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WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?

Varicose Veins are bulgy veins on the surface of the legs (legs in most patients). They’re very common and caused by failure of the valves of the veins. There’re two sets of veins in the leg: the deep set and the superficial set. The superficial set are just below the skin and all these veins have got valves in them. What the valves do is to stop the blood going down the leg, only allowing a flow of blood up the leg.

A large proportion of the population, about 30%, develop a deficiency in the structure and function of these valves and they fail. When the valves fail, the pressure is increased and the veins just underneath the surface of the skin become bulgy. Over time the bulginess gets worse. 

Associated with the cosmetic appearance of them, the vast majority of patients suffer from symptoms varying from aching, itching, heaviness and throbbing.

More importantly, if you leave this high pressure for too long then the nutrition to the skin gets damaged and deteriorates and ultimately can cause ulcers. This is not to say that everyone that has varicose veins will develop an ulcer but most leg ulcers are caused by this valve deficiency which is associated with varicose veins.

Click here to read an overview of what are varicose veins and what is the best way to treat them. 

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