Varicose Veins (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Who gets varicose and spider veins?

Varicose and spider veins can occur in men or women of any age, but most frequently affect women in the childbearing years and older people. Varicose veins are very common. Some estimates suggest that about 10% to 15% of men and most older women who have varicose or spider veins.

A family history of varicose veins and older age increase one's tendency to develop varicose and spider veins.

Other risk factors include:

What causes varicose and spider veins?

The causes of varicose and spider veins are not entirely understood. In some instances, the absence or weakness of valves in the veins may cause poor venous circulation (blood flow in the veins) and lead to varicose veins. Valves inside veins normally act to ensure that blood in the veins does not flow in a backward direction (retrograde) away from the large (deep) veins and the heart. They are mainly located in perforating veins and some deep veins.

In other cases, weaknesses in the vein walls may cause pooling of the blood. The walls of the blood vessels can become weaker and less competent than normal, causing the volume of blood in the veins to increase, thus leading to varicose veins.

Less commonly, varicose veins are caused by such diseases as:

  • phlebitis (inflammation of the veins),
  • blood clots or any obstruction to blood flow in the veins, or
  • congenital abnormalities of the veins.

Venous disease (disease of the veins) is generally progressive and may not be prevented entirely. However, in some cases, wearing support hosiery, maintaining a normal weight, and regular exercise may be beneficial.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/3/2012

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Varicose Veins - Treatments Question: What treatments have been effective in treating or preventing varicose veins?
Varicose Veins - Symptoms Question: Besides their appearance, what symptoms were associated with your varicose veins?
Varicose Veins - Surgery Experience Question: Have you had a surgical procedure to treat your varicose veins? Please share your experience.
Varicose Veins - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with varicose veins.

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!