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Varicose Veins and Venous Disease


Mitar Vranic, D.O. Vascular Surgeon, Western Vascular Institute at Banner Heart Hospital    

Question: I have varicose veins on my thighs, calves and ankles. My friend told me they could be a sign of a more serious vascular problem. What causes varicose veins?

Answer: It is estimated that at least half of the adult population are bothered by varicose veins or spider veins. These are swollen, twisted and sometimes painful veins that have filled with an abnormal collection of blood. Many factors increase a person's chances of developing varicose veins. These include:

  • Age
  • Diet
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes, including pregnancy
  • Leg injury
  • Lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged standing
  • Sun exposure
  • Other things that weaken vein valves 

Question: How can they be prevented?

Answer: Not all varicose and spider veins can be prevented; however, some things can reduce your chances of getting new varicose veins and/or can help ease discomfort from the ones you already have. Things such as regular exercise, weight control, wearing sunscreen, avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time and eating a low-sodium diet rich in high-fiber foods can help control varicose veins.

Question: How can they be treated?

Answer: Varicose veins usually do not need medical treatment; however, severe varicose veins could be a sign of a more serious vascular problem. Severe varicose veins often become swollen, red or very tender to the touch. It is best to be evaluated by a vascular specialist if you have any questions.


Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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