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Varicose veins usually occur in the legs and feet, because standing and walking increases pressure in the veins in your lower body. When veins stretch and become weak, blood pools in the veins, which enlarge. Unlike smaller spider veins, varicose veins cause pain and swelling, and can lead to serious health problems when left untreated.
Women are more susceptible than men to varicose veins, and pregnancy also can be a contributing factor. A family history and professions that require long hours on your feet, such as teachers and nurses, lead to increased risk.
Varicose veins are a medical condition—and are treated as such by insurance providers. Most insurance providers cover the treatment of varicose veins, including surgery, if nonsurgical methods are unsuccessful.