Varicose veins are surface veins that are enlarged, swollen and/or bulging due to underlying vein disease. Varicose veins most often appear on the thighs, back of the calves, and the inside of the leg. Abnormal veins are categorized by their size. Varicose veins are the largest and often form a bulging/bump in the legs. Spider veins are the smallest of the veins, measuring about 1-2mm, and often spread in a weblike pattern on the skin surface.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Many conditions can predispose people to forming varicose veins. The most common are family history, age, prolonged standing, pregnancy, hormonal changes related to ovulation or menopause, or an underlying vein condition. Varicose veins form when the valve within a superficial leg vein is damaged and no longer able to function properly. These valves normally help venous blood flow towards the heart from the legs, and when damaged blood is allowed to flow backwards (venous reflux) and pool within the veins within the legs. Over time, these veins become enlarged and distended and form into varicose veins. This process is a medical condition called Venous Reflux or Chronic Venous Insufficiency.
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