The veins on my arms and legs are becoming more and more prominent. What is this due to?

I've recently noticed that the veins on my arms and legs are becoming more and more prominent. My friends said that the prominent veins on my legs are due to excessive walking. Is this true? If not, what is the cause of this and what course of treatment is required? Will it lead to varicose veins?

Assistant Professor Wong Soon Tee, Specialist in Dermatology, Raffles Hospital

The exact causes of prominent veins are not known. However, we know that the following factors are associated with prominent veins in the leg: genetic predisposition, increase pooling pressure e.g. obesity, multiple pregnancy, prolonged standing (gravity) and sitting (compression of veins).

Walking involves leg muscle contraction which helps to pump the blood back to the heart; therefore, walking or excessive walking are rarely the cause of prominent leg veins.

Depending on the calibre or size of the veins, different treatment options are available. Definitive treatment for larger varicose veins involves surgery (ligation and stripping) or laser treatment (Endovenous laser treatment). Intermediate veins are sometimes treated with injection into the veins with chemicals (sclerosant). These chemicals, when injected into the veins, will damage the wall of the veins and cause the veins to collapse. The collapsed veins are then no longer visible to the naked eyes. The smaller veins can be treated with vascular laser.

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