Veins are critical components in the body because they are responsible for transporting blood back to the heart to pick up oxygen. This process is even more amazing when you think about how blood in the legs must travel upward to reach its destination. Veins have valves that help move the fluid in the right direction towards the heart. To understand superficial venous reflux, you need to learn more about how these valves work.
A Guide to Superficial Venous Reflux
A Little about Leg Anatomy
Blood flow in the legs requires a network of veins. A healthy vein has valves the open and close. The purpose of these valves is to keep blood for moving backwards. The veins near the surface of the skin are known as superficial. Their job is to transport blood to structures deeper in the tissue en route to the heart.
Muscles in the veins squeeze to push the liquid towards the deeper veins. During this stage of transport, the valves open so the blood moves freely in the right direction. When muscles relax, the valves snap shut, trapping blood so gravity can’t pull it back.
When the legs develop rope-like blue lines, this is a sign of a vein disorder. The problem lies with the valves meant to keep blood moving. When muscles contract to push the blood up, the valves open, but during the relaxation phase at least one valve failed to close properly letting blood slide backwards. The lines that develop under the skin are actually engorged veins. The faulty valve allows blood to pool to enlarge the vein, and it becomes visible.
Why Valves Become Diseased
There are a number of reasons a valve may stop closing fully, but age is the most common. As a person grows older, the veins become less elastic. They stretch out of shape causing a bulge to form leaving a gap between the two flaps of the valve. The valve is still opening and closing, but that gap lets blood flow backwards.
In some cases, an increased volume of blood can cause similar stretching. This is why pregnant women will get varicose veins. Pregnancy increases blood volume, so the veins push outward to accommodate the flow.
What is Superficial Venous Reflux?
This is the medical name for valve problems in the leg veins near the surface of the skin. Reflux means blood is flowing backwards because the valves do not close fully. Symptoms include:
Varicose or spider veins
Heaviness in the lower extremities
Treatment involves closing off the vein. Once the valves stop working effectively, the body changes the blood route to bypass the problem. The line is just leftover blood. A medical professional can use a laser, drug therapy or even operate to close off the vein. This causes the vein to fade way and eventually disappear completely. Most of the treatments are relatively painless and require little down time for the patient. With the vein gone, the symptoms of superficial venous reflux disappear, as well.
About this article: Vein Clinics of Ireland is a professional and courteous service dedicated to the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. For further information on vein treatments visit www.veinclinicsofireland.com