What are varicose veins? - Skin Medical
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What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are diseased veins which fail to function properly. When the valves within the vein become damaged/defective, the blood flows backwards and causes swelling. As the valve within the vein is overtaken with the pressure from the body’s increasing requirement to supply blood, the affected veins start to swell. Consequently, the diseased leg veins have an insufficient capacity to fulfil their task of bringing blood back towards the heart.

A varicose vein occurs when a section of a previously healthy vein develops thinner walls, allowing the vein to permanently swell, buckle and twist. This weaker vein fills with blood that struggles to navigate around the distorted vein. They normally cause discomfort and appear unsightly. Varicose veins can be present in one or both legs.

The vein enlarges under pressure from an increased demand for blood to circulate and the added pressure prompts more swelling leading to a vicious cycle that cannot repair itself.

The varicose vein often presents itself as painful dull ache that visibly projects itself towards the skin surface in your leg, resulting in unsightly blue coloured vein appearing. As the varicose vein enlarges it will contain larger volumes of blood, thus putting even greater pressure on the valve below. When the pressure on a vein becomes too much, the valve which operates as a pump for the blood starts to fail. When that valve does fail there is even more pressure applied to the next valve so it eventually fails too.

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