With one in four Americans having varicose veins, it is always useful to know what they are. Whether you have varicose veins, are worried you have them, or just want to learn more about them, read on for information about what they are, what they look like and why they occur.
What Is the Difference Between Normal Veins and Varicose Veins?
Veins travel all around the body and carry de-oxygenated blood back to the heart from the body. You may be able to see some of your veins, especially in your hands, and they usually are a blue color. Varicose veins are an enlarged or swollen vein and are most likely to occur in the legs or feet. Varicose veins cannot send blood back to the heart in the same way that a normal working vein can, as blood gets trapped in varicose veins, meaning not as much blood will be returned to the heart.
What Do Varicose Veins Look Like?
Varicose veins can appear blue, but also may be dark purple. If they are blue, you will still be able to tell the difference from a normal vein by their shape. They are often bulging out of the skin and may look twisted and lumpy in appearance, where the blood is trapped in the vein and pushed out into the skin. If you are unsure if you have a varicose vein, check online for what they look like.
Why Do Varicose Veins Occur?
Veins have a one-way valve, to ensure that the blood they are pumping travels back towards the heart to become oxygenated once again. If the vein becomes weaker or stretched for any reason, this valve may stop working and allow blood flow to leak back in the wrong direction. This leads to the blood accumulating in this vein, which can then become swollen or enlarged, becoming a varicose vein. These occur mostly in the legs because they are the furthest from the heart, meaning gravity is working against the veins to get the blood back to the heart, although they can be found anywhere on the body. Professionals have yet to discover why veins become weak and valves stop working, but there are some factors that may increase your chance of developing varicose veins.
This should give you an overview, but if you are concerned about varicose veins, contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best varicose vein doctor in NYC.