"Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins, usually found on legs. Excessive pressure on the veins, especially when standing and sitting, is the main reason for the enlargement of these superficial veins, but heredity also seems to have a major role.
Since legs are the farthest extremity from the heart, it requires extra effort to pump the blood up the veins in the leg and back into the heart against gravity. This is done by the calf muscles. There are paired valves in these veins to prevent backflow of the blood, but as the veins lose their elasticity and become dilated, these valves fail. This results in blood getting pooled in the veins, causing them to twist and bulge out.
Varicose veins are seen more often in women and in people who have to work in a standing position for long hours. Pregnancy and obesity worsen the condition since they put extra strain on the legs. Unless accompanied by pain, severe itching, ulceration, or eczema, varicose veins are often considered merely a cosmetic problem. Occasionally it could be associated with another serious condition called deep vein thrombosis, in which case, immediate medical intervention may be necessary."
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