Vein Disorder Basics

The human circulatory system is an amazing conglomerate of arteries, veins, vessels and ducts. This unique plumbing system takes oxygenated blood from the heart and pumps it throughout the body to deliver the nutrients each of our organs needs to operate optimally. The arterial system takes the new, oxygen rich blood around the body, while the venous system returns the oxygen depleted blood back to the heart to be enriched and pumped around once more.

At multiple points in the veins, ‘doors’ that are opened in only one direction by the flow of blood regulate the delivery of the used blood back to the heart. These ducts work to keep the blood flowing in one direction and keep the blood from refluxing back in the wrong direction. Varicose veins and several other disorders of the venous system are common and capable of causing multiple issues.

Venous stasis ulcers occur when the blood in the veins reflux and is unable to return to the heart to be re-oxygenated. The areas where the reflux occurs, often the legs, can swell with fluid due to poor circulation and the inability to receive fresh nutrient rich blood. As the tissue in these areas becomes swollen and fragile, ulcers can form and become an issue when they are unable to heal. With proper treatment, circulation may be restored and healing can begin.

Superficial thrombophlebitis is a malady that is caused when blood clots form in veins. They restrict blood flow and cause swelling, erythema and pain in the affected area. More worrisome than these superficial clots would be deep vein thrombosis. Both can be detected by diagnostic imaging procedures, but the latter can be life threatening.

The primary approach to resolving these vein issues is to return normal circulation to the affected area. This can be done through a variety of methods including medication to reduce pain, heat and compression to increase circulation, as well as elevation. For deep vein thrombosis the treatment changes a bit, as this problem with leg veins will sometimes require heparin or other blood thinning therapy.

Leave Comment