Varicose veins

Varicose veins, also called varicosities, are seen most often in the legs, although they can be found in other parts of the body. Most often, they appear as lumpy, winding vessels just below the surface of the skin. There are three types of veins; superficial veins that are just beneath the surface of the skin, deep veins that are large blood vessels found deep inside muscles, and perforator veins that connect the superficial veins to the deep veins. The superficial veins are the blood vessels most often affected by varicose veins and are the veins seen by the eye when the varicose condition has developed.

Varicose veins are common in older individuals. The veins become twisted and swollen when blood returning to the heart against gravity flows back into the veins through a faulty valve. The aching associated with varicose veins can be eased by avoiding standing for long periods, by keeping feet elevated when sitting or lying down and by wearing support hose or elastic bandages.

While varicose veins are seldom dangerous, they can be a health hazard if complications develop, such as: venous stasis ulcers, the inflammation of veins known as phlebitis, or blood clots that may become a focus for infection or break away and become emboli to distant organs such as the lungs.

The incidence of varicose veins increases with age. They also seem to have a hereditary basis. In women, pregnancy and hormonal changes may contribute to the development of enlarged veins. While there is no sure method of preventing varicose veins, a measure of protection against forming varicose veins may be provided by wearing support hose and maintaining a normal weight.

 

 

 

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