Varicose Veins

These are the swollen or stretched veins that protrude from the skin like small sections of rope. Normally, veins direct oxygen-poor blood back to the heart and lungs to become oxygen-enriched. Healthy veins function as one-way valves that keep the blood moving in the right direction. Sometimes a vein may become incompetent, allowing blood to leak back down, away from the heart and lungs, and pool in the leg. This “varicose vein” becomes enlarged, causing congestion within the vein. This congestion can result in fatigue, swelling, throbbing, heaviness, aching, restlessness in the legs, cramping at night, and itching and burning of the skin. In advanced cases, these problems can lead to skin rash, pigmentation changes, inflammation, ulceration, and bleeding.

Reticular Veins

These are somewhat smaller than varicose veins and their function is to carry blood to the capillaries in your skin, rather than back to the heart and lungs for oxygen. They have thin walls that expand under excessive pressure. Though they are large enough to be unsightly, they are not technically classified as “varicose” veins.

Spider Veins

These are small blood vessels near the skin's surface which are actually enlarged capillaries, and appear as unsightly small red, blue, or purple lines or web-like discolorations. Usually less than two millimeters in diameter, they are sometimes raised from the surface of your skin. Some symptoms are pain in the legs, throbbing, itching, cramping and restlessness.

 

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