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Vein Facts

  • Varicose (derived from the Latin root “varix” which means twisted) simply means swollen.

  • 25 million Americans have varicose veins. The incidence of varicose veins increases with age in men and women.
  • Varicose veins indicate that there is high pressure in the veins. This is called venous insufficiency or venous hypertension.
  • Varicose veins result when the 1-way valves become faulty causing a blood build-up in the veins. This stretches, enlarges and widens the veins.
  • Varicose veins can cause aching, burning, heaviness, tiredness, cramps and itching in the legs or they may not cause any pain at all.
  • Though deeper varicose veins are not visible, the skin above them may darkened and swell. In severe cases, varicose veins can burst or develop open sores (ulcers).
  • Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body while veins carry blood back to the heart. There are more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels within the body.
  • Hormonal changes occurring during pregnancy increase the severity of varicose veins.
  • Risks factors for the development of varicose veins include family history, pregnancy, and lack of mobility, specifically prolonged standing.
  • A varicose vein patient has a 30% risk during his or her lifetime of experiencing clotting of the varicosities, which is termed superficial thrombophlebitis, an acute painful inflammatory condition.
  • Spider veins are more common in women especially along the sides of the thighs. These may begin to develop in teenage years.
  • Spider veins are commonly thought not to cause symptoms, but patients often complain of pain or burning especially when standing.
  • Spider veins are more common in women than in men. They usually occur on the legs or face.
  • It is estimated that 20% of American women and 7% of American men suffer from venous disease.
  • At least 20% of patients with venous disease will develop leg ulcers.
  • The risk of developing varicose veins is 20% if neither parent had varicose veins, 47% if one parent had varicose veins, and 89% if both parents had varicose veins.
  • Exercise reduces varicose vein symptoms such as aching and heaviness of the legs.
  • “Travelers Thrombosis” or deep venous system clots that are associated with long air flights, car trips, or other prolonged relative immobilization of the legs can be prevented by periodic leg exercises and wearing graduated compression stockings during these times.
  • The prevalence of varicose veins in the adult western world population exceeds 20%.
  • In the USA the direct medical cost of chronic venous disease is estimated to be between $150 million and $1 billion annually.
  • Active venous ulcerations of the leg occur in up to 0.5% of the adult Western world population.
  • Modern minimally invasive procedures for varicose veins have replaced the “stripping” operations; patients having the minimally invasive procedures experience less pain, quicker healing, and more rapid return to usual activities

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