Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins near the skin’s surface. While they can occur anywhere on the body, they are most commonly seen on the legs and ankles.

What are the symptoms?

Varicose veins look twisted and bulging; they can resemble cords. They are also often dark blue or purple.

Other symptoms include pain, especially if the patient has been sitting or standing for a long time. Varicose veins can itch, bleed, or become discolored.

What causes varicose veins?

Under normal conditions, valves within the veins keep the blood flowing one way towards the heart. Arteries carry freshly oxygenated blood cells to different parts of the body while veins bring oxygen-depleted blood back.

Carrying from the legs to the heart means transporting it upwards and working against gravity. If the valves within the veins don’t work properly, the blood pools in the legs or ankles. Pressure builds up within the veins, and they become large, weak and gnarled.

Who is most likely to develop varicose veins?

There are risk factors that increase a person’s odds of developing varicose veins. They may include the following:

When should you call a doctor?

While they can be unsightly, varicose veins are usually not a serious problem. The key word is “usually.”

If any of the following occurs, it’s time to call the doctor:

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