Veins and Valves

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Veins and Valves

Valves Normal

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Veins and Valves

Most of our blood volume is carried in the veins (64%). Veins can expand to hold large amounts of blood. Veins are blood vessels that carry blood from the body back to the heart. Blood return from the legs occurs mainly through the deep veins. Within the veins, especially those of the legs are valves. Venous valves are bicuspid (two) flap like structures made of elastic tissue. The valves function to keep blood moving in one direction.

Once the blood has passed from the arteries through the capillaries, it is flowing at a slower rate because little pressure remains to move the blood along. Blood flow in the veins below the heart is helped back up to the heart by the muscle pump. The walls of the veins are thin and somewhat floppy. To compensate for this many veins are located in the muscles. Movement of the leg squeezes the veins, which pushes the blood toward the heart. When the muscles contract the blood within the veins is squeezed up the vein and the valves open. When the muscle is at rest, the valves close helping to prevent the backward flow of blood. This is referred to as the muscle pump.

Also see:
Compression Therapy FAQ
Helping Yourself to Healthier Legs
Pregnancy and importance of compression
Traveling and the effects on your legs
What is Gradient Compression
Information on Veins and Valves
Venous Problems
Other Medical Links

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