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Q: What causes varicose veins?

For most people, varicose veins are a cosmetic issue. If you have big, ropy veins that stand out from your skin, they can be treated or removed surgically at a vein clinic.

Sometimes varicose veins are caused when the valves in your blood vessels aren't working properly. Veins move used blood back up to your heart, and the valves are supposed to prevent backflow. When they stop working, the veins can become dilated.

In most cases, this isn't a problem, but if your deep veins are affected, it can lead to more serious issues. An ultrasound screening can determine if you have a valve problem that needs to be fixed.