Have you ever taken a moment to really consider the internal systems of your body? The human body (and that of all animals on earth) is a bizarre and fascinating machine, full of large, complex organs connected by massive, complex systems. Today, we’re focusing on the venous system--for obvious reasons.
The discovery of blood circulation is largely credited to a 17th century doctor named William Harvey. Harvey, a Briton by birth, earned his medical doctorate in Italy at the age of 24, then returned to his home country and began his climb towards being one of the nation’s most renowned physicians. He was a personal doctor to King James I, as well as a practicing physician at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital and a lecturer and board member for England’s College of Physicians. Harvey was the first person to study the notion that the heart might be responsible for pumping blood throughout the body (prior students of anatomy postulated that the lungs were responsible).
Veins run throughout your entire body. If you were to lay out every vessel in the vascular system found in the average adult in a straight line, you would have over 100,000 miles worth of veins--that’s enough to wrap around the Earth at the equator four times over and still have extra veins with which to deal. It is a lot of space to cover, with your blood pumping through them constantly, running from the heart throughout the body and back again in a little under a minute. Two thousand gallons of blood rush through your heart daily, propelled by over a hundred thousand beats, and if anything starts to break down it can have disastrous consequences on your body.
There are several different types of veins, broken into several categories. Pulmonary veins are smallest in number, but immensely important to your life. Numbering only four in the entirety of the body, these veins carry blood into your lungs to be oxygenated for use. Systemic veins make up the majority of that 100,000 mile journey around the body.
Systemic veins can be divided into three basic types: superficial, connecting, and deep. Superficial veins are located just below the surface of the skin in the body’s layer of fatty tissue--many of these are actually visible as blue lines throughout the body (a bizarre trick of the light passing through the red blood, fat layers, and skin). These are connected by itty-bitty short veins to the deep veins. Deep veins are larger, running through muscle and near the bones. They tend to come with interior valves that prevent blood from backing up or running the wrong way. They are also the hardest workers of the venous system, pushing blood along their length with incredible speeds, aided by the compression of working muscles.
Now that you know a thing or seven about your venous system, make sure you know where to turn if you ever have a situation that needs addressing. At the Vein & Vascular Center in Jackson, TN, we specialize in providing the most up-to-date, professional vascular care. Our office is located at 395 Hospital Blvd, Jackson , TN. Call us at 731-664-7395, or find us on the web at www.vvcjackson.com where you can learn more about our team and services.