How do I know if I have vein disease?

Fortunately, most vein disease can be seen by looking at the size and color of the vein at the skin surface. In some cases, however, the diseased vein may be deeper in the body and not visible through the skin. As a result, paying close attention to other symptoms is important in diagnosing vein disease. Many patients with vein disease experience cramping, aching, burning, itching, soreness or "tired" or "restless" legs, especially in the calf muscles. If you experience these symptoms, your physician can quickly and easily perform a test to determine if you have vein disease.

How common is vein disease?

Vein disease of the legs is one of the most common medical conditions. Approximately half of the population has some form of vein disease. Varicose veins affect between 15-25% of all adults, and approximately 50% of all people over age 50. Women have a higher incidence of vein disease than men.

How does vein disease occur?

The single most important cause of vein disease is heredity. Approximately 70% of all patients with varicose veins have parents with the same condition. Pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies, is a contributing cause of vein disease. Other factors influencing vein disease are age, obesity and jobs which require long periods of standing.

Can vein disease be prevented?

Generally no. If you have a family history of vein disease, there is nothing you can do to change your genes. Being overweight can accelerate the progression of vein disease, and long periods of standing can also add to the problem. Diet and footwear are generally believed to be irrelevant in the formation of vein disease.

How can I get more information on varicose veins?

More information on varicose veins can be found at www.veins.nu. As always, for information on your specific condition, ask your physician.