Did you know teenagers and young adults can develop vein health issues like varicose or spider veins? Yes, it’s true, especially if your teen has a family history of vein health issues or struggles with obesity. More than 14.7 million children and adolescents struggle with obesity which may lead to more youth developing varicose or spider vein issues earlier as the added weight puts pressure on their circulatory system. Unfortunately, despite the growing prevalence of vein health problems in youth, many young adults don’t recognize the early warning signs of venous insufficiency. That’s why parents and caregivers must teach youth how to monitor their vein health properly and seek treatment when they notice a problem.
One of the reasons youth often fail to recognize the early warnings is because of all the changes their bodies are undergoing. Puberty and rapid growth during the teenage years cause all sorts of pains, aches and changes, so it can be challenging to distinguish what’s normal and what’s not! In fact, the hormonal changes caused by puberty are often a factor in circulation issues and vein health problems in youth. So what pains and symptoms are problematic? Watch out for:
- Leg pain, especially at night or after exercise
- Swelling, especially after standing for long periods or physical activity
- Restless legs at night
- Feelings of heaviness or fatigue in the legs
- Itchy or irritated skin, particularly in the same spot
If your youth notices any of these symptoms, it’s time to come in for a consultation. Our doctors will perform an assessment and an ultrasound examination to look for underlying issues. Even if it’s not time for more invasive treatments, our doctors can still recommend preventative measures such as:
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Using compression socks or compression activewear
- Avoiding standing for long periods
- Frequent stretching
- Reducing sodium intake
- And ongoing care appointments to monitor potential issues.
Vein health issues such as varicose or spider veins only worsen over time. Prevention is the best way to deal with vein health issues, especially for young people. The earlier we teach them to take care of their overall health and pay attention to the warning signs the better. Typically, people who develop young vein health issues will deal with this issue throughout their lives. The more proactive they are, the better their chances are of avoiding developing more challenging problems such as venous ulcers or blood clots.
Though varicose or spider veins typically occur in people over 50, no one is immune from developing them, including our youth. We strongly believe that the earlier youth learn to appreciate their vein health and take steps to prevent future problems, the healthier and happier they will be!