In our practice offering vein treatment in Phoenix, a question that comes up often is “Can arteries become varicose the way that veins do?” Well, the simple answer to this question is “No,” but like so many aspects of vascular medicine, understanding why the answer is “No” may require a bit more explanation.

What Arizona residents need to know about arteries and veins

Arteries and veins have very different functions. Your arteries route nutrient-rich and oxygen-rich blood from your heart and lungs to your organs and extremities. Then your veins route deoxygenated blood and waste products to your heart and lungs for renewal. How they do this is key to understanding why arteries don’t become varicose. Your arteries have thick walls filled with muscles that contract to pump blood as your heart beats; this provides the pumping action that “pushes” blood to all areas of your body. Vein walls are thinner and contain very little muscle tissue, and as a result they rely on the contraction of the muscles that surround them to pump blood back to the heart.

The fact that veins have no internal pumping muscles is what puts them at risk of becoming varicose. In healthy veins, the flow of blood in one direction to the heart and lungs is maintained by a series of tiny, one-way valves that open to allow blood to flow through, but then close to prevent it from flowing “backwards.” When these valves become weak or damaged due to vein disease, they become “leaky” and allow blood to pool in the veins, which causes them to swell and change color as they take on the bluish-purple color of deoxygenated blood. These swollen veins are what we call varicose. This reflux (backwards) flow cannot happen with arteries, because of their internal muscles. Arteries can become diseased in many other ways, but they can’t turn varicose.

What can be done to treat veins once they have become varicose?

Unfortunately, once vein disease has damaged the venous valves, they can’t be “fixed” or repaired, either by drugs or surgery. What can be done by Arizona varicose vein treatment specialists is to close the damaged veins, using gentle, minimally-invasive procedures such as sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, or endovenous laser therapy. The closed veins then collapse and are automatically absorbed into surrounding tissue, while healthier veins in the area take over the work of routing blood back to the heart and lungs.

How to find out more about vein disease and how it’s treated

The modern, state-of-the-art vein treatments offered by Comprehensive Interventional Care Centers are safe, painless, and can be completed in about an hour in the comfort of our Arizona offices. So if you have varicose veins, or their smaller cousins spider veins, instead of assuming that your only option is to “live with them,” why not give our Arizona vein specialists a call today. We’ll schedule a venous health screening and start you back on the path to good circulatory health.

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