed closely by inactivity. To assess your teens’ risk of developing vein disease, start by looking into these two factors. If you, your parents, or other relatives had varicose veins or suffered from chronically swollen legs and ankles, then your kids have an extremely high risk of developing the same conditions. That risk nearly doubles if they have picked up the bad habits of the “couch potato” generation and spend most of their time sitting in front of their computers, TVs, or video game screens.
Vein disease doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a cumulative process
Diseases such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) – the most common cause of varicose veins – develop over a number of years. One set of venous valves fails due to CVI, becomes leaky, and allows blood to flow back into the vein and pool there. This increases internal pressure in surrounding veins and makes their valves fail, and the condition “cascades” until some form of vein disease appears.
If your teen is at high risk for vein disease, it’s not really varicose veins you need to worry about – it’s DVT
Having a genetic predisposition to vein disease and leading a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of another type of vein disease – deep vein thrombosis, DVT causes blood clots begin to form in the deep veins of the legs, which obstruct blood flow and impair circulation even if they remain where they formed, but can cause a stroke or pulmonary embolism if they travel elsewhere in the body. If they are already at high risk for vein disease, your teens are more at risk for DVT than adults because of trauma caused to the vein walls playing sports such as football, basketball, and gymnastics.
So how do I protect my teens from vein disease?
The first thing you should do is to contact one of the best vein treatment centers in Maui and make an appointment for a venous health screening. These screenings allow Hawaii vein specialists to diagnose CVI, DVT, and other types of vein disease, but they are important even if the doctors don’t detect any existing problems, because if they find that your teens are at risk, they can help you make lifestyle choices and behavioral changes to lower their risk.
So give the best vein doctors in Hawaii a call or go online and get proactive about protecting your teens’ vein health. Even if your teen doesn’t need Maui vein treatment, you’ll be happy you did.