Are varicose veins a health risk?

According to J. John Kwon, MD, MSE, RPVI, Vascular Surgeon at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of WMCHealth, varicose veins are simply an unsightly nuisance for the vast majority of patients. “In general, varicose (aka spider) veins are simply a cosmetic issue. But in some circumstances, they become serious; bleeding, painful cords with skin discoloration, ulceration or acute swelling may signal more serious vascular disease, which may require medical attention,” Dr. Kwon explains.

Can I prevent them?

There are several groups of people (including pregnant women and anyone whose occupation requires prolonged sitting or standing) who are predisposed to develop varicose veins. Obesity, age, female gender and a prior history of clots in the legs also increase the risk. That said, anyone can reduce their risk of developing varicose veins, says Dr. Kwon. “Overweight patients should attempt to lose weight, with healthy diet and exercise. Also, avoid wearing tight belts or girdles and crossing legs when seated. Patients with early symptoms should consider wearing a compression stocking, elevating their legs and exercising but should avoid prolonged standing.”


Westchester Medical Center

westchestermedicalcenter.com/heart

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital

westchestermedicalcenter.com/pediatric-cardiology

MidHudson Regional Hospital

midhudsonregional.org/vascular-surgery