(CNN) – “Several years ago I noticed I had a bulge in the back of my leg. Turned out it’s a big bundle of varicose veins,” said Nathan Sherrer, who had a varicose veins removed.
Yep, varicose veins. Something you might associate with older women. According to Dr. J. Mark Rheudasil of the Emory Vein Center, “Veins can occur across the spectrum really of all ages and both sexes.”
Varicose veins are swollen twisted veins that you can usually see under the skin.
“The veins work by returning the blood out of the legs to the heart. And when they’re not functioning properly, some of the blood that should normally be emptied out of the legs hangs around and just dwells at the lowest point. Gravity causes it to just go to the lower leg. And these abnormal veins begin to stretch over time,” said Dr. Rheudasil.
Aging also causes wear and tear on the veins that regulate blood flow, thus increasing the risk of varicose veins.
And there are other causes like obesity, which puts pressure on the legs; sitting or standing for long periods of time; and genetics, if there is a family history of varicose veins, you might be predisposed to developing them.
Dr. Rheudasil said, “Typically they’re treated today with what we call a thermal ablation, which essentially means we close it off with heat. They’re all though fairly minor procedures, typically taking fifteen to thirty minutes in the office.”