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Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that can occur anywhere in the body, but are most commonly found in the legs. While not considered a serious medical condition, they can cause legs to ache or swell and can look unsightly. Spider veins are a milder, smaller type of varicose veins that tend to look like a "spider web."

The most common places to find spider veins are on the face and legs, just under the skin. Both spider and varicose veins are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins. This can occur if valves in the veins become weakened or damaged. Vein problems are typically hereditary, although other factors that can affect them include:

  • Pregnancy, hormones, or birth control pills
  • Sitting for prolonged periods of time or being inactive
  • Being overweight
  • Age
  • Injury

Although varicose and spider veins can be harmless, if veins become hard, change in color, or develop open wounds or continuous swelling, seek immediate medical attention.