Varicose veins most often present as large, swollen, bluish veins that run just below the surface of the skin. They almost always affect the legs and are usually painful and unappealing. About 25 percent of women and 15 percent of men suffer from the physical or social discomfort of varicose veins, and half of people over the age of 50 report having them.
Answer: In order to pump blood back to your heart, the veins in your legs rely on surrounding muscles and a network of one-way leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backward. But when leg veins become large or the leaflets of the valves get destroyed, the blood starts to flow backward, which causes blood to pool and varicose veins to form. Because superficial veins have much less muscle support, they are more likely to become varicose.
Any activity that puts added pressure on the legs can lead to varicose veins. Pregnancy, obesity, age and standing for long periods of time are the most common risk factors for developing them. Genetics also play a role in the development of varicose veins, so if they run in your family, you’re more susceptible.
Answer: The first and most obvious symptom of varicose veins is the appearance of unsightly veins on the legs. But varicose veins can also cause soreness, burning, throbbing, tingling or heaviness in the legs. They can also cause swollen legs, muscle cramps and brown discoloration of the skin. In rare cases, varicose veins can cause leg ulcers.
Answer: Traditionally varicose veins were stripped or removed surgically, which was painful and had a long recovery period. There are now state-of-the-art, minimally-invasive treatments available to help close varicose veins without removing them. These treatments help improve blood flow and alleviate symptoms, so you can start looking and feeling great again.
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