Did you know that your veins can go to pretty extreme lengths to
maintain a functioning circulatory system? In fact, if you laid out all of the veins, arteries, and capillaries in your body, end-to-end,
they would stretch approximately 100,000 miles! That’s a pretty long network of veins and valves in your body working together.
While your veins carry deoxygenated blood back to your heart, they need the help of vein valves along the way. When these valves function properly, the blood in your legs flow unimpeded back to your heart and are circulated efficiently. The problem is that over time, vein valves can become weak and stop functioning for their intended purpose.
Think of vein valves as the driving force of your veins. They help push the blood back toward the heart, and regulate your blood pressure. If your vein valves are not functioning properly, blood may not be flowing toward your heart efficiently. When this happens, blood can get backed up behind the valve, and start to flow backward. We refer to the backward flow of blood as a reflux, and it is a primary contributor to varicose veins.
Venous insufficiency is a condition that may be caused by damaged vein valves, in which veins have difficulty sending blood from the legs back to the heart. When this happens, you may develop swelling, blood clots, or varicose veins on the surface. Such veins can be painful, and potentially dangerous as they may develop into ulcers.
The best way to maintain healthy veins is establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Staying active and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing is crucial to promoting healthy vein function. Since strong leg muscles provide better circulation, walking, running, swimming, and cycling are great exercises to fend off the appearance of varicose veins and the dangers that come with them.
In your down time, try stretching your calves and other leg muscles to get your blood flowing. You can also try elevating your feet above your heart at home, or wearing compression socks. Additionally, keeping a healthy diet also plays a pivotal role in proper vein function. You will want to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels as they both affect blood pressure and vein health.
Most varicose veins are easily treatable, and the medical staff at The Vein and Skin Center of Hawaii is ready to help. We offer a variety of minimally invasive treatment options, and have helped countless patients. Whether you are looking to address those unsightly spider veins before summer, or your symptoms are more severe, you can rely on Dr. Chung and his team to deliver the results you're looking for!
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