About Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red or flesh-colored. They are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted, bulging chords. If left untreated, varicose veins can progress to a more serious form of vein (venous) disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Given the prevailing misunderstanding that varicose veins are only a cosmetic issue, only 1.9 million of the more than 30 million Americans who suffer from varicose veins or CVI seek treatment.1, 2, 3, *
Many people misunderstand the causes, risks and treatments for varicose veins. Take a short quiz to find out how much you really know about varicose veins and CVI.
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur when the valves in the leg veins no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs.
What are the signs and symptoms of CVI?
If varicose veins are left untreated, they can progress to a more serious form of venous disease called CVI and result in signs and symptoms that worsen over time, including pain, swelling, restlessness4 and fatigue of the legs, as well as skin damage and ulcers in more severe cases. Those with the disease may experience symptoms that make walking and everyday tasks difficult.
See below for images of varicose veins and the signs and symptoms of CVI.5
Who is at risk for CVI?
Individuals with untreated varicose veins are at risk for developing CVI, as the signs and symptoms can progress and become more serious over time. CVI can occur at any age; however, increased age is a risk factor. CVI tends to be more prevalent in women who have been pregnant, those who have a family history of the condition, or those whose jobs require prolonged standing.6, 7
What can you do?
As varicose veins are often misunderstood as a cosmetic problem, many people living with them do not seek treatment. The good news is that there are minimally-invasive treatment options available for varicose veins and CVI that are covered by many insurance plans. These treatments address the condition before it progresses further, allowing for a short, comfortable recovery and a quick return to everyday activities.