"Varicose veins and telangiectasia (spider veins) are the visible surface manifestations of an underlying problem with reverse venous flow, which is also termed venous insufficiency syndrome. Mild forms of venous insufficiency are merely uncomfortable, annoying, or cosmetically disfiguring, but severe venous disease can produce serious systemic consequences and can lead to loss of life or limb. See the image below."


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Deep Venous Thrombosis

"Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a manifestation of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Although most DVT is occult and resolves spontaneously without complication, death from DVT-associated massive pulmonary embolism (PE) causes as many as 300,000 deaths annually in the United States."

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Vein Replacements

"Peripheral artery disease (PAD) results from the build-up of plaque (atherosclerosis) in the arteries of the legs. For most people with PAD, symptoms may be mild or absent, and no treatment of the artery blockages is required. However as these blockages become more extensive, patients may experience pain and disability that limits their walking, and in the most advanced cases individuals may be at risk for loss of the limb unless circulation is improved. For these patients with severe PAD, attempts to improve blood flow in the leg are usually indicated. The goals of improving blood flow to the limb are to reduce pain, improve functional ability and quality of life, and to prevent amputation. "

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"On June 5, Lawrence Breakley became the first patient in the U.S. to receive a new kind of artificial vein made from human cells.

A new type of blood vessel made in a laboratory may soon improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. 

While man-made veins are nothing new, a Virginia man has become the first in the U.S. to receive an implant that becomes functionally alive in animals. Dr. Jeffrey Lawson of Duke University Hospital performed the surgery June 5 on 62-year-old Lawrence Breakley. "


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Noninvasive Treatments!

"Varicose veins most often develop in the legs. They often stick out and are blue in color.

  • Normally, valves in your veins keep your blood flowing up toward the heart, so the blood does not collect in one place.
  • The valves in varicose veins are either damaged or missing. This causes the veins to become filled with blood, especially when you are standing.

The following treatments for varicose veins can be done in a health care provider's office or clinic. You will receive local anesthesia to numb your leg. You will be awake, but will not feel pain."

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Compression Hose Therapy

"You wear compression stockings to improve blood flow in your legs. Compression stockings gently squeeze your legs to move blood up your legs. This helps prevent leg swelling and, to a lesser extent, blood clots.

If you have varicose veins, spider veins, or have just had surgery, your health care provider may prescribe compression stockings.

Wearing stockings helps with:

  • Aching and heavy feeling in legs
  • Swelling in legs
  • Preventing blood clots, primarily after surgery or injury when you are less active"

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What Are The Signs?

"The signs and symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Large veins that you can see just under the surface of your skin.
  • Mild swelling of your ankles and feet.
  • Painful, achy, or "heavy" legs.
  • Throbbing or cramping in your legs.
  • Itchy legs, especially on the lower leg and ankle. Sometimes this symptom is incorrectly diagnosed as dry skin.
  • Discolored skin in the area around the varicose vein.

Signs of telangiectasias are clusters of red veins that you can see just under the surface of your skin. These clusters usually are found on the upper body, including the face. Signs of spider veins are red or blue veins in a web or tree branch pattern. Often, these veins appear on the legs and face.

See your doctor if you have these signs and symptoms. They also may be signs of other, more serious conditions."

Deep Vein Thrombosis

"Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside a part of the body. It mainly affects the large veins in the lower leg and thigh, but can occur in other deep veins such as in the arms and pelvis."

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What are Varicose Veins?


Varicose veins are most often swollen, gnarled veins that most frequently occur in the legs, ankles and feet. They are produced by a condition known as venous insufficiency or venous reflux, in which blood circulating through the lower limbs does not properly return to the heart but instead pools up in the distended veins.

More than 25 million Americans suffer from venous reflux disease. The symptoms can include pain and fatigue in the legs, swollen ankles and calves, burning or itching skin, skin discoloration and leg ulcers. In less severe cases, thin, discolored vessels – “spider veins” – may be the only symptom.

Gender and age are two primary risk factors in the development of venous reflux. An estimated 72% of American women and 42% of men will experience varicose veins symptoms by the time they reach their sixties. Women who have been pregnant more than once and people who are obese, have a family history of varicose veins or spend a great deal of time standing have an elevated risk for the condition, but it can occur in almost anyone at almost any age. Varicose veins never go away without treatment and frequently progress and worsen over time.

