Men tend to see varicose veins as more of a female problem, and downplay or ignore signs they see on their body.
Scientific studies have shown that men are just as affected by varicose veins as women. One in 5 men have a varicose vein illness, one in 6 leg swelling. Despite this, only one third of affected men contact a doctor due to varicose veins, while two thirds of women do this.
The cause or trigger of vein diseases is more than just the strong tendency of a weakness in the connective tissue. The crucial risk factors for varicose veins also include a range of typical civilisation illnesses, which affect women just as much as men:
- Excessive standing and sitting
- Lack of exercise
A varicose vein illness should never be downplayed. If untreated, varicose veins can affect the quality of life and sooner or later lead to serious complications.
A 2010 study by the Seiter clinic about: How do men deal with varicose veins?
Each year, around 500,000 people die of a pulmonary embolism in the EU. The cause of a pulmonary embolism are so-called venous thromboembolisms, due to a change to the vein system caused by illness. These changes are mainly caused by varicose veins in the legs. A study by the University of Geneva (Robert-Ebadi, H. et al. 2010) shows that just as many man as women die from a pulmonary embolism, although almost twice as many women as men are affected by varicose veins.
Are varicose veins “more dangerous" in men, or are there other factors responsible for this?
An analysis of data by the Robert-Koch Institute showed that although more women have varicose veins than men, serious varicose veins occur in men just as often as in women. 20% more women than men have thrombosis. The cause for the equal distribution of pulmonary embolisms can therefore not be of a biological nature.
Is it possible that men deal with varicose vein diseases differently than women?
To answer this question, the Seiter clinic held a special interview with a total of 3,174 patients from 01.05 to 31.07.2010 (1,904 women, 1,270 men; age 17-89).
The results: Men act late, and we know what happens to those who delay...
It turned out that men usually go for the first examination much later than women. While women consult a doctor as soon as the first visual signs appear (such as spider veins), men often wait until the illness has progressed very far and they have massive difficulties and/or complications. In many cases the affected men only get help from a doctor after being pushed to do so by their partner.
You can see the extensive results here: PDF file.
Conclusion: Treat varicose veins!
Biological differences are not key. The key difference is in behaviour! Even if they have pronounced varicose veins, men often avoid a necessary visit to the doctor and thereby expose themselves to a higher risk of thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms.
What should be done?
The affected men’s fear of taking action has to be taken away. There must be an awareness of the importance of vein diseases. First of all, an appeal has to be made for men to take responsibility, so that they can reliably and continually deal with this chronic, advancing illness.