Along Came a Spider Vein

 In Articles

Our patients have a lot of questions about their spider veins, especially in the warmer months when everyone is ready to hit the beach or the lake.  People are, of course, a bit more self conscious about the appearance of their legs when the possibility of sporting a pair of daisy dukes arises (or worse, a bikini).  However, some people experience other symptoms and problems outside the realm of cosmetics, like aches, pain and swelling.  So what could be the cause of your spider veins?

Lets take a look at what the medical field has to say about this per Robert Weiss, MD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  You can also view this complete article by clicking this link:




What are Spider Veins?

Also known as telangiectasia, spider veins are a group of dilated veins that appear close to the surface of the skin and look like webs or tree branches.  They are usually red or blue. Although they can develop anywhere, they are most common on the legs and face.

What is the difference between spider veins and varicose veins?

Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins, but they are sometimes located together.  Varicose veins are swollen veins that have filled with pooled blood and often have been described as having a “ropey” appearance.  When it comes to your treatment options, varicose veins require a different approach.

What causes spider veins?

Spider veins are caused by increased pressure causing the vein to dilate.  Most often, elevated venous pressure is caused by incomplete valves in the deep and superficial veins.  In healthy veins, these valves direct blood upward and inward.

Some spider veins are caused by heredity vein wall weakness, where even normal venous pressure causes the vein to dilate and later become spider veins or varicose veins.

Pregnancy can also cause varicose and spider veins due to the hormonal (progesterone) changes causing the veins to become more pliable and the valves to soften.  Also, the enlarged uterus compresses the inferior vena cava, causing further venous hypertension and secondary distension of leg veins.

Being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle can also increase your risk for spider veins and varicose veins.  Anything that involves an increase of pressure in the abdomen (including excess fat) ups the risk.

What’s the best way to  prevent and maintain my vein issues?

Eating healthy and exercising are great ways to help lower your risk of getting spider veins and varicose veins.  By exercising you boost circulation and eating healthy reduces body fat. Compression stockings are a great way to reduce symptoms of spider veins such as pain.

What treatments are available?

If you are interested in improving the appearance of spider veins, there are several great options.  Two of which include sclerotherapy and laser vein therapy.  These procedures have little downtime and are minimally invasive.

If you are having issues with varicose veins, treatment options include: venous ablation using radiofrequency or laser energy, vein stripping, ambulatory phlebotomy and endoscopic vein surgery.

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