Varicose veins are veins under the skin of the legs, which have become widened, bulging, and twisted. They are very common and do not cause medical problems in most people.
There are two main systems of veins in the legs:
Deep veins. The leg muscles squeeze the deep veins during walking, carrying most of the blood back up the legs to the heart.
Super cial veins occur under the skin which are less important and can form varicose veins.
All of these veins contain one-way valves to ensure that the blood ows towards the heart.
Failure of these valves allows blood to ow backwards down the veins and results in an overload of pressure when standing. This excess pressure leads to widening of the veins so that they do not close properly. Blood then ows back into the leg along these veins and causes varicose veins.
Raised pressure in these veins also encourages the development of spider veins and discoloured areas which look like bruises.
There is little information available on the Internet and elsewhere regarding blood donation for those suffering from varicose veins and other vein diseases. As a result, individuals with vein diseases may feel left out or inadequate, which may lessen otherwise acceptable donations to a worthy cause like the American Red Cross. The vein specialists at Palm Vein Center in Surprise and Laveen, Ariz. recognizes there is a lack of information on this topic and wants to address whether or not donating blood with varicose veins and other vein diseases is dangerous.