All about veins

 

Problems with veins of the leg and face are very common with 70% of adults affected to varying degrees.

 

 

Varicose veins

 

These are the lumpy veins that people develop in the leg. They form if the valves in the veins stop working properly, putting extra pressure on the veins just below the skin. Over time these veins stretch up to form varicose veins that appear most commonly on the calf and sometimes in the thigh. As varicose veins progress they become more tortuous and twisted. They appear blue in colour.

 

They may not cause any symptoms but people often complain of heavy achy legs, especially after standing for some time. Sometimes they may be painful and cause skin changes (itching, brownish discolouration, inflammation) which may eventually lead to ulcers.

 

 

Reticular veins

 

These are large blue veins seen under the skin but they do not bulge out to the same degree as varicose veins. They are often associated with thread veins.

 

 

Thread veins

 

These are alo known as spider veins or telangiectasia and are very common in women. They are the very small blue or red veins affecting the legs or face. These are mainly a cosmetic issue and so are not treated in the NHS. Rarely, they may be painful.