Severe varicose veins can have a significant impact on the lives of people who work on their feet – nurses, teachers, flight attendants et al. Research has shown that more than two million workdays are lost each year in the US, and annual expenditures for treatment total $1.4 billion.

Know your options for treating varicose veins

If you have painful, unattractive varicose veins, you are not alone: More than 30 million Americans, men and women alike, are affected by the condition called venous insufficiency, which includes varicose veins, spider veins, and telangiectasias. While rarely serious to your health, varicose and spider veins can affect your psychological and physical sense of well-being—from their unsightly appearance to the feelings of pain, cramping, heaviness and fatigue that failing veins can produce. In some cases, changes in the skin, and even leg ulcers, may develop.

“Venous insufficiency occurs when the vein’s valves become damaged and cannot transport blood back to the heart efficiently,” says Misaki M. Kiguchi, MD, a vascular surgeon at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute and a specialist in the management of vein disorders. “Family history, multiple pregnancies, occupations  requiring long periods of standing, obesity and age are all contributing factors.”

Fighting against gravity, healthy veins rely upon valves to open and close tightly, keeping the blood flowing in one direction: back to the heart and lungs. When the valves cease to function as they should, some blood leaks backward and pools in the legs, straining blood vessel walls.

The result is visually swollen veins close to the skin’s surface. Unfortunately, varicose veins will not  resolve by themselves and, left untreated, may worsen over time.

Approaches to the common condition range from conservative therapy to surgical intervention.

“Compression hose, which no one likes to wear, actually work

by providing extra support and pressure,” Dr. Kiguchi says. “But it’s like wearing prescription eye glasses:  You’re not really fixing the problem—only treating the symptoms.”

Today’s improved, minimally invasive techniques cannot only relieve pain, but address the root cause of the problem and  improve appearance, safely and effectively.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), for instance, uses a needle, a small catheter and  heat to collapse varicose veins. Similarly, sclerotherapy involves using a chemical injection to close off either spider or varicose veins. For the appropriate patients, these approaches produce results that are as effective as more invasive approaches, with less pain and recovery time.

“RFA and sclerotherapy are both well tolerated,” Dr. Kiguchi concludes. “Most patients are surprised by how quick and easy the treatments are.”

And what happens to those now-destroyed blood vessels? The body eventually reabsorbs them, as other veins take over their important job:  keeping blood moving back to the heart and lungs.


Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Treatment Overview

Sclerotherapy uses an injection of a special chemical (sclerosant) into avaricose vein to damage and scar the inside lining of the vein. This causes the vein to close.

During this procedure, the affected leg is elevated to drain blood, and the sclerosant is injected into the varicose vein. The procedure is done in a doctor's office or clinic and takes 5 to 30 minutes, depending on how many varicose veins are treated and how big they are.

After the injection of sclerosant is given, pressure is applied over the veins to prevent blood return when you stand up. You may need to wearcompression stockings for several days or weeks to maintain the pressure.

The sclerotherapy injection may be painful, and the chemical (sclerosant) that is injected can cause a feeling of burning or cramping for a few minutes in the area where the shot was given. You may need repeated sessions and many injections each session, depending on the extent of the varicose veins and type of sclerosant used.

A newer, minimally invasive technique allows your doctor to inject sclerosant with a catheter. The catheter and sclerosant are guided to the affected vein with the help of duplex ultrasound. This process allows sclerotherapy treatment to be used on larger varicose veins that previously could only be treated surgically with ligation and stripping, in which larger varicose veins are tied off and removed.

What To Expect After Treatment

Sclerotherapy generally does not require any recovery period. You will likely be able to walk immediately after the treatment, but you should take it easy for a day or two. Bed rest is not recommended, but you may need to avoid strenuous exercise for a few days after sclerotherapy. Avoid exposing your legs to the sun for the first 2 weeks after the procedure.

Why It Is Done

Sclerotherapy is used to treat:

  • Spider veins and small veins that are not causing more serious problems.
  • Smaller varicose veins that come back after vein-stripping surgery.
  • Larger varicose veins, when minimally invasive techniques are used.

Sclerotherapy may be done alone or as a follow-up to surgery.

Sclerotherapy ‘I don’t like these ugly veins’

Darling, the legs aren’t so beautiful. I just know what to do with them.
— Marlene Dietrich

We have all heard the saying: “I have a circulation problem.”  All “circulation” problems are not the same, and clearly, a medical professional is needed to evaluate what is required.

