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Varicose Veins

5_-_Vein_Anatomy_1Chronic venous disease is very common throughout the world and is underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many people suffer from the varying stages and symptoms of chronic venous disease and venous insufficiency. 60% of Americans suffer from venous disease and venous associated conditions. 1 in 22 or 4.5% or 12.2 million people in the USA are affected by varicose veins. More common in women with over 40% of women in their 50’s suffering from some sort of venous disorder.

Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging superficial veins that can be felt beneath the skin, generally larger than 3-mm in diameter. They are usually located on the inside of the calf or thigh and develop due to weakness of the vein wall and loss of valve function. Under the pressure of gravity, they con¬tinue to enlarge, and in the course of time, they may
become elongated, twisted, pouched and thickened.

Symptoms

  • Pain or a heavy feeling in the legs relieved by elevation
  • Large twisted veins that bulge above the surface of the skin
  • Itching and burning around varicose veins
  • Night cramps and restless legs
  • Discolored, dry, itchy skin near the ankle
  • A rash or skin ulceration on the ankle or lower leg
  • Swelling

Risk Factors

The most important factors leading to the development of varicose veins include:

  • Heredity
  • Prolonged standing
  • Increasing age
  • Heavy lifting
  • Prior superficial or deep venous thrombosis/clots
  • Female gender
  • Multiple pregnancies

Less physical activity, a higher blood pressure and obesity have also been linked with the presence of varicose veins in females.

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