Varicose veins are enlarged, are swollen, gnarled, tangled, twisted and discolored veins. They are easily visible through the skin and often red or blue in color.
A healthy vein allows blood to flow in one direction through one-way valves. A varicose vein is caused when one or more of these valves weaken and allow blood to flow backwards, or pool. The walls of the veins become stretched, losing elasticity as the blood pools or accumulates. The appearance of the veins becomes red or blue. Varicose veins include a enlarged and bulged appearance due to trapped blood from pooling of the blood flow.
The furthest veins from the heart are often the most susceptible. Because gravity and weight make it more difficult for blood to flow back to the heart, varicose and spider veins are most common in the legs. This is especially prevalent in people who stand for long periods.
As vein doctors we most often get asked how to prevent varicose veins and how to treat varicose veins.