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Varicose veins are larger diseased veins caused by dysfunctional valves which allow  blood to pool in the veins causing them to bulge. They are typically visibly bumpy or rope-like. The increased pressure in these veins eventually extends into adjacent vein branches.

These are more likely to cause problems like throbbing, itching and aching at the end of the day. More severe problems like bleeding, phlebitis (clots in the superficial veins) and ulcers are less likely but if present, indicate severe venous disease.

Severe varicose vein disease can compromise the health of the skin layers and lead to dermatitis, rash, itchiness and brown skin discoloration. Finally, the skin changes can progress to chronic ulcers and lymph stasis (insufficient blood/lymph flow).


Venous insufficiency is categorized by a CEAP score rated from 0 to 6. The rating is based on physical signs of disease only.

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