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Why be concerned about varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that lie close to the skin's surface. They often look blue and are swollen and bulging. As people age, their incidence of varicose veins also increases. Obesity, genetic predisposition, prolonged standing and hormonal changes during pregnancy are all factors that affect a person's chances of developing varicose veins.

Often, people think that varicose veins are merely a cosmetic concern. However, many people suffer from leg pain, swelling, and/or heaviness in the legs. In addition to being uncomfortable, some varicose veins can become more serious if they are not treated. Varicose veins can lead to blood clots, which can become life-threatening if they are dislodged from the leg and move to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or the brain.

To diagnose varicose veins, a physician will do a physical examination of a patient and possibly perform a duplex or doppler ultrasound.


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