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Varicose Veins: Under the Surface: April 18, 2011

They come in all shapes and sizes and no matter what they may look like, varicose veins can cause some people to cover up.

Lee Memorial Health System vascular surgeon, Dr. John Moss says if anything, show them to your physician. "There's usually an underlying medical problem that's caused these veins to start bulging and become painful and that's the venious insufficiency, where the valves are not functioning so there usually is an underlying medical problem," says, Dr. Moss.

Varicose veins form when some of the blood flowing to the heart leaks back downward into the lower part of the legs. That blood then pools and that's what forms the discoloration and swelling. "When you start seeing some of the symptoms of varicose veins, wearing a good elastic compression, stockings, or support hose really will help keep some of the swelling down in the legs and keep the blood moving so it's not becoming stagnant which can lead to worsening the varicose veins and bulging and pain."

Varicose veins can leave legs tired and achy. So, if you see one starting to form, does that mean others will follow? "It doesn't mean others necessarily have to come, but it's already a sign that you have the underlying problems that are leading to varicose veins which are the venous pressure and the pooling of the blood in the lower extremity that can lead to more veins starting to show up," explains Dr. Moss.

One way to reduce the risk of varicose veins is to eat a low-sodium diet and do exercises that can enhance blood flow in your legs such as walking. And do not stand or sit in one location for a long period of time.