Varicose Vein Culprit Found?

For nearly 20 percent of the population, spider and varicose veins are a concern. They occur when blood pools in a faulty vein, creating unsightly lines or bulges, typically in the legs. They are usually harmless, but when enlarged, can create a health-threatening situation.

Luckily, we have several remedies at our disposal: injections, lasers, surgery and topical solutions. And now, researchers from Heidelberg University's Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology may have found a way to prevent the bulging veins all together.

In their quest to find the culprit behind varicose and spider veins, they discovered that a particular protein in the body responded to the stretching of the blood vessels by producing molecules that changed the structure of the vessel's wall architecture, that ultimately leads to the visible veins on the skin's surface. By inhibiting the function that leads to this protein's action, the varicose veins didn't grow during tests conducted in the lab.

"Using our model, we can now more precisely analyze the early stages of the disorder and test possible drugs for their ability to prevent varicose vein formation," said study leader Dr. Thomas Korff at Heidelberg's division of cardiovascular physiology. "Which, as a result, may improve the quality of life of afflicted patients."

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