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Twisted vein distended with blood. Varix also covers arteries and lymphatic vessels (seelymphatic system). Varicose veins occur mostly in the legs, when malfunctioning valves let blood pool in veins near the skin. Causes include hereditary valve and vein wall weakness and internal or external pressure on veins. Varices are common in pregnancy, suggesting that hormone abnormalities play a role. Symptoms include a heavy feeling, with leg cramps and swelling after standing a long time. Complications include skin ulcers and thrombosis. Treatment involves strong support hose, injection therapy, or surgery. Varices in the esophagus, which often occur in liver disease, can ulcerate and bleed. See alsohemorrhoid.
Variants of VARICOSE VEIN
varicose vein or varix
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on varicose vein, visit Britannica.com.