What are Veins?

Veins are the blood vessels that carry deoxygenated blood from parts of our body back to the heart. Since your heart is essential to your body functioning, it would seem veins are of equal importance. Let’s dive into what veins are, what they do and how they function.

What Veins Do

Our body’s circulatory system is broken up into 2 main components, veins and arteries. In short, arteries help in transporting blood from the heard to the rest of the body, and veins pump blood back to the heart. Veins are constantly working against gravity during the task of delivering blood to the heart, making their job very difficult.

Types of Veins

Superficial Veins

Superficial veins are located close to the skin’s surface and are comprised in groups of thousands – some are so small they aren’t even visible to the eye. These veins work together to collect blood from our skin and surrounding superficial tissues. This blood is then moved into the deep veins that are running parallel to the muscles.

Deep Veins

Deep veins are located within muscle tissue. As muscles contract, blood within these muscles move along the circulatory system and eventually pump blood to the heart. These have a corresponding artery nearby.

Pulmonary Veins

These veins transport blood that has been filled with oxygen by the lungs to the heart. Each lung has 2 sets of pulmonary veins on each side.

Systemic Veins

Located throughout the body, these veins run from the legs up to the neck to transport deoxygenated blood back to the heart.

Vein Anatomy

Outer Layer (Tunica Adventitia)

This layer is comprised mainly of collagen and elastic fibers. The fibers allow the veins to stretch a limited amount, allowing some flexibility while being stable enough to withstand the pressure of blood flow.

Middle Layer (Tunica Media)

This layer is made of smooth muscle and elastic fiber.

Inner Layer (Tunica Intima)

Like the outer layer, tunica intima is also made of collagen and elastic fiber.

When Veins Don’t Function Properly

All veins have one-way valves to bring blood up to the heart. If the vein valves aren’t functioning properly, the blood won’t flow up efficiently and veins can begin to swell. Over time, veins can become visibly enlarged causing serious damage. These enlarged and damaged veins are called varicose veins. These can be caused by many factors from genetics, to weight gain, to occupation.

If you suffer from varicose vein or other venous disease, Summit Skin and Vein can help! We will work with you to determine the best treatment plan in order to cure varicose veins in order to get you back to living a pain-free life. Give us a call today for your free vein screening.

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