Varicose veins are frequently occurring condition and increases with age, being present in more than half the population by age 65 years. It is estimated that up to 40% of women and 20% of men are likely to suffer from symptoms such as unsightly blue veins, fatigue, pain and swelling related to varicose veins.
Most varicose vein disease is caused by elevated superficial venous pressure, but some people have an inborn weakness of vein walls and can develop varicosities even in the absence of elevated venous pressures. Such patients also have abnormally dispensable veins in the forearm and hand.
Varicose and spider veins are the visible surface manifestation of an underlying syndrome of "venous insufficiency". In venous insufficiency syndrome venous blood does not flow normally towards the heart but flows in a downward direction into an already congested leg. This increased blood flow causes the veins to distend and bulge on the surface as spider and varicose veins.
Most patients with venous insufficiency have subjective symptoms that may vary from very mild to very severe. Mild forms of venous insufficiency are merely uncomfortable, annoying, or cosmetically disfiguring, but severe venous disease can produce severe consequences that may include pain, soreness, burning, aching, throbbing, cramping, muscle fatigue, and "restless legs."
Over time, chronic venous insufficiency eventually produces chronic skin and soft tissue changes that begin with mild swelling. The syndrome eventually progresses to include discoloration, inflammatory dermatitis, recurrent or chronic cellulitis, ulceration, and even malignant degeneration. Chronic non healing leg ulcers, recurrent phlebitis, and variceal bleeding are serious problems that are caused by venous insufficiency and can be relieved by the correction of venous insufficiency.
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