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Health Conditions Related to Varicose Veins

Varicose veins usually enlarge and worsen over time. In severe cases, they can cause health problems. These include:
  • Severe venous insufficiency. This severe pooling of blood in the veins slows the return of blood to the heart. This condition can cause blood clots and severe infections. Blood clots can be dangerous, because they can move from leg veins and travel to the lungs. Blood clots in the lungs are life-threatening, because they can keep the heart and lungs from functioning properly.
  • Sores or skin ulcers can occur on skin tissue around varicose veins.
  • Ongoing irritation, swelling, and painful rashes on the legs.


Current treatments for varicose veins have high success rates compared to traditional surgical treatments. Over a period of years, however, more varicose veins can develop. The major reason for this is that there is no cure for weak vein valves.
The single most important thing a person can do to slow down the development of new varicose veins is to wear graduated compression support stockings as much as possible during the day.

Preventing Varicose Veins

Prevention of varicose veins begins by:
  • Knowing the risk factors and the ones that apply to you (see Cause of Varicose Veins)
  • Making lifestyle changes to decrease your risk factors
  • Improving blood circulation and muscle tone.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, preventing varicose veins is easier said than done; they can do all the right things, but there are still risk factors that they cannot control. With that said, if varicose veins do develop, the strategies discussed in Prevention of Varicose Veins can also help ease discomfort you already have.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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