What Are Varicose Leg Veins?

VARICOSE VEINS 

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That's because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more serious problems.

Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other circulatory problems. Treatment may involve self-care measures or procedures by your doctor to close or remove veins.

Symptoms

Varicose veins may not cause any pain. Signs you may have with varicose veins include:

  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs

When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Bleeding from varicose veins
  • A painful cord in the vein with red discoloration of the skin
  • Color changes, hardening of the vein, inflammation of the skin or skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they're smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin's surface and are often red or blue.

They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider's web.

Prevention

There's no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving your circulation and muscle tone can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. The same measures you can take to treat the discomfort from varicose veins at home can help prevent varicose veins, including:

  • Exercising
  • Watching your weight
  • Eating a high-fiber, low-salt diet
  • Avoiding high heels and tight hosiery
  • Elevating your legs
  • Changing your sitting or standing position regularly

 

Source: Mayo Clinic Staff, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins