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Facts About the Human Veins

Posted by Joanna Culley on

These ducts can be superficial enough for us to see them clearly beneath our skin, or so deep into our organs that they can only be seen in diagrams and medical illustrations in our doctor’s office. Commonly, physicians and health practitioners refer to them as “blood vessels”, and confusion begins to arise. It is also very common to mistake veins with arteries, which are in fact the two main types of blood vessels in our bodies, along with capillaries.

In order to define the differences, it is important to know that veins are blood vessels that return the less oxygenated blood, full with waste products from all the different process in the body, back to the heart where toxins and harmful elements can be excreted.

There are more types of veins than what you thought

Veins can vary in type and size depending on their functions, but they mainly divide into four categories. They can be:

  • Deep: Located into the muscle tissue. They have an artery counterpart that carries the oxygenated blood.
  • Superficial: Smaller and closer to the skin with no complementary artery.
  • Pulmonary: Connect both right and left lungs back to the heart.
  • Systemic: Transport deoxygenated blood from the different organs in the body. They are spreaded from the neck to the bottom of the legs.

Are your veins strong enough?

According to Dr. Albert Malvehy, a venous and lymphatic specialist and phlebology sonographer, veins have to go against the force of gravity in order to carry to blood back to the heart. When they are too weak to do this, blood can gather in the lower body and cause pain, swelling and wounds. This is known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency.

Nobody has blue veins

This is a  myth that has been debunked constantly. On their blog, West Medical explains that it is all about the way light hits your skin and our perception of colors. If it looks very blue or purple-like, it is because the vein is deep down the skin, but your blood never really turns that color.

Watch out for the weather

Veins, as well as the rest of the body’s blood vessels, are extremely sensitive to cold and hot weather. When it is a very hot day, they expand to release heat from your body; and if it a cold day, they restrict themselves to keep you warm.

Why do we look so veiny sometimes?

Physiology professor Mark A.W. Andrews, in a piece for Scientific American, stated that the reason why veins look more protrude during exercise is because of arterial blood pressure. It is all part of a process called filtration.

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