Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctors: What can I do about varicose veins?

Q. Varicose veins make my legs look terrible. Is there anything I can do to prevent these ugly veins from getting worse or, preferably, make them go away?

A. Varicose veins occur in about 25% of adults. They represent a failure of the veins to keep blood flowing toward the heart. There is a genetic component to varicose veins, but other risk factors include prolonged standing, multiple pregnancies, and being overweight. Varicose veins may cause legs to ache or throb.

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