Varicose Veins and Other Vein Disorders

Basic Facts

Varicose veins are veins that have filled with more blood than is usual. This causes the veins to become swollen and sometimes painful. As many as one in every two people over the age of 50 is affected by varicose veins. 

Varicose veins happen most often on your calves or inside of your legs and bulge above the skin’s surface. Varicose veins are usually dark purple or blue in color, and may look “ropey” or twisted. Smaller varicose veins may be thin and red rather than purple and swollen.  These are called “spider veins.”

Other Vein Problems

A blockage in a vein can occur close to the surface of your skin, and this is called superficial thrombophlebitis. Blockages can also happen in veins deeper inside your body. In this case, the condition is called deep vein thrombosis.

Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention.
Updated: July 2017