The circulatory system is full of veins, arteries and capillaries that circulate blood throughout the body. Arteries take bright red, oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins transport the darker, deoxygenated red blood back to the heart to start the process over again. But if blood is red, why can veins appear blue?
Reasons That Veins Are Blue
The primary reason veins are blue is the way wavelengths of light hit the skin. White light can carry colors and waves with varying lengths. Red has the ability to travel the farthest. Violet waves are the shortest, and all the other colors fall somewhere in between.
Therefore, red wavelengths can travel farther than blue ones to go below the surface when light hits the skin. The red light is absorbed into the hemoglobin within your blood, turning internal blood red. Since blue wavelengths do not travel as far, the color is not absorbed in the same way. The result is the appearance of blue or green veins from the surface.
Veins are the only vessel we can see from the surface of our skin because they are larger, have thinner walls and are shallower than arteries or capillaries.
Vein Complications to Look Out For
While blue veins are normal, some complications can arise in this part of the body. Be aware of signs of venous insufficiency, a condition in which the veins in your hands or legs do not allow blood to flow back to your heart. Here is a list of symptoms to look out for:
Pain or throbbing
Treatment for Troublesome Veins
Natural aging can lead to twisted or enlarged veins called varicose veins. Consistent standing and sitting can increase pressure in your legs, causing blood to pool in your veins. Varicose veins can be cosmetic in nature or could indicate a more serious underlying circulatory problem.
At Texas Vein & Wellness Institute, we offer treatment to help target varicose veins and other troublesome veins in the legs. Whether your motivation is cosmetic or you want to prevent medical complications, the following options can help:
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): This new, minimally invasive technique involves inserting a thin catheter into the affected vein. The catheter introduces radiofrequency energized heat to close and seal the vein.