The heart is the basis for human life, but it wouldn’t do much good without veins and vessels that help it pump blood to the rest of the body. They’re often small and invisible above the skin, but even minor issues with these veins and vessels can cause serious concern.
A common vein malady is known as spider veins. These are a type of varicose vein that’s often slightly less serious, but this is not always the case. Here are some answers for the simplest questions about identifying, managing and treating spider veins:
What Do Spider Veins Look Like?
Spider veins are easily visible to the naked eye, and they’re aptly named for their web-like appearance. They’re most commonly red, but can also appear purple or blue in some cases. They appear most frequently in the legs and feet. Blood naturally flows downward with gravity, making them more likely in the lowest parts of the body, but rarer cases in the face can also be visible.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Some of the same risks present for heart disease are also major factors for spider veins namely genetics, weight and tendency for blood clots. The hormones surrounding pregnancy (including birth control pills) are also factors. Since spider veins are most commonly found lower in the body, people who work on their feet for long hours are also slightly more susceptible.
Are Spider Veins Dangerous?
Typically no. They may cause discomfort and at worst even a burning sensation, but unless they’re among smaller symptoms of a much larger concern like frequent blood clots, they don’t pose any immediate health risk.
How Do I Get Rid Of Spider Veins?
Even if they’re not painful or indicators of a larger issue, many prefer to have spider veins removed.
One method of removing spider veins is known as sclerotherapy, during which a doctor injects the affected veins with a chemical solution. Over a period of a few weeks, this solution creates disruption within the veins and eventually closes them, causing blood to flow to healthier veins. In the end, the affected veins will disappear. For most people, sclerotherapy is a relatively painless and risk-free process, though there can be minor side effects like swelling or itching while the solution is at work in the veins.
Another common method is laser surgery, though this may not be quite as effective as sclerotherapy, especially for larger veins. Strong bursts of light are shot into the vein, causing it to recede and eventually disappear entirely. Be careful with this treatment, though, as it can make permanent changes to the skin in some cases.
For more information on treatment of spider veins or the underlying causes, speak with your vein treatment specialists at Heart of Dixie Vein Center.
Varicose Veins and Spider Veins. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/varicose-spider-veins#1
Spider veins: How are they removed. The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/expert-answers/spider-veins/faq-20058284
Varicose veins. The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/symptoms-causes/dxc-20178128