Believe it or not, 60 percent of adults have varicose veins - those jagged, swollen, bluish/purple cords that spread across our thighs and calves.
For some, they can be unsightly nuisances, but for many others, they're downright painful. There are ways to treat them, but first, you've got to understand what causes them.
If you suffer from varicose veins, you'll want to read this:
Spider Veins VS. Varicose Veins - there's a difference
Many people confuse spider veins with varicose veins, but they are definitely not the same thing. Spider veins are small, twisted blood vessels that appear through the skin as red, purple or blue. You'll see that they look like a little spiderweb and can form on the face and legs.
Varicose Veins are large blood vessels that become swollen and twisted. Although they develop anywhere on the body, they usually appear on the legs and ankles. They are dark blue and stick out prominently from the skin.
What causes them?
Our veins have valves in them that permit the blood to flow in the right direction. Muscles contract our veins and help them to pump blood to the heart.
When there is a problem with the muscles, valves or the blood itself, the flow is interrupted and blood pools inside the vein. When this happens, pressure builds up and the vein begins to bulge and twist.