Blood Veins

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The capillaries absorb carbon dioxide and other waste products from the tissues and then flow the deoxygenated blood into the veins. The blood moving through the circulatory system puts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. Blood pressure results from the blood flow force generated by the pumping heart and the resistance of the blood vessel walls. When the heart contracts, it pumps blood out through the arteries. The blood pushes against the vessel walls and flows faster under this high pressure. When the ventricles relax, the vessel walls push back against the decreased force.

Blood flow slows down under this low pressure.

Broken blood vessels on face: Causes, treatment, and home remedies

Functions of the Blood. Anatomy of the Heart. Pulmonary and Systemic Circulation. Circulatory System Pathologies. When you select "Subscribe" you will start receiving our email newsletter. Use the links at the bottom of any email to manage the type of emails you receive or to unsubscribe. See our privacy policy for additional details. But wait a second — why don't you have them? And why do they look different from the veins on the inside of your wrist or elbow?

That's because those grown-up veins are varicose say: VAIR-uh-kose veins.

Why do our veins look blue when our blood is red?

What is a varicose vein, anyway? It's a vein that has become stretched and swollen with blood. To understand how that happens, let's learn a bit about what veins do.

You have veins and arteries running through your whole body. They are tiny tubes that carry blood to and from every part of your body, from your nose down to your toes. The flow of blood starts with the pumping action of your heart.

When your heart beats, it pumps your blood and moves it through all those little tubes. The arteries carry the blood from your heart out to your body, and the veins carry the blood from your body back to your heart. The blood going out to your body in the arteries is full of oxygen, which makes the blood bright red. But the blood coming back from your body in the veins is darker because your body parts have used up the oxygen in the blood.

That's why veins look purple or blue. It's a lot of work to move all that blood. Spider veins occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face.

They vary in size and often look like a spider's web. Self-care — such as exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings — can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and may prevent them from getting worse.

How Veins Transport Blood

But if you're concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures haven't stopped your condition from getting worse, see your doctor. Weak or damaged valves can lead to varicose veins. Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues, and veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated.


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Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward. If these valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow backward and pool in the vein, causing the veins to stretch or twist.

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There's no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving your circulation and muscle tone may reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. The same measures you can take to treat the discomfort from varicose veins at home can help prevent varicose veins, including:. Varicose veins care at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.

Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Varicose veins Normally, veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated.