by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins. They can occur anywhere in the body, but are particularly common in the pelvis and legs.
Veins have one way valves to channel blood back to the heart. Varicose veins develop when the valves of the veins become damaged. This causes blood to pool in the veins, enlarging them and often making the veins just beneath the skin visible.
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that increase your risk of getting varicose veins include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Varicose veins can be easily seen. An ultrasound exam of your legs may also be done.
If you are diagnosed with varicose veins, follow your doctor's instructions.
Varicose veins can't be completely prevented, especially if they run in your family. The following recommendations may help:
American College of Phlebology
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
Gorroll A. Mulley A. Primary Care Medicine . 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000.
Varicose veins. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 2, 2013. Accessed March 13, 2013.
Varicose veins. VascularWeb website. Available at: http://www.vascula.... Updated January 2012. Accessed March 13, 2013.
Varicose veins and spider veins fact sheet. Women's Health.gov website. Available at: http://www.womensh.... Updated June 2, 2010. Accessed March 13, 2013.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 3/13/2013