Varicose Veins

Learn what’s behind what many consider a cosmetic concern.

Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn more about Varicose Veins
We’ve all seen varicose veins, but should we be worried? The bulging, twisted bluish veins can form on the legs. Many people over age 60 have them. You may not like how they look, but there usually is no cause for concern. 

Veins are pipes that take the blood from different parts of our body back to the heart. At intervals in our veins, valves help move the blood in one direction: toward the heart. Sometimes, the valves in our leg veins may stop working. This condition is called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). As a result, some of the blood stays in our feet and legs, especially when we are standing or sitting for a long time. The increased pressure inside the veins causes these veins to dilate over time and allows blood to leak out into the surrounding tissue. 

These dilated veins underneath the skin are called varicose veins. Not everyone with chronic venous insufficiency will develop visible varicose veins. Many factors can cause varicose veins, such as family history, hormones, pregnancy, obesity and work that involves being on your feet. 

In some cases, varicose veins can cause discomfort and may be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)—a blood clot in a vein deep in your leg. If you notice any unusual swelling in your leg, pain or changes in skin color, you should contact your health care professional. There are things you can do to get rid of varicose veins or keep them from getting worse. Use this condition center to learn more about CVI and varicose veins, create a list of questions to ask your health care professional and get practical tips.  

Varicose Veins News & Events

Study Reveals Paradox of Cigarette Sales in Pharmacies

Oct 31, 2014
Patients at risk of smoking-related diseases often purchase cigarettes at the same pharmacy used to fill prescription medications.

Rapid Weight Loss is Not So Bad, After All

Oct 23, 2014
Gradual vs. rapid weight loss has little impact on long-term weight control.

Healthy Fats Lower Cholesterol, Despite Weight Gain

Oct 23, 2014
Healthy fats help offset the negative impact of weight gain on heart health, finds a recent study.

Keeping Radiation to a Minimum for Heart Patients

Oct 10, 2014
With radiation exposure a hot topic in recent years, here are strategies for enhancing radiation safety in heart imaging.

Childhood Risk Factors Have Lifelong Impact on Heart Health

Oct 10, 2014
Weight and blood pressure during childhood have a long-lasting impact on heart function later in life.

Do You Know Your Heart-Health ABC's?

Sep 24, 2014
Improving heart health just got a little bit simpler, thanks to the ABC’s of heart disease prevention.

Obesity Rates Plateau in U.S., but Waistlines Continue to Expand

Sep 24, 2014
More than half of American adults have abdominal obesity, according to national trends from the last decade.

Self-Management Improves Outcomes for Patients with Heart Valve Implants

Sep 23, 2014
Empowering patients with heart valve implants to manage their own health reduces risk of complications, finds study.

Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Adults

Sep 19, 2014
A recent scientific statement weighed the pros and cons of using tests in healthy individuals between 12-25 years old.

Aspirin Offers Safe, Affordable Option to Prevent Blood Clots

Sep 12, 2014
A new study confirms that aspirin is a safe and effective treatment for patients with a history of venous thromboembolism.

Less Educated Smokers Have Greatest Stroke Risk

Sep 05, 2014
Traditional risk factors for stroke are especially dangerous in poorly educated adults, finds study.

Weight Watchers and Atkins Equally as Effective

Sep 05, 2014
There’s little difference between trademarked diet programs, finds new study.

Coca-Cola Family Track Walk in Richmond, VA

Aug 29, 2014
A fellow of the American College of Cardiology will be at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6 to share tips on heart health and the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Heart Group Says E-Cigarettes Require Strict Regulation

Aug 28, 2014
Electronic cigarettes should be included in smoke-free air laws, according to the American Heart Association.

Folic Acid Deficiency Rare in U.S.

Aug 19, 2014
Study finds folic acid deficiency is extremely rare, making routine tests unnecessary in the general population.

All-in-One Pill to Prevent Heart Disease?

Aug 08, 2014
A polypill to prevent heart disease has the potential to save millions of lives, according to experts.

Staying Active and Reducing Sedentary Time Key to Combating Obesity

Aug 08, 2014
Study finds that increasing physical activity and limiting sedentary time is the best combination for obesity prevention.

Sitting Too Much Diminishes Fitness Level

Aug 08, 2014
No matter how much you may exercise, sitting for long periods of time reduces fitness, finds study.

Reducing Risk of Heart Complications During Surgery

Aug 01, 2014
New guidelines help doctors and patients make the best possible decisions related to non-cardiac surgery.

Reducing Health Disparities in Hispanics and Latinos

Jul 31, 2014
Hispanics in the U.S. face dramatic health disparities, according to a recently-released statement.

Short Runs May Help Adults Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Jul 29, 2014
According to a recent study, running just 5-10 minutes a day could have significant health benefits.

Heat Stroke, Not Sudden Cardiac Death, is Top Threat for Marathon Runners

Jul 28, 2014
Long distance running involves a slightly increased risk of death, with heat stroke being the main cause, finds study.

Minding Your Portions

Jul 28, 2014
Committing to a heart-healthy diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke or repeat events. This includes watching what you put on your plate.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Encouraged to Increase Seafood Consumption

Jun 24, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recently updated guidelines regarding seafood consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Heart Events Worsen Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Jun 23, 2014

Study highlights importance of heart disease prevention for patients with chronic kidney disease.

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