Varicose Veins „Varicosities“

varicosities, marked before surgery

The term „varicose veins „originates from the Middle High German „crooked blood vessels“, that is contorted, winding veins. By definition, a varicose vein is not only winding but also enlarged. Such a vein can still be functional. The major cause for the beginning of varicose veins is an inherited weakness of the vein walls, whereby they are unable to cope with the blood pressure within, consequently leading to enlargement of the  vein ( Dilatation ). The function of the leg veins is to ensure the flow of the blood from the feet to the heart, countering the force of gravity, this only being possible thanks to the vein valves, which prevent the back-flow of the blood to the feet.

                      

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

As the varicose veins develop and are consequently enlarged, so the walls and the valves are progressively distended, leading eventually to the valve being unable to close ( insufficiency ). This then causes a back-flow and the veins become dysfunctional, that is to say impaired.

The resultant congestion in the veins causes their further enlargement and contortion. Many years may pass until a not visible, but only dilated vein with valve insufficiency, deteriorates to become a distorted varicose vein.