Varicose veins, which are more superficial, can be treated with sclerotherapy and or laser therapy. For the purpose of this article, we will discuss sclerotherapy.

Varicose veins are caused by the inability of blood to return from the legs, back up to the heart because the valves are not functioning. As a result, the blood collects and the bulging, or distension of the veins, causes a back pressure and all the veins that are connected in turn get bigger. They can be painful, but even worse, they are not so cute.

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the culprit vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to swell and stick together. Over time, the vessel will scar, and fade.

Who asks for sclerotherapy?

• “I hate these legs. I am always trying to hide them.”

• “My legs are aching, burning, throbbing, itchy, feel heavy, and full.”

• “Symptoms improve only when I lie down.”

• “The veins are worse when pregnant, or prior to the menstrual period.”

Who cannot have this procedure?

You are not eligible if you have the following issues:

• Pregnancy;

• Possibility of heart bypass surgery (they may require those veins for your heart);

• Recent diagnosis of blood clots;

• On Coumadin;

• Inability to walk;

• Infection or rash to the legs;

• Prior failures with sclerotherapy;

• Unable to afford a series of treatments.

Preparation for treatment

Avoid anti-inflammatories like aspirin and herbal medications. No lotion should be put on the legs the morning of the treatment. Compression stockings will need to be bought before the procedure, to be worn on the way home.

After treatment

Showers are permitted, but the water should be cooler than usual. A mild soap can be used to wash the injection sites. The compression stockings should be worn all day and all night, otherwise the physician will advise for how long.

For 48 hours, there should be no:

• Hot baths;

• Hot compresses;

• Whirlpools or saunas;

• Direct exposure to sunlight;

Will it last?

Veins that respond to treatment will not reappear. Fifty to 80 per cent of injected veins will respond to each session of sclerotherapy. Less than 10 per cent of the people who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all. In essence, most people respond, but as life is, in everything there are no guarantees for success.

So, remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that beholder is you!

Scheduling Treatment: What to Expect with Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

What Exactly is Sclerotherapy Again?

Sclerotherapy is an injection of the chemical sclerosant directly into a varicose vein in order to damage the inside lining of the vein. The subsequent scarring causes the vein to close. The procedure is done in the doctor’s office and takes about thirty minutes, sometimes as little as five, depending on the size and number of the varicose veins to be treated.

After the injection, pressure is applied over the veins in order to prevent the blood from returning once you stand up. Compression stockings are recommended for several days or weeks post-procedure to maintain pressure and maximize effectiveness.

Repeated sessions are sometimes necessary, depending on the extent of the varicose veins.

How Long Will I Take to Recover?

There is no actual recovery period from the procedure itself, and patients can walk out of the office immediately after completion. Every body has its own recovery pace (think about people who are more susceptible to drowsiness-causing medications, or the stories of people who wake up during surgeries), so there is no one answer.

Generally, you want to take it easy for a couple of days following treatment, and do avoid strenuous exercise for the following few days. Bed rest, however, is not recommended.

When is the Best Time to Get Sclerotherapy?

There is no right or wrong time to get sclerotherapy or laser treatment. But there are a few situations you may want to consider:

  • Since you also will be wearing compression stockings, decide how affected you are by weather. If you are susceptible to heat and like to wear skirts or shorts that expose the legs, you may schedule treatment for more pants-friendly weather. But this is not a rule, and many patients are not bothered by their end-of-summer sclerotherapy treatments.
  • Also, some patients experience initial side effects such as itching, bruising, pain, or blistering in the area of treatment. If this is something that might concern you, I recommend that you wait for the cooler weather so you can keep covered more comfortably.
  • Unlike laser treatment, which treats the small red veins called telangiectasias and requires patients to stay out of the sun for two weeks following the procedure, sclerotherapy has no such requirement. However, if you are worried about the temporary appearance of blotches or bruising, you may want to avoid scheduling treatment the week prior to your big beach vacation.
  • If you are pregnant, now is not the time for sclerotherapy.

What Are the Benefits of Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy has over an 80% effectiveness rate among patients. Among its many benefits, sclerotherapy costs much less than surgery or EVLT/RFA (endovenous laser therapy or radiofrequency ablation) and requires no hospital stay.

And sclerotherapy is convenient: You can immediately return to work and most of your normal activities.

In a short amount of time, varicose veins can be either greatly reduced or completely neutralized, giving you back your healthy-looking skin.

