Varicose Veins are swollen tortuous veins easily visible under the skin.
Between 5 and 30% of Adults are affected, women more commonly than men. It is a common problem, so much so that it considering it a disease may not be appropriate.
The cause is not fully understood but there is a strong familial link.
- Swollen Ankles
- Skin Irritation
Untreated, varicose veins often progress in size and extent usually slowly, sometimes over many years. Most patients have no symptoms and no complications. However, varicose veins can cause the following problems:
- Skin damage and discolouration
- ‘Varicose Eczema’, chronic inflammation of the skin
- Ulceration and scarring
- Superficial thrombophlebitis: a tender and painful clotting of the varicose veins
- Deep Vein Thrombosis: people with varicose veins are at increased risk of developing blood clots.
Many people with varicose veins do not have symptoms and treatment may not be required. For those who do not wish to have surgery, compression (prescription support) stockings can reduce symptoms. For information on treatment see Interventions.
Large varicose Veins (Arrows)