Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged, twisted, tortuous veins, which are on the surface of the skin, and most often are seen in the legs. They generally worsen over time if a person does not have vein treatments. The causes of varicose veins are numerous but always include faulty or weakened valves in the veins.
Varicose veins form because of the challenges the blood in the legs must overcome to return up to the heart. Blood in the ankle for example has to travel uphill at least three or more feet, against the pull of gravity and against the bodies weith, ot make it to the heart. It’s not physically possible for blood in the ankle to just return to the heart in one quick jump. It also lacks the constant propelling force the heart has on the blood in the arteries to push blood out to the body. The ‘legs heart’ however, does help, with the contraction of calf and thigh muscles aiding in the pushing of blood back up towards the heart. This is all aided by the one-way valves, which allow the blood return to occur in multiple steps.
In varicose veins, the venous valves are not working. This condition thus allows blood to ‘fall back’ downward into the veins of the legs. This reversed flow in the circulation is due to gravity. The non-working valves are allowing what should be a one directional flow pattern, back up towards the heart, to become a two directional system as the blood back-flows downward into the legs.
Fortunately today there are modern and minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. The primary methods involve lasers, microsurgery, and injection treatments and often a combination of these options. Its best to see a vein specialist to have all treatments explained to you and decide how best to treat your varicosities.
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