The average person has about 100,000 miles of blood vessels in their body. Arteries deliver blood to your cells through a network of capillaries that then return blood to veins and complete the journey back to your heart.
Blood vessel research typically favors the arteries, so much is understood about the health impact as they deteriorate because of age or disease. Veins, comparatively, have less study. Yet, the flexibility of vein walls contributes significantly to the maintenance of healthy blood pressure.
Vein issues result in a variety of health disorders, including varicose veins, thrombosis, and edema. MD Vein & Skin Specialists are your best choice for vein treatment in the Columbia, Maryland, area. Contact Dr. Clement Banda and our team for the finest in venous care.
The role of veins
Veins and arteries not only have different jobs, their composition varies to match their unique tasks. Arteries are more muscular, handling higher blood pressures, since they’re closer to the outward pumping action of the heart. Vein walls are flexible and elastic and fitted with valves that ensure blood flows in just one direction — back toward your heart.
Composed of collagen and elastin, the same proteins that give your skin its youthful volume and resilience, vein walls suffer over time, becoming less flexible. This loss of flex can contribute to high blood pressure.
Vein valves tend to thicken over time, and while the impact of this change is not yet fully understood, it coincides with the increase of vein conditions over time, most notably venous thrombosis, where blood clots form in veins, potentially moving through the bloodstream and causing embolisms.
Changes to the cardiopulmonary system
Veins are one part of the cardiopulmonary system, and each of the other parts experience age-related changes, too. For example, the heart tends to get larger, with thicker walls and increased chamber size, but it doesn’t beat as often, nor does heart rate increase as much with the effects of exercise.
As the walls of the heart get older, they, too, become less flexible, often resulting in filling problems for the left ventricle, a potential cause of heart failure. Artery walls lose their ability to stretch easily, reducing their adaptability to sudden changes in blood pressure. If you’ve ever felt dizzy from standing too quickly, you’re familiar with the practical effects of this phenomenon.
Add these changes to those occurring in older veins, and the risk of high blood pressure increases. Even if your blood pressure remains in the safe range, you’ll probably still see increases over your rates when you were younger.
How aging veins affect you
As well as blood pressure changes and thrombosis, aging veins can lead to varicose veins and their smaller cousins, spider veins. Both conditions trace back to the failure of venous valves, causing the pooling of blood within the blood vessel behind the failed valve. Since the vein walls are no longer elastic, they expand with the pressure of the pooled blood, often creating discolored blood vessels that are visible through your skin.
Varicose veins can be treated, and contacting MD Vein & Skin Specialists also gives Dr. Banda a chance to evaluate you for other health risks associated with aging veins. Call the office directly or request an appointment using the convenient online booking tool. Now is the time to ensure your veins won’t interfere with your health.