You may be familiar with a vein. For the sake of clarity, veins are blood vessels that carry blood to the heart. They are translucent but dark red due to the low oxygen content of the blood they carry.
The blood transport pathways through the veins differ. The Pulmonary and umbilical veins carry oxygenated blood to the heart, while other veins transport deoxygenated blood from the tissues back to the heart. The arteries carry out the reverse function of transporting blood away from the heart.
Owing to the nature of the role veins play in the body, they are situated closer to the surface of the body than arteries. Thus, veins are less muscular. Most veins have valves that help prevent backflow, which is blood flowing in the opposite direction.
Blood Pathways in the Vein
Several unnamed veins form irregular networks and connect with large veins in the body. Each, especially those in the arms and legs, has one-way valves, and each valve has two flaps with edges that meet.
The flaps are like leaflets or cusps. And as blood moves to the heart, the flaps are pushed open in the same manner as a pair of one-directional swinging doors. When the muscle contractions pull the blood backward, the cusps are pushed closed, thereby preventing blood from flowing back.
Thus, the valves help the return of blood to the heart by opening when the blood flows and closing to prevent blood from flowing backward.
Varicose veins develop when your veins stretch and the valves, which are supposed to prevent blood from flowing backward, fail to work properly. Removing Varicose Veins naturally is one of the best ways to remove varicose veins from your body and make your skin smooth and healthy.
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Color of the Veins
Veins are translucent. The color of veins is dependent on skin color, the amount of oxygen in the blood, and the size and depth of the blood-carrying vessels. The veins are drained of blood outside an organism, they become gray-white.
They appear dark red when they’re carrying blood. This is due to the amount of low-oxygen-content blood that filled the vessels. Veins can also appear blue because of the coat of subcutaneous fat that absorbs low-frequency light, thus allowing the penetration of the highly energetic blue wavelengths through the dark veins.
Structure of the Veins
Veins are all over the human body as tubes or pipes that carry blood back to the heart. They can be classified as large or small, systemic or pulmonary, and superficial or deep veins. A brief description of these classifications will be given below.
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Deep veins are found deep in the body. They play a remarkable role in pushing blood toward the heart. The one-way valves of the deep veins block the backward flow of blood.
The muscles surrounding the deep veins compress them and help push blood toward the heart. The veins are so powerful that they carry over 90 percent of the blood from the legs toward the heart.
Superficial veins are found closer to the surface of the body. They have no corresponding arteries, unlike the deep veins, which have associated arteries. The superficial veins have valves, but they are without muscles.
Therefore, the blood in the superficial veins is never pushed toward the heart by the compressing action of the muscles surrounding the veins. Rather, the blood in the superficial veins flows more gradually than the blood in the deep veins.
The blood that flows in the superficial veins is redirected into the deep veins through several linking veins between the two types of veins. Valves in the linking veins allow the exchange of blood in the connecting veins.
Other Types of Veins
- The Communicating Veins – these are veins that link directly the superficial veins to the deep veins.
- The Systemic Veins: These are the veins that drain the tissues of the body and supply deoxygenated blood to the heart.
- The Pulmonary Veins: These are veins that carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart.
- The Perforator Veins: These are veins that drain blood from the superficial veins to the deep veins. They are often associated with the lower limbs and feet.
Functions of the Vein
Are you aware that veins are known as “capacitance vessels”? They are so-called because the largest volume of blood in human organs—over sixty percent—is housed in the veins.
Oxygenated blood is pumped by the left ventricle via the arteries to the muscles and organs of the human body, where the exchange of gases and nutrients takes place in the capillaries. This is referred to as the systemic circulation.
After the reception of carbon dioxide and cellular waste in the capillaries, blood is directed through connecting vessels that form venules, which connect and merge to form larger ones. The deoxygenated blood is carried to the right atrium of the heart, which carries blood to the right ventricle, from where the blood is pumped via the pulmonary arteries to the lungs.
In Pulmonary circulation, the pulmonary veins carry oxygenated blood from the lung to the left atrium, which completes blood circulation by emptying into the left ventricle.
The function of the skeletal muscle pump is to aid in the return of blood to the heart. The return of blood to the heart is also facilitated by the thoracic pump action of breathing during respiration. This is why standing or sitting for a long time is discouraged because it could result in low venous return from venous pooling (vascular) shock.
There is no doubt that fainting can happen, but more often than not, baroreceptors situated in the aortic sinuses set off baroreflexes like norepinephrine and angiotensin II, which originate vasoconstriction and cause the heart rate to pick up and rise to return blood flow. Fainting can also result from hypovolemic shock and neurogenic factors.
In the aforementioned cases, the smooth muscles around the blood vessels slacken and the veins fill with most of the blood, thereby keeping the body away from the body and resulting in unconsciousness. This is why jet Pilots put on pressurized suits to assist in maintaining their venous return and blood pressure.
Diseases Of The Veins
Several health challenges are causing pain in humans. One striking discovery is that veins in the legs are particularly at risk of swelling or blood clotting.
This is because when a person stands, blood must flow upward from the leg veins against gravity to reach the heart. The major health problems of the veins include the following:
- Varicose veins: a flaw in the veins that leads to swelling
- Thrombosis: blood clotting within the deep veins
- Arteriovenous fistulas: these are the abnormal connections between the veins and arteries that could be present at birth or develop in the course of life.
- Thrombophlebitis: This is the inflammation of the superficial veins resulting from a blood clot.
