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Vulnerable Veins

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We’ve all seen them, whether on our legs, the legs of our parents or of our grandparents, the blue-green vines that wind up the front or back of the leg looking like a river on a map. These veins are actually veins that aren’t functioning properly, and while we normally see varicose veins and think, “That doesn’t look very good,” we don’t often think of the health effects or what causes them.

Compression socks help increase blood flow and alleviate the appearance of varicose veins.

Varicose veins are caused when deoxygenated blood (hence the blue hue of the vein) pools in the veins of the feet and legs. This can be caused by lots of uninterrupted sedentary activity during the day like sitting at a desk, or even by standing at a job for hours on end, preventing blood from circulating back to the heart like it is supposed to.

Another cause of varicose veins is malfunctioning valves in the veins of the legs and feet. When valves do not open and close like they should, blood backflows, creating the buildup that causes veins to bulge and become visible in the skin. This backflow is dangerous in that it can create an embolism in the leg or deep vein thrombosis. When this occurs, a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs. This alone is not life-threatening, although it can cause damage to the affected leg like painful swelling and ulcer formation if not treated.

The clot can also dislodge in the leg and travel to the pulmonary circulation system where it can get stuck, causing a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot in the lung, that can cause severe respiratory and heart issues.

If you or someone you care for displays prominent varicose veins, a doctor’s visit should be in the near future. Your doctor can determine if compression socks or stockings are necessary, and if they are, Broadway Medical offers a large selection to help you with your varicose vein issues.