It’s that time of year again! The new year is just around the corner and with it comes resolutions to improve one’s lifestyle. Have varicose veins been an unforgettable part of your past year? It’s time to start the year 2022 with a fresh new view on how to prevent spider veins and varicose veins. This varicose vein care guide will help you prevent varicose veins in the upcoming new year. From at-home practices to medical vein treatments, you can begin improving the look of visible veins and better take care of your circulatory system.

We all know varicose veins are unsightly, not to mention uncomfortable and painful. Varicose veins can affect not only your self-confidence but your health as well. But did you know they can also lead to serious health problems? These risks include blood clots, ulcers, skin infections, and more. Make your vascular health a priority this year.

Where Did These Veins Come From?

First, you may wonder where these little colored veins came from and if they will go away.
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that you can see just below the surface of the skin. They often look like cords or ropes and tend to be blue, purple, or red in color. Spider veins are smaller varicose veins and they usually look like a spider web or tree branches with their thin lines radiating out from a central point.

Diagram of damaged vein showing varicose vein

What Causes Spider Veins?

Telangiectasia, more commonly known as “spider veins” can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the causes of spider veins include:

  • Disease
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Heredity and genetic factors
  • Sun damage
  • Other vein diseases
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Smoking (and secondhand smoke)
  • Exposure to toxins (like arsenic) over a long time period

Increased pressure on veins or damaged vein walls can increase the chances of these dilated blood vessels showing on the surface of the skin.

Do Spider Veins Go Away

The permanence of spider veins depends on the cause in some cases. Spider veins might go away on their own if the root cause was from pregnancy or medication. By keeping physical fitness and staying within a healthy weight, you increase your chances of spider veins disappearing on their own or at least the possibilities of preventing new ones from forming.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways to prevent spider veins, and the most important factor is to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent their occurrence in the first place. Spider veins can lead to varicose veins and more visible damage. If you already have spider veins, don’t worry – there are plenty of treatment options available. Consult with the vascular surgeons at The Vein Centre to find the best solution for you. Start the new year off right by including vein health in your resolution!

What Causes Varicose Veins?

The root cause of varicose veins is increased pressure on vein walls. If vein walls are weak or subject to high pressure, they stretch and become damaged. Damaged veins and valves can’t carry blood upward to the heart effectively. When blood pools in veins, it is possible to see underneath the skin surface. It can cause pain and blood clots or other more serious venous diseases.

Varicose veins are often acquired, meaning they occur over time. Genetics play a role in the risk of developing varicose veins as well as age, pregnancy, and obesity. The best way to prevent new or worsening varicosity is by managing weight gain during pregnancy and maintaining healthy blood pressure through diet changes and exercise.

There are several factors that can contribute to varicose veins, but here we will explain the most common:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth: Pregnancy puts extra pressure on veins. The enlarged uterus restricts blood flow and the baby’s weight adds to the load. Women also have around 25% more blood in their body by the time of delivery.
  • Age: With age, tissues lose their elasticity and veins can become less efficient in moving blood against gravity.
  • Obesity: Carrying around extra weight increases the strain on veins.
  • Standing or sitting for long periods: When you stand or sit, blood pools in your leg veins because of gravity. This pressure can damage vein walls and valves over time.
  • Smoking: Smoking damages the inner lining of veins and makes them more likely to leak.
  • Heredity: If your parents had varicose veins, you’re more likely to develop them too.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men.
  • Inactivity: Not being active can contribute to vein problems because it decreases the efficiency of your leg muscles in pushing blood upward.

Do Varicose Veins Go Away?

Varicose veins and spider veins don’t go away naturally. With the correct lifestyle changes, health circumstances, or bodily changes, they can become less visible at times but will require medical procedures to remove entirely. If you are no longer pregnant or lose weight, for example, you may notice less visible veins but they are still there.

The good news is that most cases of varicose veins can be managed with lifestyle changes and non-invasive treatments. If you are pregnant or obese, make sure to consult your doctor before starting any new treatment plan. Prevention is always the best measure to prevent vein damage, but all is not lost.

Even if you’ve had varicose veins for a long time, new treatments are available that can help reduce their appearance. Sclerotherapy, thermal ablation, vein stripping, and microphlebectomy are medical procedures available to remove varicose veins, which can be considered minimally invasive.

How do you prevent spider veins and varicose veins? There are several healthy practices you can follow to improve your vascular health.

Woman's legs - exercise to get rid of varicose veins

How to Prevent Varicose Veins This New Year!

