Learn about spider veins vs varicose veins
Spider veins and varicose veins are both common leg veins problems. Both types of veins may appear blue or purple, but spider veins and varicose veins have key differences. Understanding the differences can help you figure out which condition you have.
What is the difference between varicose veins and spider veins?
The main difference between varicose veins and spider veins is their size. Spider veins are small, thread-like veins that are visible through the skin. Varicose veins are larger and more visible.
Spider veins are also known as ‘visible veins,’ because they are tiny vein structures that can be seen through the skin. Varicose veins are larger than spider veins and can often be felt through the skin. Both spider veins and varicose veins develop due to pressure or damage in your vein walls.
What are varicose veins and what do varicose veins look like?
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that are visible through the skin. They’re more likely to appear in your legs and can feel painful.
Because they’re visible through the skin, varicose veins often have a visible appearance, which can be unsightly. They usually appear as a bulge or swelling that is bluish in color and can be painful to touch.
The good news is that varicose veins can be treated and prevented with simple lifestyle changes. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins:
- Avoid crossing your legs or putting pressure on your ankles while sitting or standing.
- Avoid wearing clothing or footwear that is too tight or too loose, as well as high heels.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your blood flowing well and prevent dehydration in your body.
- Get regular exercise to make sure you stay fit and healthy.
- Change positions often when sitting or standing for long periods of time.
What are spider veins and what do spider veins look like?
Spider veins are small blood vessels that are visible on the skin’s surface. They are named for their spider web-like appearance.
Spider veins appear as small red or blue lines on the skin. They may appear on the legs, face, and arms. Spider veins are more common in women than men, but anyone can develop them.
Spider veins are common and harmless, but they can be unsightly and embarrassing. Treating spider veins early can prevent them from getting worse and worsening your appearance. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medications, or minimally invasive procedures such as sclerotherapy or laser treatment.
What causes varicose veins and spider veins?
Vascular disease (VD) is the collective term for all problems related to the veins and arteries (blood vessels). VD occurs when there is a poor blood supply to the limbs.
For veins, VD refers to developmental abnormalities, as well as varicose veins and spider veins. Both conditions are caused by dilation of veins due to weakened vessel wall, distention of the vein walls, compression of the smaller vein by surrounding tissues, or excessive pressure in the veins. Spider veins are small varicose veins usually around 20-30 mm below the surface of the skin. The most common symptom is a reddish or purple discoloration in a spider-like pattern in your legs, arms, or around your ankles.
VD signs may include swelling, pain, skin discoloration, itching and/or tingling sensations in your limbs or abdomen. Spider veins can be painful or itchy (but not painful), and are sometimes accompanied with discoloration or thickening of the skin. They can also be accompanied with swelling in your legs or lower body if there is DV present.
Risk factors for VD include:
- Obesity: Excess abdominal fat tissue puts added pressure on major blood vessels in your abdomen (abdominal vena cava), increasing the risk for blood clot formation and DVT occurrence. In addition, when both protein and fat deposits increase within fat cells throughout the body they also gain more volume which puts more pressure on blood vessels which inhibits blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to your legs and feet resulting in tissue damage throughout your body including your limbs.
- Women: The risk for DVT increases in women during pregnancy and/or immediately following childbirth due to additional strain on their bodies as well as hormone levels shifting which can lead to DVT complications if not managed properly.
- Inactivity: Sedentary lifestyles are a major contributing factor to obesity which increases DVT risk as well as weakening leg muscles which hinders circulation making them more susceptible to clotting within their lower extremities).
- Age: There is a strong correlation between the incidence of DVT and age due to weakened immune systems which makes individuals more susceptible to infections that can travel throughout their bloodstreams causing inflammation that will eventually form into a clot cutting off blood supply altogether).
- Race: According to recent studies within African American patients suffering from DVT show 30% mortality rate compared with 8% within white patients indicating a distinct genetic
How are spider veins and varicose veins treated?
If you have spider veins and varicose veins, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatments to help improve their appearance.
Treatments may include:
- Using compression stockings to reduce swelling in your legs and improve circulation.
- Taking prescription medications to reduce vein bleeding and prevent blood clotting.
- Using lasers to destroy spider veins.
- Having sclerotherapy injections to dissolve Spider veins & varicose veins.
- Having vein surgery to improve vein function and remove the varicosities or spider veins.
San Diego Vein Specialists
If you are concerned about your vein health, it’s worth seeing a vein specialist for a consultation.
If you suffer from varicose veins or spider veins, we may recommend considering having a procedure done, such as EVLT, to cure the problem. If you are considering such a procedure, contact Kafri Wellness Clinic to schedule an evaluation and get more information.
At Kafri Wellness Clinic, we have over 25+ years of experience working with patients to address vein issues. We also take into consideration a cardiovascular approach to your treatment to give you as much insight into your health as possible.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you, please contact us today!