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Varicose Veins

Bulging varicose veins are mainly found along the long and short saphenous veins, or their tributaries, as well as on the perforating veins.

Varicose veins affect the lives of millions of people. Most people recognize varicose veins as bulging, rope-like blood vessels that protrude from the surface of the skin. Although some patients complain about the cosmetic appearance of varicose veins, they may in fact have a more serious vein problem and not even know it.

Varicose veins often indicate an underlying vein problem known as venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is more likely to be present in adults who have vein-related symptoms such as chronic pain and discomfort, leg heaviness, leg swelling, or leg cramping.

Varicose veins usually develop in adulthood and can be caused by a variety of genetic, environmental, and occupational factors, such as family history, multiple pregnancies, exposure to estrogen or progesterone based medicines, sedentary lifestyle, occupations that require prolonged sitting or standing, a history of blood clots, and advanced age.

What exactly makes a vein “varicose?”

Whereas normal veins in our body move the blood up out of our legs and back to our heart, varicose veins allow the blood to move in both directions—up to the heart and back down to the feet. This is because they have lost their ability to resist gravity. As veins begin the process of becoming varicose, their walls begin to weaken and stretch out, pulling apart the one-way valves in the vein walls, allowing gravity to take over and pull extra blood down toward our feet.

Whenever anything in our body becomes stretched, it begins to hurt. That is why people with varicose veins frequently experience many unpleasant symptoms in their legs, including pain, aching, throbbing, burning, heaviness or fatigue in the legs, and intense itching over the bulging veins. These symptoms are especially bothersome when a person has to stand or sit for long periods of time.

While varicose veins are not entirely preventable for a number of reasons, there are certain measures you can take to minimize the progression of varicose veins and improve vein-related symptoms. These measures include weight management, an active aerobic lifestyle that maximizes core usage of the calf muscles of the leg, a vigorous exercise regimen that incorporates regular walking and ambulation, use of graduated compression stockings, and nutritional supplements containing Horse Chestnut extract.