Varicosity of the veins involves failure of the valves inside the vessels that prevent blood flow back down into the feet. When these valves fail to work properly, it becomes difficult for the blood to return to the heart from the legs and feet. This blood sometimes seeps out into the surrounding tissue causing swelling, discoloration of the skin, and pressure on skin. This process frequently causes ulceration and skin loss. Sometimes clots can form in these veins. When this happens the leg becomes swollen and inflamed. This is caused phlebitis. If some of these clots break off and return to the heart, they can travel to the lungs and cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, bloody sputum, and even death. Treatment of Varicosities includes elevation of the legs, squeezing out of fluids with compression stockings or venous leg pumps, and appropriate skin and ulcer care if ulcers should occur. Consultation with a vascular surgeon who treats vein disorders is always indicated for the condition. If a person experiences increased pain and or swelling in a leg with varicose veins, or develops difficulty breathing, it is a medical emergency and should be evaluated by a doctor immediately.

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