Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have varicose veins?"
I?m 40 years old and have noticed that some of the veins on my legs have become darker than they used to be. Is this varicose veins? What causes them and is there anything I can do so I don?t get any more?
Varicose veins is a term used to describe veins in the legs which are stretched out and large and create small bumps in the legs. They occur when the valves within the veins of the legs wear out over time and allow gravity to pull blood down to the feet. They tend to be worse in women and in people who stand most of the day because of their job. The classic example is a full time cashier who stands all day and has large varicose veins. Your veins getting darker may be a sign that they are becoming varicose, but not necessarily. Veins that are darker are not necessarily larger which is what is commonly seen when veins get stretched out. Treatment for varicose veins starts with keeping the blood that pools in the legs moving towards the heart. This may involve frequent elevation of the legs, and the use of compressive stockings that squeeze the veins and force blood up the leg. Other treatments such as laser ablation and surgical stripping can be tried if nothing else works. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your legs closely and determine if what you have is varicose or soon-to-be varicose veins. From there, you can discuss treatment if necessary.
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