Varicose veins

Lots of people have varicose veins, enlarged, twisted veins that do not move blood as effectively as they should. For most people, it is a cosmetic issue, but for some people varicose veins may cause pain. In some cases serious complications, such as phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), skin ulcers, and blood clots, can happen.

Veins move blood from your body to your heart. When the one-way valves in your veins get weak, they may allow blood to flow backward and pool in your veins. That causes your veins to get bigger.

Varicose veins usually show up in the legs and feet, because standing and walking increases the pressure on these veins. They look like bulging, bluish cords beneath the surface of your skin. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller and closer to the surface of your skin.

Up to 60% of people in the U.S. have varicose veins. They are more common in women than men. You may be able to take care of varicose veins at home, or your doctor may recommend treatment.

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Review Date: 1/5/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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