Anatomy and physiology of the vascular system.
Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood to the heart.
Veins have a series of valves that allow blood to be carried against gravity and prevent a back flow of blood.
Definition of "varicose veins."
Varicose veins are abnormally dilated veins, which may twist and turn.
It is caused by valves in the veins that stretch and weaken, causing blood to pool in the lower extremities.
Varicose veins can occur in legs, esophagus (food tube), or rectal area.
Factors that may increase risk of varicose veins.
Congenital weakness of vein structure.
Constrictive clothing (garters, girdles, etc.).
Prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
Venous obstruction (blood clots, tumors, etc.).
Signs and symptoms of varicose veins.
Enlarged, twisted veins.
Leg pain, especially after long periods of standing.
Night cramps in calves.
Brownish, dry skin.
Measures to prevent or manage varicose veins.
Avoid sitting or standing for long periods.
Avoid injury to extremities.
Avoid constrictive clothing.
Have frequent rest periods with feet elevated.
Wear elastic support hose.
Achieve and maintain ideal weight. (Provide "Weight Reduction" handout.)
Surgery as recommended.
Possible complication of varicose veins.
Venous stasis ulcers.