Spider and varicose veins are often confused with one another, although they're entirely different conditions. You may notice tiny blue or red veins on your legs or face if you have spider veins.
The good news is that spider veins are usually only a cosmetic issue. They rarely signal a more significant problem. But you must know the risk factors if you want to avoid this condition altogether.
Our Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute team offers specialized treatment for spider veins. Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Abdulghani Saadi are our heart and vascular care specialists. If you're at risk for spider veins, you would benefit by following our prevention tips.
Understanding spider veins
Spider veins are tiny, visible veins that appear on the surface of your skin. They often appear on your legs or your face, usually your cheeks.
Spider veins are sometimes confused with varicose veins, but they're not the same. Varicose veins are more extensive than spider veins. They're also signs of a more significant issue with your vascular system, while spider veins are generally harmless.
When you have spider veins, they appear like lines under your skin or can look like branches of tiny veins. Spider veins don't typically cause pain like varicose veins.
If you have spider veins in your legs, you may have an issue with the valves in your veins. When your valves malfunction, the blood doesn't flow effectively back to your heart. Your blood can pool in your veins, which causes spider veins to appear.
Spider veins in your face occur from excessive sun exposure or too much pressure on your face. Extreme pressure happens when you cough forcefully or during childbirth.
Are you at risk for spider veins?
Problems with the valves in your veins are what cause spider veins. Several issues put you at risk for spider veins, including your gender and age. Spider veins are more common in women than in men.
The older you get, the more likely you are to get spider veins. With age, the valves in your veins weaken. Three other risk factors for spider veins include:
Unfortunately, one of the most significant risk factors for spider veins is your genetics. If you have a close relative with spider veins, you're more likely to develop them.
There's not much you can do about genetics. We help you understand the modifiable risk factors to reduce your chances of developing spider veins.
Standing for extended periods
Standing for extended periods is a significant risk factor for spider veins. It's much harder for your veins to get blood to your heart when you stand for hours. Over time, your veins may bulge out due to the excess pressure.
Excess weight puts strain on the veins in your legs. Being overweight causes your veins to work harder, which may lead to spider veins.
Losing weight is the best way to avoid spider veins if you're overweight or obese. While it may not completely negate your risk, losing weight lessens the strain on your leg veins.
Pregnancy and your hormones are also other risk factors for developing spider veins.
When do you need treatment?
In most cases, spider veins are harmless, but if you're tired of looking at spider veins, we can help. We evaluate your veins and health to determine if your spider veins are purely cosmetic.
If there's no issue with your health, we offer sclerotherapy and leg compression therapy.
Compression therapy involves wearing compression stockings to help support the veins in your legs. The socks provide steady pressure to your legs, which helps to improve your circulation.
We provide sclerotherapy when compression therapy doesn't work. We inject a chemical directly into the spider veins. The chemical irritates the affected veins and causes them to close off. Your body then disposes of the vein debris.
To get expert treatment for your spider veins, call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, today. You can also schedule an appointment online.