Problems with unsightly veins are very common with nearly two thirds of people over the age of 60 suffering from some kind of venous problem, especially varicose veins and spider veins. Indeed the incidence of varicose veins and other venous issues increases significantly after the age of 40 and women are much more likely to develop them than men.
Varicose veins occur when veins do not properly return blood from the lower leg to the heart. All veins have valves that open to allow the flow of blood to the heart and close to prevent back flow (know as "reflux") of blood to the foot. When valves fail to function properly, blood leaks through and flows down the leg in the wrong direction. The blood overfills and distends the superficial veins under the skin, resulting in the bulging seen in varicose veins.
When varicose veins become severe it is referred to as chronic venous insufficiency. Symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include: aching pain, easy leg fatigue, and leg heaviness - all of which worsen as the day progresses. Left untreated, chronic venous insufficiency can cause ulcerations, which can be very difficult to treat.
A service of Maine Coast Memorial Hospital