What are Varicose Veins?
The function of veins is to return blood to the heart and lungs for replenishment with oxygen that in turn is pumped through arteries to the entire body. The oxygen poor blood once exchanged in the tissues, is carried through thin walled veins in a low-pressure system. The flow of blood from the legs and feet is affected greatly by the pull of gravity. In both standing and sitting positions, venous flow is directed by a series of one-way valves in the veins of the leg. When working properly, the valves prevent blood from falling back down the lower legs and feet whenever one’s legs are dependent. The valves are capable of withstanding the high pressure from a person’s weight or physical positioning.
When the venous valves of the leg fail to close properly, blood flows pools not only in the legs and ankles from the pull of gravity but also internally in the pelvic organs. This flow is called ‘reflux’, causes elevated pressure in the veins. When this occurs in the superficial venous system of the leg, the result over time is varicose veins. The thin-walled veins become stretched and appear as ropey and tortuous bulging veins on the skin surface. Symptoms of Varicose Veins include fatigue, heaviness of the leg, aching, cramping, itching, restlessness and can spontaneous bleed from high pressure.