October 01, 2014

Varicose veins

Simple treatments can help

Varicose veins

You've always had a few silvery-blue spider veins tracing a small network across your calves, but lately you've noticed that some larger veins have become more noticeable. They're darker, resembling twisted cords lying just under the surface of your skin. It's clear you have varicose veins.

You were hoping you could avoid having this problem, but now it seems they're here to stay.

Varicose veins are all too common, and there's not much you can do to prevent them from occurring. Often they run in the family. Women tend to get them more often than do men, possibly due to hormone changes during different life phases and increased pressure on veins during past pregnancies. Getting older can contribute, too.

Over time, wear and tear on your veins can weaken their structure and decrease their functionality. Too much body weight, a sedentary lifestyle and trauma to your lower legs can also increase your chances of developing varicose veins.

However, with simple lifestyle changes, you can keep varicose veins from getting worse. And if they start to cause you pain or more-serious symptoms, or you just want to improve the appearance of your legs, there are a number of minimally invasive procedures that can effectively close off or remove varicose veins.

Of veins and valves

There are basically two types of blood vessels that handle the blood flow through your body — arteries and veins. Arteries transport red, oxygen-rich blood from your body's main distribution center — the heart — to the...