Spider veins and varicose veins are both forms of venous insufficiency (or venous disease), but they are not the same condition, and each condition cannot develop into the other. These two conditions are commonly mistaken for being the same vein disease. It is crucial to know the difference between these two conditions, because varicose veins can be the sign of a more serious medical issue occurring now or in the future, but spider veins, for the most part, are a cosmetic issue.
Although different conditions, both spider veins and varicose veins can appear in similar parts of the body like the legs. Also, these venous diseases can both be caused by the same factors, including: genetics, age, pregnancy, excessive weight, and prolonged sitting or standing.
Spider veins, also referred to as telangiectasia, are small, thin, flat veins that appear close to the surface of the skin. They can be red, purple, and/or blue in color. For the most part, spider veins will appear on the legs, cheeks, or nose. These thin lines will appear in one of three different patterns: linear, arborizing, and spider.
These veins are not essential to the venous system, and for the most part, there are no health risks with spider veins. They are usually pain free. Very rarely, spider veins can be the sign of an underlying condition like Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that causes blood vessels in the skin to excessively bleed. For most people, spider veins are just a cosmetic issue.
Factors That Contribute To Spider Veins
Spiders veins can be caused by many different factors including: increased pressure in the veins, gender (being female), genetics, age, excessive weight, excessive running, pregnancy, alcohol abuse, skin trauma, prolonged sitting or standing, and/or certain medications.
Spider Vein Symptoms
- Small red, purple and/or blue veins
- Thin, flat veins close to the surface
- Linear, arborizing or spider-like patterns
For the most part, people undergo treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons. Rarely, there is a condition that caused a person’s spider veins. Upon meeting the doctor, he or she will determine if a patient’s spider veins are purely cosmetic, or a more serious issue. Most often, spider veins are harmless, yet unsightly. For treatment, Dr. Fakhri treats patients with spider veins with compression therapy and sclerotherapy. These treatments can reduce or remove the appearance of these veins.