For many people, varicose veins are a cosmetic issue. For others, they’re a painful medical condition. If you suffer from these twisted, enlarged veins, you might be wondering why they developed.

The Basics

The hallmark of varicose veins is their gnarled, oversized appearance. They usually appear dark blue, red or purple. According to the Mayo Clinic, while any vein can turn into a varicose vessel, typical candidates are in the legs and the feet.

After arteries carry blood from the heart to destinations throughout the body, veins carry it back to the heart. A varicose vein develops when a valve in a vessel becomes weak or damaged, causing blood to leak back and pool in the vein. This condition is called venous insufficiency. The pooled blood enlarges the vein, setting the stage for it to become varicose.

As many as 60 percent of U.S. residents experience varicose veins, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. According to, half of the people at least 50 years old suffer from them. If home care isn’t successful, the doctors at the Turlock Vein Clinic typically recommend treatment.

One potential complication is dermatitis, which can result in an itchy rash or skin ulcers. Varicose veins can also lead to thrombophlebitis, a blood clot in a vein that requires treatment by Modesto vein doctors.

The days of routinely stripping varicose veins are in the past. Merced vein treatment now includes a number of options to treat them.

Risk Factors

Many factors boost the risk for developing varicose or spider veins. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute cites these typical risk factors:

  • Age. Risk rises due to the normal wear and tear associated with aging that weakens valves.
  • Gender. Women develop varicose veins more often than men do. Some people link hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, birth control pills or menopause to this condition.
  • Family history. Around 50 percent of patients have a family history of the condition.
  • Weight. A vein doctor will advise patients that being obese or even overweight exerts added pressure on veins and makes them varicose.
  • Pregnancy. Fetal pressure affects veins in the mother’s legs. Fortunately, pregnancy-related varicose veins usually improve within 3 to 12 months after the birth of the baby.
  • Insufficient movement. Standing or even sitting for long periods elevates risk. People who bend or cross their legs have even more risk. Remaining in one position for an extended time can force veins to go into overdrive in order to pump blood to the heart.


When it comes to varicose veins, the goal of a vein doctor is relieving symptoms, preventing complications and improving the patient’s appearance. Patterson vascular surgeons are highly trained in the latest diagnostic and vein treatment techniques.

Duplex ultrasound allows a vein doctor to see veins not highly visible on the skin’s surface. This pinpoints the mapping of a patient’s varicose veins. Several types of convenient and non-invasive therapy are available for these veins, including VNUS ClosureFAST, a popular and minimally invasive treatment.