Veins are a vital part of the human body — they are literally our life lines. Veins are one of three main components of the circulatory system, which is a system of organs that’s main function is to circulate blood throughout the body, away from and back to the heart.
The circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, is made up of the heart, blood, and blood vessels, which includes arteries, veins and capillaries. Each of these types of blood vessels has its own important job. Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygenated blood away from the heart to other organs and tissues throughout the body. Veins deliver blood back to the heart. Capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels, connecting arteries and veins. Capillaries assist in the transport of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and organs of the rest of the body.
The main difference between arteries and veins is that veins only allow blood to flow in one direction: up. Each vein contains multiple valves that help the blood fight gravity and continue upward toward the heart. A healthy, functioning body must have healthy, functioning veins to allow blood to flow properly to the heart. When veins become weak or damaged, it means that the valves are no longer working well enough to keep the blood flowing in the right direction, and the blood begins to pool and can cause varicose veins and/or spider veins, and eventually could lead to other venous conditions.
There are different kinds of veins: deep veins, which are not visible to the naked eye, and superficial veins, which are the colored veins we can see through the surface of the skin. You may see superficial veins in places such as the backs of the hands, tops of the feet, legs, and face.
If those visible veins appear swollen or twisted, there is a chance that they could be spider veins, which occur when blood pools in the superficial veins. Varicose veins can be superficial, but can also develop deeper than the surface of the skin as well. Varicose veins are typically associated with much more pain and discomfort than spider veins, which are mainly cause for cosmetic concern. When you are suffering from varicose veins, you are likely to experience a throbbing, burning, or itching sensation in the affected area of skin. The veins will look like discolored, twisted ropes bulging out of the skin often associated with feelings of achiness, heaviness and tenderness in the lower extremities.
Both spider veins and varicose veins most commonly develop due to some kind of pressure on the veins that is causing damage, such as obesity, trauma, high blood pressure, and sitting or standing for long periods of time. Sun damage or hormonal changes in the body can also cause damaged veins. Genetics and low body fat are also risk factors. If you have other family members who have visible veins, it’s likely that you will too. If you exercise a lot and/or do not have a lot of body fat, veins will be easier to see. Believe it or not, the weather also has an effect on the visibility of veins, as high temperatures can make your veins expand.
Additionally, thinning skin is an inevitable result of the natural aging process, which could cause veins to also appear much more prominent because thinning, aging skin loses its elastin.
One of the most common places to see prominent veins in skin is on the hands. This can be due to the fact that the skin on the back of your hands is typically very thin. Sometimes, these veins may appear in different colors such as blue, green or purple. You might be wondering, though, if blood is red, what are blue veins?
Blue veins in hands might not necessarily be an indicator of anything wrong. In fact, seeing blue veins is mainly because the color blue has a shorter wavelength than red. Colors are made up of a spectrum of different visible lights, some of which our eyes perceive more easily than others depending on how long its wavelength is, its frequency, and how much light energy it emits. We see color based upon how light is reflected and how other colors are absorbed. Red has the longest wavelength, lowest frequency and least energy, whereas blue and purple have the shortest wavelength and most energy.
When you look at the surface of your skin and see blue veins, it is because the light energy coming from the color red has been absorbed by the layers of skin and tissue between the veins and our perception of them. In short, there is nothing to worry about if you see blue veins. Blue veins on your hands are normal, but if you notice that you are starting to experience other symptoms like the ones associated with varicose veins, it is time to reach out to a vein doctor. In that case, the blue veins might be reticular veins, which are smaller than varicose veins, but have the same kind of symptoms and usually are a sign that varicose veins are also present.
Treatment for blue veins or reticular veins are similar to the treatment options for varicose veins. Sclerotherapy and endovenous laser ablation are two of the most common procedures to treat these types of venous conditions. These are minimally invasive treatments that are quick, safe and successful, with little pain and no downtime. Sclerotherapy can be used for small to medium spider veins and varicose veins that are visible to the eye in a simple procedure that involves injecting a medicated solution directly into the affected vein that essentially shuts it down and reroutes blood to healthy views. Sclerotherapy can also treat varicose veins that are in deep veins using ultrasound guidance, or if the varicose veins are much larger, a foam solution can be used for a more widespread range.
Endovenous laser ablation uses light energy instead of a solution to attack the damaged vein and seal it shut. The vein doctor inserts a very thin laser fiber into the vein through a small incision that is so tiny, it does not require stitches and will not leave a scar.
Treatment for blue veins can be very effective in drastically improving the appearance of the skin and can also prevent new reticular veins from developing. If you are experiencing blue veins associated with symptoms such as pain, discomfort, swelling and excess itching, Schedule a consultation with our vein doctor Miami at Fox Vein & Laser Experts and let our team determine the best method of treatment for your condition. Call our office at 954-627-1045 to book an appointment.
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Disclaimer: Fox Vein & Laser Experts is owned by Dr. Susan Fox, DABVLM, D.O., RPVI, FSVM and makes the best effort to treat your vein problems. The vein treatment results may vary for an individual patient based on the diseases and problems. Fox Vein & Laser Experts does not guarantee that you will experience the same results as highlighted in ‘before and after’ pictures and as shared in testimonials.