WHAT ARE SPIDER VEINS?

Spider veins are a common concern, that well over 80% of people in the United States get as they age. Spider veins can occur at any age. 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 tend to 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. This happens when blood does not travel as quickly as it should through the blood vessels. As a result, the blood builds up in the vessel and becomes visible through the skin.

If you get treatment for spider veins you should also get examined for vein disease at the same time. This will help you find out if you are at risk for developing varicose veins. 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 known as deep vein thrombosis.

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
    • Age
    • Certain drugs (e.g. topical corticosteroids)
    • Pregnancy
    • Smoking
    • 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 TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO ME?