Australian and New Zealand Society of Phlebology

What are varicose veins?

Veins are vessels which are designed to carry de-oxygenated blood back to the heart from the tissues of the body. Varicose veins, however, are abnormally dilated veins that cannot perform their function.

Varicose veins are larger veins that bulge above the skin surface which are commonly found in association with larger and deeper vein problems. If there is a deeper vein problem can be detected at an initial examination.

Dilated blood vessels often cause aching especially after prolonged standing. Although dilated blood vessels do carry blood they are not very efficient and are often not necessary to the circulatory system. The body has an already established alternative route for the blood to travel back more efficiently to the heart (deep venous system).

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