In the perfect machine of the human body, the function of the cardiovascular system is performed by the heart which pumps through the arteries blood oxygenated by the lungs.
The veins, in turn, carry oxygen-deprived blood from peripheral areas to the heart.
On the other hand, the capillary vessels, the smallest in our body, are found between the final part of an artery and the initial part of a vein and form a tight network that forms the microcirculation that serves to bring oxygen inside cells and the substances necessary for their subsistence.
In the legs, the veins can be found on the surface (superficial or epifascial veins) or in depth (deep veins, subfascial, in muscle interstices).
The swallow's nest valves, or venous valves are incorporated into the wall of the venous system to encourage blood to flow back to the heart where it is most needed, where the flow is more difficult, and to prevent it from coming back down (venous reflux).
In fact, they perform the function of "pump" of venous blood with the muscles responsible for the movement of the lower limbs which activate them.
Circulatory system disorders
Over time and as a result of erroneous daily habits, pregnancy, heredity and hormonal problems, the walls of the veins may gradually dilate and lose their tone and elasticity. The swallow's nest valve system is compromised. The blood has difficulty returning to the heart and tends to stagnate, especially in the distal areas of the legs (first the ankles and then the calves).
These are small red or bluish veins that appear on the surface of the skin. They are commonly called "capillaries". When they expand, they become very visible and form unsightly networks. In most cases, they present without a specific cause, even when there are no circulatory problems; their appearance can be favored by: family predisposition, pregnancy, “pill”, trauma or too forceful massages.
These are dilations of the veins which tend, over time, to become sinuous. The most common (truncal varices) form near the saphenous vein and collateral veins. Peripheral networks (reticular varicose veins) also form on the back surface of the thighs and legs. Very often, reticular varicose veins are considered only an aesthetic factor, but they can cause real disorders such as truncal varicose veins. In their initial phase, they cause a feeling of heaviness, fatigue and tension in the legs and ankles. Then swelling occurs in the legs (edema) accompanied by night cramps. There may also be hypodermitis with inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue. If the venous insufficiency is not treated, it can become chronic, with the presence of ulcers.
A clot is present in the veins, often due to the slow flow of blood. Thrombosis can affect deep veins with the risk of pulmonary embolism. If the thrombus forms in a superficial vein (often varicose), the skin becomes red and hot, the vein is painful, hard, anelastic. In this case, there is normally no risk of pulmonary embolism. The causes of deep vein thrombosis can be different: blood diseases, trauma, prolonged bed rest.
It is a lesion of the skin. It is not very painful when it is not infected, but it does require constant care, normally twice a week. Usually ulcers occur on the inner side of the ankle and are caused by impaired venous circulation, sometimes with arterial insufficiency (mixed ulcer). The most effective treatment is saphenous vein surgery (if needed), combined with medication, physical therapy, and elastocompression.
GLOSSARY of blood circulation
ARTERY : blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the organs.
VEIN: blood vessel that carries blood from the periphery of the body to the heart. It has swallowtail valves to prevent backflow of blood.
DEEP VEIN : vein distributed in the middle of the muscles.
SUPERFICIAL VEIN : vein located in the middle of the subcutaneous adipose tissue.
VARICOUS VEIN: permanent dilation of a vein where the blood circulates in the opposite direction to the normal direction, from the groin to the foot, with regressive deterioration of its walls.
TRUNCULAR VARICE: relating to the trunk to which the vein from which it develops belongs.
VARICECTOMY: surgical excision of a varicose vein.