Varicose Veins (cont.)

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What are varicose vein symptoms?

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Many people with varicose veins do not have any physical symptoms. They may, however, have concerns over the cosmetic appearance of the varicose veins.

Symptoms of varicose veins may include:

Some people may complain of a dull ache and pressure sensation from varicose veins.

Some less common, but more severe symptoms of varicose veins may include bleeding, thrombophlebitis (formation of a blood clot within the varicose vein), skin ulceration and a weeping oozing dermatitis or stasis dermatitis. In long standing venous disease, the skin may become fibrotic and scarred, forming an inverted "hourglass" appearance. These complications of varicose veins should be evaluated by a doctor promptly.

How are varicose veins evaluated (diagnosed)?

Evaluation of varicose veins includes a thorough general physical examination by a doctor. This will include asking about any family history of varicose veins, the duration and presence of any symptoms, and any worsening or expansion of the varicose veins. The individual's height, weight, and other medical conditions need to be noted as well.

In addition, general inspection and palpation (feeling the veins) and evaluation for the presence of any bleeding or ulceration also is typically performed.

Standing up for about 5 to 10 minutes can make the veins more visible, and this may further aid the doctor in assessing the extent of the varicose veins.

Can ultrasound be used to evaluate varicose veins?

Duplex ultrasound visualization is very useful in evaluating of the venous system. Ultrasound can help in delineating the presence of any defective veins and pinpoint those that require intervention. Doppler ultrasound (a device which can detect and measure blood flow) may also provide additional information such as the competency of and flow through the valves in the perforating and the deeper veins. This information is especially necessary if surgery or other procedures are being considered.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/15/2014

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