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Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and twisting veins, often appearing blue or dark purple. They happen when faulty valves within the veins allow blood to flow within the wrong direction or to pool. More than 23 percent of all adults are thought to be suffering from varicose veins. Varicose veins are generally benign. The cause of this condition is not known. For many people, there are not any symptoms and varicose veins are simply a cosmetic concern. In some cases, they cause aching pain and discomfort or signal an underlying circulatory problem. Treatment involves compression stockings, exercise or procedures to shut or remove the veins.