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What are Varices?

Venous insufficiency hinders the return of the blood from the feet to the heart. In this case, experts speak of a primary varicose disease or a primary varicosis.

What are Varices?

Varicose veins, also called varices, are nodular, blue shimmering, dilated veins, most of which are twisting or branched on the surface of the skin. Varicose vein disease is also called varicosity. Although they can be found in about 90% of all cases on the legs, in principle, in almost all regions of the body, the varicosities can develop into varicose veins. For example, in patients with cirrhosis of the liver, dilated veins occasionally form under the mucosal lining of the esophagus. Other examples include varices in the labia and pubic area.

Varicose veins are extremely common

Varicosities are among the most common diseases in the US. Between 50 and 80% of the population have vein changes of varying severity. About 25-50% of these people suffer from a slight varicose vein, and about 5-15% of those cases are advanced.

Women are three times more likely to be affected by varicose problems than men. At a higher age, the suffering occurs more frequently. In about 95% of those affected, varicosities arise from an unknown cause, probably due to a congenital or age-related weakness of the venous walls and/or venous valves.

Venous insufficiency hinders the return of the blood from the feet to the heart. In this case, experts speak of a primary varicose disease or a primary varicosis.

Secondary venous insufficiency

Secondary varicosities occur when blood flow in the venous system, for example, by thrombosis, is affected. The venous valves are damaged due to thromboses or tumors. This issue leads to the blood being redirected into the body’s superficial veins, which are thereby overstressed.

In the initial stage, varices are primarily a cosmetic problem. In the next stage, affected individuals suffer from primary symptoms, such as a feeling of heaviness or tiredness in the legs and nocturnal leg cramps. At this point, they are no longer just a blemish but require further medical examination and possibly extensive treatment. Varicose veins do not regress automatically.

Risk factors

Various factors may favor the formation of varicose veins. A weakness of the vein walls and valves may be hereditary as the predominant cause of primary varicose vein disease. Also, the congenital absence of the venous valves can cause the formation of varicose veins. Other risk factors can promote the development of varicose veins, some of which are listed below.

General physical inactivity and prolonged standing or sitting can result in low activation of the calf muscles. Also, gravity counteracts the return of blood to the heart and promotes the formation of varices