About 15-20% of adults have varicose veins visible on the legs
For veins to pump blood uphill against gravity, there needs to be movement. This movement is supplied by the movement of the leg muscles during walking or exercise. During movement, the muscles push on the veins, “squashing” them and squirting blood up and out of the veins. This results in the blood getting forced upwards into the pelvis against gravity.
However, when the muscles relax and the veins relax open again, the blood should rush back into the leg with gravity, if it weren’t for one-way valves stopping it. These valves are like little “pockets” on the vein wall. They point upwards. when blood is pumped upwards, they are forced to open. However when blood starts to fall back downwards with gravity, the valves open to stop this from happening.
If blood falls back down the leg veins, it is called “reflux” (or “venous reflux”). It is venous reflux that is the major cause of most venous diseases. Venous reflux is almost always the cause of varicose veins.
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