In order to truly understand what Varicose Veins are and the causes of them, we need to go back to basics. We need to understand the root of the problem; we need to understand veins.
What Is A Vein
Veins are a vital part of the human body and help to keep the body up and running. Their main function is to return deoxygenated blood from the outer parts of the body back to the heart and lungs. Sometimes veins can grow to abnormal sizes and become enlarged; this is what is known as varicose veins. This condition happens mostly in the veins found in the legs and thighs.
Saying this, varicose veins can form in any part of the body. To get an idea of how common they are, a study was carried out in the United States. It was reported that 19% of men and 36% of women suffered from this condition. Varicose veins can be passed down in the family, and they tend to become more prominent as a person grows older.
Veins that are found in the leg are normally described to be superficial or deep. Superficial veins are located at the top of the skin and the branches run to the surface. Communicator or perforator veins connect the superficial veins with the deeper ones in the body.
Encased by muscle and connective tissue deep veins will aid the blood is being pumped back to the heart. To stop varicosities from evolving, veins have valves that only work one way. Basically blood travels from the superficial veins to the deeper ones. From this location, the blood will be passed through a large network of veins until it finally reaches the heart.
The Cause Behind Varicose Veins
There are many myths and wives-tales about why varicosities happen. The real reason is due to the valves being damaged and not able to work in an effective way they are supposed to. When working correctly the valves should stop blood flowing backward, they aim to keep it moving forward to the heart. It is still unknown what causes the valves to stop working. Research into it is being done so that tests can be done on the valve, to see what is making it behave in a deficient way.
When the condition is inherited experts believe that people are born with too few valves or the valves they do have do not work correctly. An unfortunate few are born with defects in the vein wall. This makes the wall weak and causes the valves to separate and start to leak. When an individual has un-functional valves the blood flow will reverse and will flow back down to the superficial veins when it should be aiming towards the heart. The muscles that encase the deep veins will have to contract in order to empty the veins, meaning that a build-up of pressure will happen. This pressure will cause a large amount of blood to flow the wrong way, increasing the pressure in the superficial veins causing varicose veins.
Aggravating Varicose Veins
When I was pregnant there was an increase in blood volume in my veins. This added pressure to the veins inside my legs as there was an increasing weight for them to support. I had varicose vein treatment in Northamptonshire to reduce this pressure and to better the look of the veins. I was advised to stop standing for long periods of time and to massage my leg with cream.