Spider and varicose veins have one distinctly common characteristic – they can be unsightly enough to cause significant embarrassment. In addition to their cosmetic concern, do these visible veins share any common factors? The answer to that question depends on where the veins are located and what underlying cause might be contributing to their appearance.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are visible vessels that frequently appear on the legs. However, these veins can also appear on the arms, face and abdomen. The networks of red, blue or purple of lines can often resemble a spider’s vein, which is where they get their name. There are a variety of factors that might contribute to the formation of spider veins:
- Excessive exposure to UV rays
- Trauma to the skin
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Some medications or medical conditions
- Weight gain or a sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of spider veins
These veins are not typically accompanied by physical symptoms. However, some patients with spider veins do experience the following side effects:
- Pain or heaviness in the legs, especially at the end of the day
- Swelling of the lower leg, ankle and foot
- Cramping or restless legs when you try to rest at night
- Fatigue in the legs after long periods of standing or sitting
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are usually larger than spider veins and typically appear on the lower legs. These veins may also be discolored and may actually protrude above the surface of the skin. In some cases, they resemble flesh-colored, ropey vines that twist up the lower legs.
In addition to their unsightly appearance, varicose veins can cause similar symptoms to those listed above. Left untreated, they can also lead to discoloration of the skin and the formation of open sores around the ankles. Known as venous ulcers, these sores can become quite large and difficult to treat.
The Primary Cause of Varicose Veins
While spider veins can have a number of causes, varicose veins are most frequently the visible result of an underlying vein condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. This condition occurs when tiny valves inside the veins that are responsible for keeping blood flowing in a single direction stop working properly. This allows blood to reflux back into the veins, leading to swelling and varicosity.
The Role of Spider Veins
When spider veins appear near varicose veins, or are accompanied by the same symptoms, they can be a product of venous insufficiency as well. When this is the case, both spider and varicose veins are likely to get worse, rather than better, if they are left untreated. The good news is there are effective treatments for both spider and varicose veins that will address the underlying condition to eliminate both the appearance of the veins and their uncomfortable symptoms.
Seeking Treatment for Visible Veins
At the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we offer treatment options for both spider and varicose veins. We can tailor our treatment options to your specific condition and concerns to ensure the best possible results from your procedure. All of our treatments are minimally-invasive, which means you can return home the same day as your procedure and usually resume your regular schedule the same day or the next day.
Don’t suffer the embarrassment or physical discomfort of spider or varicose veins any longer. We can help you eliminate the appearance of your veins and their painful symptoms. Contact the Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin today at 800-910-8346.