More than 40 million people in the United States have varicose or spider veins, and nearly half of them have a family history of the condition. In fact, if both of your parents have varicose or spider veins, you have close to a 90% chance of developing them.
Varicose and spider veins are more than a cosmetic problem. They can lead to complications. We’d like you to know how untreated varicose and spider veins can impact your health.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, bulging veins that often appear on the thighs, calves and inside of the legs near your ankles and feet. People often say that having varicose veins makes them feel self-conscious, even leading them to avoid wearing clothes that show their legs.
What are spider veins?
Think of spider veins as smaller versions of varicose veins. These web-like veins are visible through the skin, and usually appear on the face and legs. In addition to appearing smaller than varicose veins, spider veins don’t bulge out the way varicose veins do.
Varicose vein symptoms
Men and women can develop varicose and spider veins, though they’re more common in women. While these veins don’t always cause symptoms, some people tell of throbbing, achy, tired legs that feel heavy, especially after standing or sitting for an extended time. Elevating your legs can help take the pressure off and relieve symptoms.
Causes of varicose and spider veins
Your veins have one-way valves that keep blood flowing back to your heart. When the valves become weak or damaged, they don’t work as they should, and some blood may flow backward and pool in the legs.
Over time, pressure builds in the vein and weakens vein walls, causing swelling. Spider veins develop when this happens in veins close to the surface of the skin. You develop varicose veins when the vein walls are weakened, and the degree of swelling is more significant.
More than a cosmetic problem
Having varicose veins is a sign of venous insufficiency, a condition where veins in the legs aren’t working properly and have trouble keeping blood flowing in the right direction toward the heart. Over time, untreated venous insufficiency can lead to health problems. We discuss some ways varicose and spider veins can impact your health.
Sores and skin ulcers can form over time when blood pools in veins. These ulcers are typically painful and take longer to heal because of an interference in your blood supply. The damaged vein can bleed, leading to thin, easily damaged skin.
Superficial thrombophlebitis refers to blood clots that develop just beneath the surface of your skin. People with superficial thrombophlebitis experience pain and swelling, and their skin typically appears red and hot to the touch.
If you have varicose or spider veins and must take a long flight, wearing compression stockings and moving your legs regularly can help prevent complications such as blood clots.
Family history, being inactive, obesity, age, and jobs that require standing or sitting for extended periods of time are the major risk factors for developing varicose and spider veins. Hormones also appear to impact your chances of developing venous insufficiency, making women more at risk. Varicose and spider veins commonly develop during pregnancy. Blood volume increases during pregnancy and puts added pressure on the veins, which can cause them to weaken and swell.
Treating varicose and spider veins can reduce the risk of progression or worsening of the disease. Dr. Syed Bokhari, the Pioneer of Varicose Vein treatments in the Inland Empire, may recommend just simple changes to your lifestyle such as exercising and losing weight or compression stockings. He is also highly trained and skilled to offer you advanced nonsurgical treatments as well, if indicated.
To learn more about varicose and spider vein treatment at Advanced Cardiovascular Care, call our Riverside, California, office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bokhari, or book online via our website at your earliest convenience.