Healthy veins are essential to living. They work to carry our blood throughout the body to the lungs and heart, after which our arteries will take the blood back down only to be returned again by the veins. Our circulatory system does this thousands of times over in a lifetime. A healthy vein can easily manage the return of the blood back up to the heart, against gravity. While most vein disease has a strong genetic link, the more time we spend on our feet and sedentary, the more we increase the likelihood that our veins will have difficulty returning the blood. Our veins have elastic vein walls and small valves that help keep the blood flowing back in the direction of the heart. Age will decrease this elasticity, allowing blood to pool and the veins to become varicose, or abnormally swollen and knotted.
Approximately 20 to 30 million people in the United States suffer from venous disorders, most of them women. If you are one of them, you should know there are painless treatments available. The most common disorders include varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and spider veins. While usually not life-threatening, venous disorders still affect your circulatory system and can lead to more serious complications, such as ulcers, blood clots, stroke, and even death.