Home Lifestyle Health Vein treatment improves runner’s circulation, energy

Tracy Jed, 44, of New Baltimore, isn’t a typical soccer mom.

While she’s a big supporter of her two soccer-playing sons, 8 and 15, Jed also plays soccer herself and runs, participating in 5K and 10K races with her oldest son and good friends.

About 12 months ago, pain and intense fatigue in her right leg started putting Jed on the bench and sofa.

“My right leg just felt really, really heavy, I could barely cross the finish line anymore,” Jed recalls.

Jed’s primary care physician, Parag Patel, M.D., provided her with a referral to board-certified interventional radiologist, Michael Bischoff, M.D., founder and director of the Beaumont Vein Center in Sterling Heights.

“Tracy’s case wasn’t typical,” says Bischoff, who has more than 20 years of experience performing and interpreting ultrasounds and ultrasound-guided procedures. “Though she was experiencing significant insufficiency in her great, small and intersaphenous veins, she did not have visible varicose veins to indicate this.”

A lower extremity ultrasound revealed Jed’s veins were unable to properly deliver blood from the ankle, lower leg and thigh up toward the heart, due to incompetence of the valves of her saphenous veins, which runs down the leg. Failing vein valves let blood flow backward and pool in her leg, causing poor circulation, pain and fatigue.

Bischoff successfully addressed the problem in May with an endovenous laser ablation. This minimally invasive procedure destroys the damaged vein, causing it to shrink, collapse and disappear. Afterward, the patient wears a support stocking for one week to minimize pain and promote healing.

To eliminate unsightly spider veins — a cosmetic issue, but potentially a sign of underlying venous insufficiency — Jed received sclerotherapy. In this outpatient procedure, a medicine is injected into the vein, causing it to collapse and fade.

“I feel so much better, more energetic, and I can run again,” says Jed, who ran her first 5K in a year on June 24. She also looked forward to returning to the soccer field this summer. “I’m glad I had this procedure done and would recommend it to anyone who wants to continue to enjoy an active lifestyle.”

Vein Center patients such as Tracy usually are able to return to work immediately following their procedure, Bischoff says.

“We make people look a lot better and feel a lot better, with minimal discomfort and the ability to return to their busy lifestyles right away,” he explains.

Treatment plans are developed in a one-on-one physician consultation, based on ultrasound scans, which assess damage. In addition to saphenous ablation, the Beaumont Vein Center, located across the street from Beaumont Hospital in Troy, offers perforating vein ablation, microphlebectomy and ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy.

Endovenous laser vein ablation and most other procedures can be completed in less than an hour and are covered by most insurances. In addition to the Beaumont Vein Center in Sterling Heights, Grosse Pointe Farms and West Bloomfield, Beaumont offers vein treatment in Berkley, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak and Westland.

Swollen, achy legs could be vein disease

Heaviness, achiness, nighttime leg cramps and nighttime urination could be signs of venous disease.

Heaviness, achiness, nighttime leg cramps and nighttime urination could be signs of venous disease.

The swelling and aching in her legs started long before Lynn retired from her career in business development 11 years ago. Aside from gardening, Lynn’s hobbies, including reading and staying active with crafts, kept her sitting for long periods and she noticed her legs were always exhausted by the end of the day.

“I felt like I was carting around concrete blocks because my legs and my ankles would swell,” Lynn recalled. She also experienced cramping, fatigue and trouble sleeping at night.

She reported that she did not have any visible varicose veins, so it did not occur to her that it might be a venous thing. She had other health issues so she kept thinking her symptoms were related to some of her other health issues.

After doing some research on the various causes of her symptoms, Lynn scheduled an appointment to have her venous system evaluated.  She underwent venous insufficiency ultrasound examination, and then sat down with her vein specialist to discuss the ultrasound findings and treatment options.

After 15 years, Lynn finally learned that a very real and potentially serious vein disease was the cause of her swollen and achy legs. More importantly, she learned that she didn’t have to live with it.

Veins are blood vessels that are specially designed to pump blood back toward the heart, against the force of gravity. Inside the veins are a series of one-way valves that open and close with the rhythm of muscle contractions. Healthy valves close tightly, keeping blood moving upward toward the heart.

