Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Varicose Veins


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Varicose veins are visible dilated tortuous veins. The term is usually only applied to those present superficially on the legs but they can occur anywhere including the testicles (varicoceles) and the face. The legs have a deep and superficial system of veins connected by another set of intermediary or perforating veins. The deep and superficial systems run longitudinally and the perforating system runs transversely to connect them. Veins have a lower pressure of blood flow than arteries so forward movement of blood requires massage by the movement of adjacent muscles and valves inside the veins to prevent back flow. The superficial veins become varicose when the perforating or deep veins are damaged allowing back flow or clot closed and/or the valves no longer function normally.
Chronic or large varicose veins can cause discoloration and thickening of the skin, swelling of the ankles and feet, actual skin breakdown with the formation of ulcers, blow out of the dilated veins with sudden high pressure bleeding, pain and aching muscles especially with prolonged standing and easily damaged skin. My father spent long periods of time standing without movement at his job and developed large varicose veins in his lower legs that ached and precluded him from working that way when he was older. This type of stationary standing work or prolonged sitting work (airplane pilots) are risk factors for developing varicose veins.



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