Spider veins are actually dilated veins that are named for their web-like appearance. Since these blood vessels are close to the skin's surface, their red, blue or purple coloration is easily visible. In addition, the veins cause the skin to have a bumpy appearance. Here is a bit of information about spider veins and their treatment.
Are spider veins the same as varicose veins?
Spider veins may seem similar to varicose veins, but they differ in size. Varicose veins, which are actually veins that are full of pooled or collected blood, are larger.
Do spider veins occur solely in the legs?
Spider veins can actually occur on any part of the body. However, they are more likely to appear on the face or legs.
What are some of the symptoms of spider veins?
In addition to their bumpy, branch-like appearance, spider veins have other symptoms, such as the following:
- Restlessness in the legs
- Throbbing sensations and cramps
- Swelling of affected tissues
- Ulcers on the skin
- Blood clots
- A rash around the veins
What causes spider veins to develop?
Spider veins are caused by damage or weakness within the valves of the veins. If the valves malfunction, they may not permit blood to exit the vessel as it should. As a result, the blood can pool within the veins, inciting swelling. Here are a few factors that can increase your likelihood of developing spider veins:
- Your age. People are more likely to develop spider veins as they grow older.
- Blood clots. If you have had blood clots in the past, you may develop spider veins more easily.
- Your family. If people in your family frequently develop spider veins, you are more likely to have the condition.
- Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy, including hormones for birth control, can increase your chance of having spider veins.
- Pregnancy. Expecting mothers sometimes develop spider veins due to the increase in blood volume and circulatory changes of pregnancy.
- Prolonged standing or sitting. Jobs that require you to remain stationary for lengthy periods are associated with spider vein development.
- Obesity. Having a high BMI can place pressure on the legs and its blood vessels.
What are some of the treatments available for spider veins?
Your physician is likely to prescribe laser surgery or sclerotherapy to treat your spider veins. During laser surgery, light is directed into the spider veins to cause veins to slowly dissipate. Sclerotherapy uses an injectable solution to scar and close the web-like veins.
To learn more about spider veins and their treatment, schedule a consultation with a vein specialist in your area.