What Is Varicose Vein

Varix implies abnormal enlargement of leg veins that are located immediately beneath the skin.

Veins of legs carry deoxygenated or dark blood toward lungs and heart against the gravity force in order to oxygenate blood. Veins have valves in the lumen in order to facilitate blood flow toward heart and to prevent backflow. Contraction of leg muscles and those valves ensure that blood flows toward the heart. When those valves are damaged, blood creates backflow pressure that is induced by gravity force and results in varicose formation in superficial veins.

Standing for long periods of time, genetic predisposition and abnormal body weight in women are recognized risk factors of the condition. Prevalence of the condition is 20 to 40% in general population and varicose veins are a significant public health problem that influences quality of life.
Varicose vein disease causes leg pain, poor exercise capacity of legs and heavy feeling in your legs that worsen gradually during day time. Patients may require sitting and elevating legs in the afternoon in order to ease symptoms. Those symptoms may develop, even if there is no varicose vein that can be seen by naked eye. If the condition is left untreated, it can progress and cause formation of clots. Advanced stage conditions are associated with color changes of skin and wounds (skin ulcers). Wounds secondary to varicose vein are seen in 1% of adults aged >60. It should be absolutely taken into consideration and the treatment should not be neglected.

Damaged valves and backflow pressure (venous insufficiency) result in varicose formations that vary in size. Although scientific articles report various classifications, there are roughly three types of varices.

1. Large varices: These are varicose veins that are evidently bulging and measuring 4 to 15 mm in diameter.
2. Middle-sized varicose veins: These are varicose veins that are mildly bulging, are green in color and measure 2 to 4 mm in diameter.
3.  Capillary varicose veins: Those varicose formations do not cause bulging, appear red to purple in color and measure smaller than 1 to 2 mm.