Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Varicose Veins Overview

What are varicose veins?
A person with varicose veins has enlarged, prominent veins under the surface of the skin. Veins are thin-walled vessels that return blood to the heart. Tiny valves inside the veins prevent blood flow from reversing direction. Damage to valves allows blood to collect in the veins, causing them to swell. Varicose veins are most common in the legs and feet. About 20 percent of adults have varicose veins.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Symptoms of varicose veins include large, swollen veins in the legs. In addition, small veins may become visible beneath the skin in the legs.

How does the doctor treat varicose veins?
Treatment for varicose veins includes keeping the legs elevated while sitting, regular exercise, and support hose. Usually, varicose veins do not require treatment unless a person develops venous insufficiency. Treatment for severe varicose veins may include surgery.

Continue to Varicose Veins Incidence

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Varicose Veins References
  1. Bartholomew JR, King T, Sahgal A, Vidimos AT. Varicose veins: newer, better treatments available. Cleve Clin J Med. 2005 Apr;72(4):312-4, 319-21, 325-8. [15850243]
  2. Guex JJ. Thrombotic complications of varicose veins. A literature review of the role of superficial venous thrombosis. Dermatol Surg. 1996 Apr;22(4):378-82. [8624665]
  3. MacKay D. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins: a review of treatment options. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Apr;6(2):126-40. [11302778]
  4. Pascarella L, Schmid Schonbein GW. Causes of telengiectasias, reticular veins, and varicose veins. Semin Vasc Surg. 2005 Mar;18(1):2-4. [15791545]
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