While many individuals use the terms varicose veins and spider veins interchangeably, they actually refer to two different venous conditions. How do you know whether your leg veins are spider veins or varicose veins? Consider this overview on the various causes of varicose veins and spider veins.
Varicose veins are blue or reddish enlarged veins that affect 72% of American women and 42% of men. Often swollen and raised above the surface of your skin, varicose veins typically look like twisted, bulging cords or ropes. These unsightly veins are usually found on the thighs, backs of the calves, or inside of the legs, and can also develop during pregnancy.
Symptoms: Aching pain that gets worse when sitting or standing, throbbing, cramping, leg heaviness, swelling, itching and skin discoloration.
Spider veins are like varicose veins but much smaller in size and are also much closer to the surface of the skin. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face and look like tree branches or spider-webs with their short jagged lines. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins may often be present without causing any pain or leg discomfort.
Causes of Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Both spider veins and varicose veins are caused by weakened venous valves that cause poor blood circulation. Your veins are designed to pump blood back to your heart where it can be re-oxygenated and distributed to your organs and tissues. When the valves inside your veins weaken or become damaged, they lose the ability to properly pump blood back to your heart, forcing the blood to pool inside the vein walls. Varicose and spider veins may also be caused by congenital abnormalities, heredity, excessive weight gain, blood clots, or phlebitis.
Varicose and spider veins are not only annoying, but they can also lead to serious health problems, such as leg ulcers, superficial thrombophlebitis, and deep vein thrombosis. Let our vein specialists with Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan educate you on our vein treatment and spider vein treatment options.