VARICOSE VEINS are enlarged, twisted ugly looking veins. Varicose veins can occur in any part of the body but are more commonly seen in the lower extremities. In its milder variant, the spider and reticular veins are more superficial, spider web unsightly looking veins.
VARICOSE VEINS are benign conditions and seldom cause any serious problems. Reasons for consultation include cosmetic appearance, functional limitation and leg ulcer. Aesthetically, the bulging or superficial ugly looking veins may eventually cause embarrassment particularly for women. Progressive leg heaviness and leg swelling may lead to functional limitation compromising activity and productivity. Skin changes such as the hyperpigmentation, skin thickening (lipodermatosclerosis) and/or chronic leg ulcer are mere consequence of severe chronic venous insufficiency identified as most common cause of leg vein varicosities. These then lead to more problems.
In chronic venous insufficiency, also called as chronic venous reflux, the venous blood flow becomes bi direction instead of the normal uni-direction flow. This change in flow direction is commonly due to vein valve defect. The normal functioning vein valves prevent backflow or reflux of blood flow and promote a smooth blood flow towards the heart. Chronic venous reflux is a very common vascular problem. Although the varicose veins are more common (higher prevalence and incidence) compared to coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease and/or stroke, it is usually taken for granted.