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Understanding Varicose Veins

“Varicose: derived from the latex word varix, which means twisted”

Any vein in the human body can be a ‘varicose vein’, but the most common occurrences are seen in those veins which are subjects to maximum stress and strain; like those in the legs and feet. Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins (blood vessels) found close to your skin’s surface. They normally occur due to the increase in pressure on a particular vein which in turn twists them.

Before we try and understand the varicose veins in particular, it is pertinent for us to understand the significance of veins and arteries in the human body. The veins and the arteries are the blood vessels, which carry around blood within the human body. As the heart continues to pump, it sends blood around the body through the arteries. The arteries keep branching into smaller vessels, until the blood flows into capillaries. The walls of capillaries are only one cell thick, so that oxygen, glucose and other substances can pass through them to nourish the tissues. The waste materials of metabolism, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid, filter in the opposite direction into the capillaries. A network of capillaries runs close to the cells in every part of the body, delivering nutrients, while taking away waste products in the bloodstream.

Capillaries join to form veins. These smaller varicobooster catena eins in turn combine together to form two major veins which return the blood to the heart. These are called the superior vena cava; which carries blood from the upper part of the body, and, the inferior vena cava; which carries blood from the legs, pelvis and the abdomen region.

The veins contain valves which are very important to their functioning. Valves are more important in the functioning of the veins in the lower part of the body as it pumps blood back to the heart and any malfunctioning can cause it to flow in the reverse direction. More often, a fault in these valves lead to a condition called varicose veins. The valves, which don’t allow the blood to flow in the reverse direction, are naturally designed to withstand pressure within the body. Fortunately, for most people varicose vein, are simple cosmetic conditions which can be treated through a cosmetic surgery. However, for some, it is a very painful and discomforting condition. For them, a varicose vein might signal a more serious disorder in the circulatory system. Varicose veins are a common ailment amongst older women. Women are more likely to suffer from them than men.

Research and literature suggest that there are a few veins in the human body which are more likely to show the signs of varicose. The veins most likely to become varicose are the ‘Long Saphenous Vein’ or the LSV and the ‘Short Saphenous Vein’ or the SSV. These LSV is more prone to varicose than the SSV. LSV is formed from tributaries in the foot, and is visible in many people when they stand, as the vein just in front of the bone on the inner side of the ankle. It runs up the inner side of the calf and the thigh, and at the groin dives to join the main deep vein. Besides the two veins mentioned above, a perforating in any part of the leg, can develop incompetent valves leading to a similar condition. This allows blood to be pumped outwards under pressure into superficial veins, causing them to become stretched and varicose.

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