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Are Spider Veins a Sign You Have Varicose Veins?

Are Spider Veins a Sign You Have Varicose Veins?

If you see lots of little spider veins on your legs, does that mean you also have varicose veins? The answer is maybe, because they both form for the same basic reason. The two types of vein problems are very similar, so they can go hand in hand. Having small veins pop up in your legs is routine for most people, however; and not necessarily a sign of poor leg circulation.  If you are looking for vein treatment in Houston, we recommend you understand the difference between the two types of vein problems and learn more about how veins work.

What are Veins?

Veins are the vessels responsible for transporting blood back to the heart to get oxygen. They are the counterpoint to the arteries, which carry oxygenated blood throughout the body. Veins have a different design than arteries, however, because they must move blood upward against the force of gravity.

To aid in the process, there are valves built into the walls of the veins. When the muscle in the vein wall contracts, it squeezes blood toward the heart. The valves open so blood can move forward. As the muscle relaxes, the valves close to trap the blood, so it can’t flow backwards.

What are Varicose Veins?

As you get older, the vein walls lose their elasticity. When the muscle relaxes in the wall, some valves gap open, allowing blood to flow backwards. The blood pools around the next closest valve, causing the vein to swell. This is a varicose vein.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are varicose veins, but smaller and closer to the surface. By definition, a spider vein measures up to 1 millimeter in diameter. Not everyone with spider veins has larger varicose veins, but it is possible. Often these surface veins fill up due to overflow from a larger varicose vein.

Spider veins are visible, because they are close to the surface. While varicose veins are mostly found in the legs, spider veins can pop up on the face, as well. Most people with spider veins also have reticular veins. A reticular vein is a larger diseased vein near the skin surface.

What is the Treatment?

Treatment options vary, but the most common for both spider and reticular veins is sclerotherapy. With this treatment, the vascular surgeons inject a sclerosing medication into the vein. This irritates the wall and forces it to collapse. Once the vein closes, the body absorbs it completely.

The vein treatment is done right in the vein clinic. The doctor uses just a numbing cream, so there is an anesthetic involved. After the injection, you will be up and walking almost immediately. You can return to work that same day.

Spider veins are more unsightly than dangerous. The treatment to eliminate them is easy and almost painless. If you have spider veins and leg pain, then you do need to see a vein doctor to eliminate a more serious problem such as venous insufficiency.

Related post: The Basics Of Spider Vein Treatment

Related post: Spider Veins Don’t Have To Trouble You Anymore

Dr. Michael Bardwil
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