Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted and bulging veins that are most often found under the skin of the calf and thigh. Approximately 30 percent of American men and women suffer from varicose veins, dramatically affecting how they look and feel.

Varicose veins develop in the superficial veins that return blood to the heart from the legs. They range in severity from little or no complications to ulcerations of the skin. They may cause discomfort but usually pose little threat to your health.

Varicose veins often run in families, and four times more women than men develop them. Aging, obesity and having a sedentary lifestyle are also risk factors.

Some people have no symptoms other than the outward appearance of the viens. However, if you experience any of the following, you might want to talk with your doctor:

  • Aching pain
  • Easily tired legs
  • Leg heaviness
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Darkening of the skin (in severe cases)
  • Numbness in the legs
  • Itching or irritated rash in the legs

Mercy vascular specialists provide a comprehensive approach to the diagnosis, treatment and management of varicose veins. Our vascular team will discuss surgical and non-surgical treatments that could help you look and feel better.

How are varicose veins diagnosed?

Varicose veins are easy to see, especially when you stand up. Your doctor will check your legs for tender areas, swelling, skin color changes, sores and other signs of skin breakdown. After giving you a thorough exam, your doctor might request a Doppler ultrasound to check the blood flow through your veins.

How are varicose veins treated?

You may be able to treat some varicose veins on your own. You can:

  • Wear compression stockings
  • Prop up (elevate) your legs
  • Avoid long periods of sitting or standing
  • Get plenty of exercise

Treatments to minimize, close off or remove veins include:

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