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Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, and enlarged veins that you can see under the skin. They most often occur in the legs but can also occur in other parts of the body. Nearly 25% of adults are thought to be affected by varicose veins.

Risk factors include:

  • Older age
  • Being female
  • Being born with defective valves
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • History of blood clots in your legs
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Family history of varicose veins

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Fullness, heaviness, aching, and sometimes pain in the legs
  • Visible, swollen veins
  • Smaller veins that you can see on the surface of the skin, called spider veins
  • Thigh or calf cramps
  • Mild swelling of feet or ankles
  • Itching

If flow of blood through the veins worsens, symptoms may include:

  • Leg swelling
  • Leg or calf pain after sitting or standing for long periods
  • Skin color changes of the legs or ankles
  • Dry, irritated, scaly skin that can crack easily
  • Skin sores that do not heal easily
  • Thickening and hardening of the skin in the legs and ankles

Diagnosis

To diagnose varicose veins, a Deborah physician will do a physical exam. The physician may also order an ultrasound to check vein function or to look for potential blood clots.