Your veins play an important role in ensuring that your body continues to function normally. However, sometimes these veins will bulge out through the surface of your skin, especially when you engage in strenuous exercises like working out or sitting in traffic for long hours.
The question that many people ask is: What do blue veins say about your health? This article talks about blue veins, their meaning, causes, and treatment options.
What Are Blue Veins?
First, you need to understand that veins are the life force of your blood circulatory system. Your veins and vein valves are the ones that work tirelessly to bring the blood back to your heart when your arteries distribute it all over your body. But since human blood is red, how come the veins are blue?
The answer to this question depends on several things, including how your eyes identify color, how light behaves when it penetrates your body and your blood’s special properties.
So, if your skin is pale, your veins are likely to look blue. These veins normally appear on your arms, neck, chest, and legs. Actually, having visible veins appearing through the surface of your skin is normal.
Your veins appear blue because light has to enter your skin to illuminate them. Since red lights have longer wavelengths, they can penetrate your skin better than blue lights. Their long wavelength allows them to travel further under your skin to where they are absorbed by hemoglobin.
Blue lights, on the other hand, do not penetrate as deep under your skin as the red lights do. Therefore, the blue light, which is the shorter wavelength, is the one that bounces back to your eyes. This explains why your veins appear blue.
But why is it that only the veins appear blue? According to Science Blogs, your veins are the only visible vessels in your body. Therefore, it’s very easy to see them through your skin. Furthermore, veins are larger and more superficial than arteries.
Also, veins have thinner walls than arteries and are located near the surface of your skin. This also explains why your veins appear blue. But is it normal to have blue veins bulging out through the surface of your skin?
Are Blue Veins Normal?
As mentioned above, it is normal to have blue veins bulging out through the surface of your skin. However, sometimes this could spell trouble, especially if the bulging blue veins are too big. This could mean that you have varicose veins, which are a common symptom of poor vein health.
While some people view varicose and spider veins as a simple cosmetic problem, they can cause serious pain, aching, discomfort, and other serious health problems, including:
• Chronic Venous Insufficiency: pooling of blood that causes chronic swelling in the legs, increased blood pressure, and skin discoloration.
• Superficial venous thrombosis or phlebitis: this is a blood clot that normally forms in the veins near the surface of your skin.
• Deep vein thrombosis: this is a blood clot that forms deep inside the affected vein.
• Ulcers: this is an open sore that refuses to heal.
Medical experts claim that varicose veins are mainly caused by frail vein walls and valves. Valves are the tiny one-way faucets found inside your veins. These valves are designed to open to let the blood into the veins and close to stop it from flowing backward.
Unfortunately, sometimes the walls within your veins become weak and stretched, losing their elasticity.
When this happens, the valves will become weak and lose their ability to prevent blood from flowing backward. This also causes the blood to collect in your veins, causing them to swell and enlarge. However, it is still not clear why the walls and valves inside the veins become stretched and weak.
Some people have been found to develop this problem for no apparent reason. Here are several things that are known to increase the risk of developing varicose veins:
• Being female
• Hereditary issues
• Old age
• Excess body weight
• Working long hours while standing
• Other conditions
Research suggests that women are more susceptible to varicose veins than men, especially since their hormones are likely to make their vein walls relax, causing their valves to leak and allow blood to flow backward.
Also, if you have a close family member who has varicose veins, your likelihood of developing the same problem is very high. And as you grow older, your veins are likely to lose elasticity, causing the valves inside them to stop working properly.
You also need to check your body weight because the excess weight will put extra pressure on your veins, forcing them to work extra hard to send enough blood back to your heart.
Consequently, your vein valves will always be under pressure, making them susceptible to leaking. The problem of varicose veins that are due to excess body weight is very common among women.
If your occupation involves standing for a long period, then you are more susceptible to developing varicose veins, especially because standing for long periods prevents blood from flowing freely in your legs. When you are pregnant, the amount of blood in your body increases to support the fetus.
The extra blood puts a strain on your veins, increasing the risk of stretched vein walls and weak valves.
Sometimes the problem of varicose can be caused by a previous blood clot, swelling, tumor in the pelvis, or abnormal blood vessels.
How to Reduce Blue Veins
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Since varicose veins put you at the risk of developing blood clots, you should have them checked by your medical doctor. You should also see a doctor if the bulging blue veins cause the following symptoms:
• Sore, painful, or throbbing legs. Sometimes the veins will make your legs feel heavy or weak.
• Vein inflammation due to a blood clot.
• Open sores on your skin due to blood and other fluid buildups. This buildup is caused by poor circulation.
• Swollen legs, ankles, or feet.
Treatment Options for Blue Veins
The most effective treatment for blue veins depends on the size of the veins, the complexity of their branches, and the presence of a blood clot.
So, the first step will be a physical examination of the affected veins by the doctor and ultrasound imaging. Once the doctor establishes the extent of the damage to the veins, they can determine the best way to treat them.
One of the most common treatment options for varicose veins is wearing compression stockings. But these stockings may not be very effective if the affected veins are too large and complicated. In this case, your doctor will recommend other treatments, including:
• Sclerotherapy: This treatment involves the use of a chemical solution injected into the affected veins to make them collapse and ultimately disappear. But you might need several sclerotherapy sessions, depending on the number of veins affected and how complicated they are. This treatment method is more suitable for small to medium varicose veins.
• Endovenous ablation: This technique is normally done in the operating room with local anesthesia. It involves the use of laser and radio-frequency technologies to close off the veins.
• Surgery: If your varicose veins are too large and complicated, they should be removed surgically. It can either be performed as an office procedure or an outpatient hospital procedure.