If you are thinking of the most common venous system defect, venous insufficiency is at the top, and it often manifests as varicose veins or spider veins. There are several treatments stipulated for addressing the health challenges of veins, though this is dependent on the patient’s patterns of veins and type as well as the physician’s preference.
Options For Treating Varicose Veins
- Foam sclerotherapy
- Lasers or compression
- Endovenous thermal ablation using radiofrequency or laser energy
- Vein stripping
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
- Home / natural vein remedies
You may have heard of postphlebitic syndrome. This is the venous insufficiency that follows deep vein thrombosis.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis is a health condition where blood clots form within the deep veins, usually in the veins of the legs. You can also have deep vein thrombosis in the arms.
There are several risk factors associated with deep vein thrombosis. Immobility, active cancer, obesity, traumatic damage, and congenital defects that make clots very likely are all risks associated with deep vein thrombosis.
Deep thrombosis can result in a pulmonary embolism. It can cause swelling of the affected limbs and pain with an associated overlying skin rash. In the worst-case scenario, deep vein thrombosis can extend and cause part of the clot to break off and land in the lungs. This is referred to as a pulmonary embolism.
Treatment of deep vein thrombosis depends on your symptoms, the size of the health challenges, and the associated risk factors. This, by and large, involves anticoagulation to try to reduce the size of the clot.
The abdomen houses the portal veins, which carry blood to the liver. Portal hypertension is linked with cirrhosis, a disease of the liver, or other health conditions such as obstruction of clotting (Budd Chiari syndrome), compression from tumors, or tuberculosis lesions.
When pressure heightens in the portal veins, collateral circulation develops, causing visible veins such as oesophageal varices. Thrombophlebitis is an inflammatory health condition of the veins that is linked with blood clots.
Disease Syndrome Of The Veins
Medically, May-Thurner syndrome could be referred to as iliac compression syndrome. This is an infrequent medical condition in which compression of the simple venous outflow tract of the left lower extremity may cause discomfort, pain, swelling, and blood clots known as deep thrombosis.
A 27-year-old African American woman one day found out that she had a 12-hour history of left lower extremity swelling associated with 7/10 dull throbbing pain. She stated that the pain started initially in her left foot and, within several hours, began to radiate to her left groin. These symptoms began two weeks after an 8-hour automobile ride from Houston to New Orleans.
Treatment of May-Thurner syndrome is a gradual medical procedure. The first known report of treatment of May-Thurner syndrome solely by endovascular means was by Berger et al. in 1995, who effectively placed a venous stent to relieve iliac compression. Several subsequent studies have demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of iliac vein compression with thrombectomy and endovascular stenting.
You may refer to Nutcracker syndrome as a vascular compression defect that arises as a result of the compression of the left renal vein between the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and the aorta. This can lead to renal venous hypertension, resulting in the rupture of thin-walled veins into the collecting system with resultant hemorrhage.
You can also view the Oxford Journal’s definition of Nutcracker syndrome as a clinical syndrome caused by impingement of the left renal vein (LRV) between the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and abdominal aorta.
According to the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, the Nutcracker syndrome phenomenon results in left renal venous hypertension. The Nutcracker syndrome manifests as left flank and abdominal pain, with or without unilateral hemorrhage. Its diagnosis is dependent on history and physical examination, basic lab tests to exclude other causes of hemorrhage, and cystoscopy and ureteroscopy to confirm unilateral hemorrhage and exclude other causes of this sinister symptom.
Thoracic outlet syndrome
The Thoracic outlet syndrome involves compression at the thoracic inlet, which is referred to as the superior thoracic outlet, arising from excessive pressure acting directly on a neurovascular bundle passing through the middle scalene muscle and anterior scalene.
Findings have shown that it can affect one or more nerves that are capable of innervating the upper limb or blood vessels as they pass between the chest and upper extremity, specifically in the brachial plexus, the subclavian artery, and rarely, the subclavian vein.
There are several approaches to treating thoracic outlet syndrome. It could be treated through physical measures, surgery, or medications. The experience of pitcher Matt Harvey with correcting thoracic outlet syndrome through surgery is one of the cases that’s worth reading.
The Cochrane Library reported that the most controversial diagnosis in clinical medicine revolves around Thoracic outlet syndrome. According to the aforementioned source, despite many reports of operative and non-operative interventions, rigorous scientific investigation of this syndrome leading to evidence-based management is lacking.
Wikipedia painstakingly detailed that acupuncture, stretching, chiropractic adjustments, osteopathic manipulative medicine, and physical therapy could be classified as some of the most common medical approaches employed in the treatment of Thoracic outlet syndrome.
Medically, cortisone injections into the muscle or joint are capable of lowering inflammation and bringing some relief or respite. In the same vein, the NCBI reported that botox injections are no better than placebos.
Surgery is another option for treating Thoracic Outlet syndrome, and this option has proven successful.
For instance, in cases where the first rib is compressing, a nerve or artery bundle, the first rib and scalene muscle, and any compressive fibrous tissue can be eliminated. This procedure is referred to as first rib resection and splenectomy.
Phlebology is the medical specialty committed to the diagnosis and treatment of venous defects. An expert in the diagnosis and treatment of vein disorders is termed a phlebologist, while its related image is a phlebography.
Since 2005, the American Medical Association has included phlebology on the list of self-designated practice specializations, and in 2007, the American Board of Phlebology of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine came into being to enhance the standards of phlebologists as well as boost the quality of patients care.
The American College of Phlebology (ACP) is one of the leading major medical societies in the world for physicians and allied health professionals specializing in the field of phlebology. With over 2000 members, the ACP encourages members to embrace standardized healthcare practices.
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