WHAT ARE SPIDER VEINS?
A common condition that over 80% of people in America get as they age is spider veins. While it’s mostly seen among older people, you can get them when you are young. Most of a time they are a cosmetic issue, but some people do not like the look of them and want them removed. Here’s information about spider veins and what you can do to prevent and treat them.
Spider veins appear when small blood vessels near the surface of the skin become dilated with blood. This makes the vessels visible through the skin. The random patterns make it look somewhat like a spider’s web, which is where the name comes from. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are flat and don’t change the texture of the skin. They also don’t cause pain in most cases.
There are two common areas where spider veins appear, the legs and the face. The face gets more because there are many tiny blood vessels in the face so the odds of occurrence are higher. The legs get more because those are the vessels that have to work the hardest in the body.
Spider veins are like a less-serious version of varicose veins. Blood isn’t traveling as quickly through the vessels as it should, causing a buildup of blood in the vessel. If you get treatment for spider veins you should also get examined for vein disease at the same time to see if you may be having blood flow issues that could cause varicose veins later. If you experience pain and heaviness in the legs in the evenings and you have spider veins you should get examined. It could be a sign of a serious issue.
WHAT CAUSES SPIDER VEINS?
While spider veins are a common condition, there are certain factors that increase the chance that spider veins will appear. These include:
- Standing or sitting for too long
- Family history
- General lack of exercise
- Certain drugs (e.g. topical corticosteroids)
- Pregnancy (often clears up a few months after pregnancy)
- Certain congenital diseases
The best way to decrease your chances of getting spider veins is regular exercise. Strong blood flow keeps your veins healthy and will prevent a buildup of blood in the vessels.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR SPIDER VEINS?
If you do develop spider veins, do not lose heart. There are several different treatments for spider veins that do not require any surgery. For facial veins, a common treatment is laser surgery. The laser heats up points along the visible veins and causes scar tissue to form. This seals off the vein, which eventually withers and disappears. For the legs, a medicine is injected to cause a similar effect. This is called sclerotherapy and is an outpatient procedure.
If you never develop spider veins, you’re lucky. Most people will get some as they grow older, but if you don’t like how they look or if they start to hurt then contact one of our physicians today for a consultation. We’ll be glad to go over treatment options with you. We should note that many insurance companies treat spider veins as a cosmetic issue, so spider vein treatment may not be covered.
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