In order to understand the creation of varicose veins and spider veins it is important to firstly understand the circulatory system. Lets start with a brief anatomy lesson.
The human circulatory system
The circulatory system includes two main vascular systems: the arteries and the veins. Even though they are completely opposites, they complement each other.
The heart, with its rythmic function, feeds the arteries with blood. The arteries transfer the blood throughout the body and within their pipes there are conditions of extreme pressure, due to the contractions of the heart. The diameter of the arteries reduces when they are farther from the heart and ultimately they get really small, and the blood enters the capillary vessels. These vessels have a very thin wall, through which the oxygen and other nutritional substances of the blood get to the tissues. The wall of the arteries is quite thick and muscular, in order for the arteries to withstand the conditions of extreme pressure within them.
Theveins have the opposite role from the arteries, they transfer from the capillary vessels carbon dioxide and the metabolic derivatives to the heart. From the heart the blood is lead to the lungs for its enrichment with oxygen. The pressure in the veins in smaller than the pressure in the arteries, and in some parts even turns negative. The blood flow in the veins is quite slow and passive, and it is determent by external factors. For example, during a deep inhalation we create negative pressure in the chest, which “sucks” the blood from the abdominal veins to the chest and the heart. The veins are more than the arteries, and they have a very thin wall. They are characterized by their bigger diameter and they frequently play the role of a blood pool. It is apparent that the vein system is more complex than the arterial one, given the fact that the vein system contains 75-80% of the total blood volume of the human body.
The vein network of the lower extremities.
The vein network is composed by two main systems that are linked to each other, the deep vein system and the superficial one. These systems are linked to each other in various points. The network that is mainly responsible for the runoff of the vein blood from the leg is the deep vein network. The deep veins are situated between the muscles and under the muscles. They follow a course of homonymous arteries and transfer more than 80% of the vein blood from the legs to the heart.
The superficial vein networks situated between the skin and the muscles. It has many anatomical variations, to the extent that it is impossible to find any identical in two people. This effects both the way it ampersand the way we deal with vein insufficiency. Ideally, in order to have results the way to deal it must be specialized and its case individually. Apart from the anatomical variations there are two main superficial veins in every person. On of them is the Great Saphenous Vein. It incurs through the length of the leg, from the femoral junction, where it is linked with the deep vein network with the femoral vein. The other vein is the Small Saphenous Vein, which incurs the opposite surface of the gastrocnemius, and it is linked with the deep vein network with the inguinal vein, behind the knee.
There is a third category of veins, the perforators. These veins are situated in various points in the leg and link the superficial vein network with the deep vein network. These too have valves. They only allow the blood to flow from the superficial veins towards the deep veins. If the pressure of the blood in the veins is too low, it is extremely difficult for the veins to transfer the blood from the legs to then heart, against the forces of gravity and without the assistance of the heart pump. We deal with this challenge AI the two very important mechanisms. One is the muscle pump in the gastrocnemious and the other is the valves situated inside the veins.
The muscle pump in the gastrocnemious
Inside the muscles of the gastrocnemious there are bigger if veins that act like pools. When the muscles are relaxed, these vein pools fill with vein blood. When the muscles contract, an act that occurs during walking, the vein pools drain the blood they have upwards. Apart from the muscle contraction, the out most importance is given to the muscle tone, the tendency of the muscle fibers when the muscles are relaxed. The more exercised the muscle the more powerful the muscle tone. That is mainly the reason why exercise and walking help with the functionality of the veins, the exercised muscles of the cneme have stronger tone, therefore are more effective in pushing the blood towards the heart.
The vein valves
The valves are a distinct characteristic of the veins. The arteries do not have valves. They are composed by two petals that allow the blood to flow towards one direction only. A healthy valve in the vins of the legs, allows the flow of the blood from the toes towards the heart only and not in reverse.
What causes vein insufficiency?
When the valves in the veins are damaged the blood flows towards the wrong direction, meaning from the heart towards the legs. This pathological movement of the blood is enhanced by gravity and the pressure from the abdomen when we speak, cough or lift weights. This results to an increase of the blood volume in the legs which consequently increases the pressure inside the veins. So, gradually the vein wall starts to become thinner and this results to the dilation of the veins and they become more apparent. This dilation leads to the increase of both their diameter and their length. Due to the fact that on the vein wall we have aesthetic and neurological fibers, standing or sitting down for a prolong period of time may lead to the development of symptoms such as heaviness, pain or itchiness.
Thus we understand that both spider veins and varicose veins are created by the same way. The condition that characterizes their appearance is known as chronic vein insufficiency. It is a condition that needs caution, mainly because the reduced blood flow in the suffering veins is a very strong factor for the creation on blood clots, a condition that is extremely