With vein disease or venous insufficiency, the valves do not close properly. This allows blood to flow backward down the legs and pool in the veins. The pooled blood can lead to bothersome symptoms such as swollen, achy legs or leg cramping, and other signs of progressive venous disease such as varicose veins, and skin changes that can lead to bleeding veins and leg ulcers. These complications are signals that vein disease is present.

Symptoms and signs of venous disease are numerous. Varicose and spider veins are the most common indicator of vein disease. They are the easiest to diagnose. But in the absence of spider or varicose veins and in the presence of other symptoms such as heaviness, achiness, nighttime leg cramps and nighttime urination, a physician should consider the possibility of underlying venous disease. If you have varicose veins, you most likely have venous insufficiency, but someone can have venous insufficiency without presenting varicose veins.

The investigation of venous disease with ultrasound is accurate and noninvasive that it makes sense to be proactive rather than waiting for the disease to progress or for the complications of the disease to develop.

Patients are simply unaware that a disease process is causing their symptoms and, further, that the disease can be treated. More often, patients tend to accept the way their legs feel and attribute the achiness, cramps, swelling, etc. to the normal result of aging, heredity or being on their feet all day.

For Lynn, the turning point was learning that the feelings she was experiencing were not normal and came from a treatable disease. She encourages others to examine their own situations and seek help if they recognize themselves in the symptoms.

“Do not overlook the fact that your ankles are swelling or your legs are swollen and you have dull, aching pain or cramping at night or interrupted sleep,” she suggests. “Do not push that off and say, 'It’s always been like that' or 'I’ve always had that uncomfortable feeling.'”

What Varicose Veins Say About Your Blood Pressure

Varicose veins are caused by high blood pressure within a vein. The unsightly or bulging veins in the legs or pelvis occur when valves in the veins break.

Although the veins become enlarged or twisted, varicose veins aren’t usually a serious medical condition, Johns Hopkins reports. Other symptoms of varicose veins include sores on the legs, rashes, skin color changes, and a heavy or aching feeling in the legs.

"To what extent can varicose veins affect blood pressure and cardiovascular health remains somewhat of a medical mystery," says Vein Specialists of the South. "However, doctors do know that it contributes to blood pressure conditions like venous hypertension and other illnesses that could put a person’s life at risk."

Varicose veins result from venous hypertension, increasing blood pressure in the veins, according to the Illinois Vein Specialists. Valves in the veins normally transport blood from the feet to the heart as the veins are flattened when standing or walking.

However, the valves can break over time in about 25 percent of people. Blood pressure increases in other valves as each valve breaks. Problems result when high blood pressure occurs in most or all of the valves from venous hypertension.

The pressure builds in the branch veins, also affecting larger veins in the leg. The veins can bulge through the skin, causing unsightly varicose veins.

The elevated blood pressure in particular veins damages valves and weakens the walls around the veins, Johns Hopkins notes. 

Some risk factors for varicose veins are the same risks involved in high blood pressure or heart disease. These factors include being overweight or obese, inactivity, smoking, or older age. Leg injuries, pregnancy, or being female also increase the risk for varicose veins.

Self-treatment often helps relieve blood pressure in the veins to reduce swelling or other symptoms. Elevating the legs whenever possible for about 15 minutes throughout the day helps improve blood circulation. Compression stockings squeeze the veins to prevent the pooling of blood.

Doctors can treat varicose veins in some patients by using sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is injected into the varicose veins so other veins take over the job of transporting blood to the heart. Laser treatment can destroy the varicose veins.

Surgery is another option for many patients, especially for cosmetic reasons. Vein stripping removes the varicose veins. Some veins benefit from small incision avulsion, accomplished through small cuts. The high blood pressure veins can also be removed through transilluminated powered phlebectomy, in which a bright light helps to remove veins.

The Dangers Of Leaving Varicose Veins Untreated

Varicose veins are typically seen as unsightly blemishes under the skin. But treating these dilated blood vessels is about more than just appearances. Leaving varicose veins untreated can lead to a variety of serious medical conditions. Most patients with varicose veins report symptoms of itchiness, fatigue, pain and discomfort in the legs, and swelling of the skin. In most cases, these symptoms will only get worse if the patient chooses not to see a medical professional. Individuals that suffer from the condition should take a moment to learn about who to see for varicose veins and the dangers of leaving the condition untreated.

Why It’s Important to Treat Varicose Veins

Every case of varicose veins is different. While some patients will see their symptoms worsen, others could be at risk of coming down with a range of more serious, potentially life-threatening conditions.

