The human body is made up of a variety of different systems, all of which have their own specific functions to keep organs working properly to keep the body healthy. One of these body systems is the circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, which consists of the heart, arteries, veins and blood. The primary function of the circulatory system is to circulate blood away from and back to the heart.
Arteries and veins are blood vessels that function in different ways to keep blood flowing throughout the body. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to organs, and veins deliver the blood to the heart. Blood can flow in either direction through arteries, but only one direction through veins: up toward the heart. Inside each vein are valves that help fight gravity and keep the blood flowing in the correct direction. The deoxygenated blood reaches the heart, and then the process begins again. The blood flows from the heart to the lungs, is oxygenated, and then arteries bring it to the organs and tissues throughout the body.
The circulatory system is responsible for not only circulating blood, but it also helps get essential nutrients and oxygen to organs and tissues, and assists in ridding the body of toxins and waste products. The circulatory system is vital to health and wellbeing, and plays a large role in vein health in particular. If the veins become weak or damaged, the valves will not be able to function at their best to help keep blood flowing in the right direction. When this happens, blood will begin to pool inside the veins and cause them to swell, become painful and uncomfortable, and result in varicose veins, spider veins and an increased risk for additional venous conditions.
Some of the most common symptoms of varicose veins include achiness, tenderness, heaviness and excess itching surrounding the affected area, and visible veins that bulge out of the skin and often look discolored or darker than usual. While varicose veins mainly occur in the lower extremities, the legs and feet, it is possible to see dark veins in hands as well. Dark veins can mean a few different things, but not all of them are cause for concern. For example, since the skin on the back of the hands is thin, veins may just be more noticeable and look darker because of normal reasons such as hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy or menopause, natural aging, or it could simply be because you have a family history of visible veins.
However, if the dark veins are accompanied by symptoms such as appearing twisted or rope-like, bleeding, changing color, discomfort, burning or itching sensations, swelling, inflammation, hardening skin or any kind of pain, it could be a sign of improper blood flow leading to poor circulation, and this can put you at a greater risk for vascular diseases.
Vascular disease refers to any kind of condition or disease that has a direct affect on the circulatory system. Anything that affects the veins, arteries or blood is considered a vascular disease.
There are different types of vascular diseases that occur in different parts of the circulatory system. The most common vascular diseases that could be associated with dark veins include peripheral artery disease, deep vein thrombosis, and a pulmonary embolism. If you are concerned about the dark veins you notice in your hands or anywhere on the body, it is very important to schedule a consultation with a vein expert so they can determine whether you have, or are at risk for, any of these hazardous conditions.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs in the peripheral arteries, which are the blood vessels directly outside of the heart, and causes a blockage in the lower limbs. It is fairly common. People who have diabetes or are smokers are at a higher risk for developing PAD, but aging is also a risk factor. Those affected by PAD may experience pain in their legs that is worse when walking.
At its worst, and if left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene, which is when body tissue dies because of a bacterial infection or lack of blood flow to that particular area and results in an amputation.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that occurs in veins that are deep in the body. Swelling and pain in the affected area are the most common symptoms. People may also experience cramping in the calf muscle, discolored skin that looks red, blue or paler than normal, or a warm sensation on the skin around the affected area. Sometimes people do not experience any symptoms at all, which is why this vascular disease can become very dangerous. If DVT travels to the heart, brain or lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE) which is very life-threatening.
At the first sign of someone developing PE, it is crucial to seek out medical help immediately. The symptoms to watch for are shortness of breath that happens suddenly, coughing blood, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and chest pain that gets worse when breathing or coughing.
Another common example of vascular diseases include carotid artery disease, which occurs in the neck arteries and affects the blood supply to the brain and can cause a stroke.
Potential causes for vascular diseases include high cholesterol or blood pressure, a family history of vascular disease, certain medications, injuries or infections, blood clotting disorders, smoking or having diabetes.
Preventive measures and treatment for vascular diseases require making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, making sure to eat a well balanced diet, and adopting a regular exercise routine. Frequent movement is crucial to blood circulation, which means sitting or standing for extended periods of time should also be avoided. Wearing compression stockings or socks can also help to promote healthy blood flow and prevent blood clotting and varicose veins from forming. If these remedies do not successfully treat the conditions, there are medications and procedures available.
If you are concerned by dark veins and think you may be developing a vascular disease, contact the vein specialists at Fox Vein & Laser Experts right away. Our team will perform a consultation to assess your health condition and determine the best and most effective treatment plan for your care. Depending on the type of vascular treatment you have, or are at risk for, you may only require lifestyle changes at home to remedy your condition; or if the condition is more serious, a surgical procedure or minimally invasive treatment may be needed. To schedule an appointment for a consultation with our Miami vein doctor , call our office at 954-627-1045.
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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.