There are many ways you can prevent varicose veins and keep them from developing in the first place. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t smoke! Tobacco smoke can decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood and thicken it. This thickness makes it harder for blood to flow freely and puts stress on veins. The addictive chemical in tobacco, nicotine, also causes vascular hardening and narrowing. This creates an environment in which veins struggle to function.
  • Drink water. In contrast to smoking, staying hydrated helps to thin the blood. This thinner blood can flow easily through veins and removes stress and pressure on vein walls. Keeping veins less stressed and functioning properly. Poor circulation and blood clots from thick blood can cause not only varicose veins but deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a more serious health concern.
  • Use compression stockings. While they may not go with every outfit, wearing compression stockings when possible can give your veins a much-needed break. The tight compression material squeezes the muscles and veins in the lower leg. The additional pressure helps veins to move blood back up the heart, relieving stress, pain, and swelling. Even if you don’t want to wear this vein health aid regularly, wearing it during travel or often while pregnant can give your vein appearance a positive boost.
  • Elevated legs. Whenever possible, you can manually help blood flow and circulation back to your heart. Lay back and raise your legs above your hip level. If you don’t have a space to lie down, like during the workday, use a chair or ottoman to help get your legs higher to prevent varicose veins. While lying in bed, use pillows to prop your legs up.
  • Take Brakes. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time without taking breaks to move around. When you’re sitting, try to keep your feet elevated on a stool or cushion. And when you have to stand for an extended period of time, shift your weight and take breaks often by walking around.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra pounds puts stress on veins and increases the risk for varicose veins, as well as other vein conditions. If you’re pregnant or obese, losing weight can help improve your vascular health and reduce varicose veins even more than most prevention tips!
  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. This helps to regulate blood pressure and keeps an optimal fluid balance in the bloodstream for smooth flow through veins.
  • Avoid constricting clothing and accessories that aren’t medical compression devices like girdles, tight socks or pantyhose, garters, etc. These can increase pressure on veins in the legs which leads to both varicosities and spider veins over time.

Varicose Vein Health Complications

Spotting varicose veins early is key to preventing serious health complications. You can begin spotting varicose veins and vascular health concerns at home by taking note of the following:

  • Bulging, bluish-colored varicose veins (also known as blue or purple varicose) are varicosities that usually occur on the legs due to vascular weakening and bulging veins.
  • Swollen ankles or legs, especially after prolonged sitting or standing can be a sign of blood clots in the lower leg.
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the leg can be a sign of DVT. If you have any of these symptoms that are new or unusual for you, it’s important to see your doctor right away!
  • Having varicose veins doesn’t necessarily mean a higher risk for blood clots but if you do have varicose veins and symptoms such as new leg pain, new swelling in the legs or ankles, new blood clots.
  • Large veins close to the skin are weakened. The possibility of a varicose vein bursting or rupturing increases with the severity of the vein damage. A large untreated varicose vein can rupture if it is bumped, releasing a large amount of blood.

As you can see, there are a few key things to watch out for when it comes to varicose veins – especially if they’re new or unusual symptoms.

Treating Existing Varicose Veins

Once veins have appeared, there are a few choices on how to get rid of varicose and spider veins. One option is sclerotherapy, and this utilizes an injected saline solution. Another option is laser surgery that removes veins using intense bursts of light.

Sclerotherapy For Varicose Veins

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive medical procedure that removes visible varicose veins and improves cosmetic appearances. With this method, veins are injected with a solution that irritates the vein wall. This causes the vein to collapse in on itself and stick together. When this happens, the body will remove the nonfunctioning material, and the vein will disappear.

Doctors have a variety of injectable solutions to choose from like sclerosant, hypertonic saline, sodium tetradecyl sulfate, polidocanol, and chromated glycerin. The cost of treating varicose veins with sclerotherapy will vary depending on the location of veins, size, and number. Insurance will generally not cover the expense unless the varicose veins have become a medical concern.

Laser Surgery For Varicose Veins

Laser surgery and endovenous ablation therapy are two ways to treat varicose veins. These treatments don’t involve major surgery and are less painful. Simple laser surgery may be enough to remove smaller varicose veins and spider veins. Although, more than one treatment may be necessary. This technique treats veins from outside the skin with bursts of high-intensity light. No incisions or needles are used, so this can be an easy way to remove visible veins that are still on the smaller side.

Endovenous ablation uses laser but is a little bit more involved way to remove veins. During this technique, a small incision is made to allow a laser fiber to be inserted into the varicose vein. This fiber is placed through the entire length of the vein being removed. The laser fiber will heat up, causing the vein to shrink and close up. After the vein is closed and no longer functioning, the body will dissolve the remaining matter, and the vein will disappear. While this procedure is quick, it requires more downtime and aftercare to ensure proper healing.

Make An Appointment at The Vein Centres of Nashville

If you have varicose veins or spider veins that you would like to have removed before summer starts, give the board-certified surgeons at The Vein Centre a call to schedule your consultation. Our expert vascular surgeons at The Vien Centre can help you maintain your vascular health and the cosmetic aesthetic of healthy, non-visible veins.