• Hyperpigmentation
If left untreated, varicose veins usually result in excess blood leaking into the tissues of the leg. The patient will experience painful swelling and inflammation as parts of their skin become dark and discolored. This condition is known ashyperpigmentation.

When the tissues of the leg are left inflamed for a long period of time, the tissues become firm and heavy. The patient might feel that their legs are becoming increasingly tender, making it more difficult to move or relax. Lipodermatosclerosisis the term used to define the stiffening or hardening of the leg tissues.

Venous Leg Ulcer
Varicose veins usually result in a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. Over time, CVI can result in what’s known as a venous leg ulcer. This is when an area of the skin breaks down to reveal the flesh underneath. Venous leg ulcers tend to get larger over time, leading to increasing discomfort and irritation in the legs.

Spontaneous Bleeding
Varicose veins tend to break down the walls of the skin over time. This brings the varicose veins closer to the surface of the skin. In some cases, the slightest scratch or scrape can lead to excess blood loss. While the bleeding is usually painless, patients may experience significant blood loss if the condition goes untreated.

Superficial Thrombophlebitis
Superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition that involves the inflammation of the veins just beneath the surface of the skin. This results from the weakening of the veins and decreased blood flow. The patient may experience redness of the skin, an increasing tenderness of the vein, as well as ongoing pain or swelling of the legs.

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis is the most serious condition related to varicose veins. DVT usually results in what’s known as a pulling sensation in the legs, stemming from a blood clot. The patient may feel as if their nerves are being pinched with increased redness and swelling in the legs. If the blood clot travels further up the body, the condition could be life-threatening.

While varicose veins can range from mild to severe, those that suffer from the condition should contact a board certified vascular surgeon. If neglected, varicose veins can have major implications for the patient’s health.

Who to See For Varicose Veins

Patients with varicose veins should seek a licensed specialist in their area for an initial evaluation. Only aboard certified vascular surgeon will be able to best determine the severity of the case in question and whether or not additional treatment methods are necessary.

How to Fix Varicose Veins

Treating varicose veins all depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases, the damaged vein is removed entirely using a range of different treatment methods such as endovenouslaser ablationmicro-phlebectomy, or sclerotherapy. Most forms of treatment are relatively painless and can be performed in just a few short appointments.

Who Is at Risk for Varicose Veins?

Many factors may raise your risk for varicose veins, including family history, older age, gender, pregnancy, overweight or obesity, lack of movement, and leg trauma.

Family History

Having family members who have varicose veins may raise your risk for the condition. About half of all people who have varicose veins have a family history of them.

Older Age

Getting older may raise your risk for varicose veins. The normal wear and tear of aging may cause the valves in your veins to weaken and not work well.


Women tend to get varicose veins more often than men. Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause (or with the use of birth control pills) may raise a woman's risk for varicose veins.


During pregnancy, the growing fetus puts pressure on the veins in the mother's legs. Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually get better within 3 to
12 months of delivery.

Overweight or Obesity

Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on your veins. This can lead to varicose veins. For more information about overweight and obesity, go to the Health Topics Overweight and Obesity article.

Lack of Movement

Standing or sitting for a long time, especially with your legs bent or crossed, may raise your risk for varicose veins. This is because staying in one position for a long time may force your veins to work harder to pump blood to your heart.

Leg Trauma

Previous blood clots or traumatic damage to the valves in your veins can weaken their ability to move blood back to the heart, increasing the risk for varicose veins.

How Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?

You can't prevent varicose veins from forming. However, you can prevent the ones you have from getting worse. You also can take steps to delay other varicose veins from forming.

Avoid standing or sitting for long periods without taking a break. When sitting, avoid crossing your legs. Keep your legs raised when sitting, resting, or sleeping. When you can, raise your legs above the level of your heart.

Do physical activities to get your legs moving and improve muscle tone. This helps blood move through your veins.

If you're overweight or obese, try to lose weight. This will improve blood flow and ease the pressure on your veins.

Avoid wearing tight clothes, especially those that are tight around your waist, groin (upper thighs), and legs. Tight clothes can make varicose veins worse.

Avoid wearing high heels for long periods. Lower heeled shoes can help tone your calf muscles. Toned muscles help blood move through the veins.

Wear compression stockings if your doctor recommends them. These stockings create gentle pressure up the leg. This pressure keeps blood from pooling in the veins and decreases swelling in the legs.