What are Varicose Veins?
Your body’s veins are responsible for returning blood to the heart. In your legs, healthy veins contain valves that keep blood flowing in one direction. Varicose veins result from valves that are damaged or diseased and do not close properly. This can cause blood to collect and “pool” in your legs, creating pressure that can result in symptoms like pain, burning, swelling, heaviness and skin ulcers.
Approximately 40 million Americans are affected by vein disease. Varicose veins can occur in men or women, but are particularly prevalent in females.
Factors that may contribute to varicose veins are:
- Prolonged standing
- Prolonged sitting
- Being overweight
- A family history of vein disease
- A history of blood clots
- Use of birth control pills
Spider veins are small thin, dilated blood vessels located close to the skin’s surface. Spider veins are vessels that have damaged vein walls and are not working properly. They may be red, blue, or purple in color and are commonly found on the legs near the upper thigh, at the knee, and around the ankle. Spider veins may also appear on the face and other areas of the body.
Common symptoms of spider veins are burning and itching. Spider veins in the legs may be associated with underlying varicose veins, and other symptoms such as pain, heaviness and throbbing.