Over time it’s common to experience symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins. In fact some 25% of adults experience this to one extent or another. Varicose veins are veins which have become enlarged or twisted, often on the legs. You may be able to feel them protruding above the surface of the leg, which can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Varicose veins can also cause other side effects such as fatigue and itching around the vein site, although for many people they are really only a cosmetic concern. Spider veins are effectively the same, but seen in a smaller vein, producing a smaller red mark or knot of red-blue lines on the surface of the skin.
Spider veins are also known as telangiectasias. They’re smaller clusters of blood vessels, close to the skin, and can create a red or dark blue mark, which can appear in the form of a spider web. While larger varicose veins typically appear on the legs and feet, spider veins can also appear on the face. Spider veins - as varicose veins - can appear during pregnancy, or can be caused by environmental factors such as exposure to extreme heat. They can also be linked to other skin conditions such as rosacea. While spider veins are usually completely harmless, it’s a good idea to have them checked out if you’re worried by them, as they can on occasion be linked to other medical conditions.
Causes of Varicose Veins
There can be many causes of varicose veins and spider veins. Some environmental factors can impact the development of varicose veins in the legs and feet. For example, if you are usually on your feet, in a profession which requires you to stand long hours, such as teaching or nursing, this can be a common complaint. However, it’s important to note that the problem which causes varicose veins is being in one position for long periods of time without change. That means that even those in office jobs, sitting all day long, can be at increased risk. Similarly, age is a risk factor with most cases being reported in older people. Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men.
Prevention and Self-care
It’s not always possible to prevent varicose veins entirely. However, there are some lifestyle precautions that are worth considering if you are worried about the development of varicose or spider veins. Keeping fit and active is important. That’s because having good circulation and muscle tone can help prevent issues developing or spreading. If you already have some varicose veins in the legs or feet and are seeking relief, elevation and compression can help. Try putting your feet up or wearing compression socks or stockings. However, if these approaches do not alleviate the symptoms, or stop the spread of varicose veins, it might be time to seek the advice of a professional.
Treatment Options For Vein Problems
Your dermatologist will discuss in full the diagnosis, and treatment plan for your particular issue. The approach will vary according to the site of the issue, and how severe it is. In some cases, your dermatologist might choose to refer you to another professional such as a vascular surgeon in severe cases. However, for spider veins and smaller varicose veins, your consultant could offer laser treatment which can be carried out in the surgery quickly and conveniently. Alternative approaches include sclerotherapy (injections), or surgery. It’s important to also discuss lifestyle habits with your consultant to ensure that the problem doesn’t return after treatment.