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Varicose Veins
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Varicose Veins Etymology

The word varicose comes from the Latin root varix (pl. varices), which means "twisted".

Varicose Veins

With up to 60% of Americans affected, varicose veins are among the most common health problems today. There are simple, do-it-yourself measures that can help prevent the development or slow the progress of varicose veins. In certain cases, removal of varicose veins by a specialist is necessary. This article is an overview of causes, symptoms and treatment options for varicose veins.

Causes of Varicose Veins

In most cases, varicose veins develop in the superficial veins of the lower extremities. This has led doctors to think that they are the result of valve failure at the level where superficial veins connect to deep veins in the muscle of the legs. As gravitation creates higher pressure in the lower extremities when we stand or sit, blood backflows and pools into the superficial veins where the valve defects are present. In time, this leads to dilatation of the vein, with subsequent malfunction of the valve below, creating a sort of domino effect that leads to progression of varicose veins in time.

Here is a nice illustration of varicose vein development according to this theory.

This theory does not explain why some people don't develop varicose veins despite the fact that they spend a lot of time on their feet. This reality has led some experts to come up with another theory on varicose veins development. According to this theory, in order for varicose veins to develop, one has to have a predisposition in the form of weaker venous walls.

In reality both theories hold some truth.

Varicose Veins Risk Factors

There are several factors that have been found to increase the risk of varicose veins development:

Varicose Veins Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of varicose veins are: In more advanced stages, varicose veins can cause:

Can I Prevent Varicose Veins?

Although there is no foolproof method of preventing varicose veins, there are certain things you can do to decrease your risk: As you can see, the main idea is to improve blood circulation and muscle tone in the lower extremities.

I Have Varicose Veins. What Treatment Options Are Available?

A word of caution first. The market is full of true and self-declared specialists offering a wide array of treatments for varicose veins, all claiming their product or technique or approach is the best, with permanent results, no side effects and, or course, no pain. The best advice is if it sounds too beautiful to be true, probably it isn't... This being said, there are several proven therapies for varicose veins, some of which can be done on an outpatient basis. One last word: even though the above treatments are, in general, very effective, varicose veins tend to reoccur, especially if the preventive measures listed above are not employed

For more information, here is an excellent interactive tutorial on varicose veins.

Dr Gily

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