Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins
Is there a difference?
As you might remember, I am researching varicose vein prevention and causes at the moment. I’ve got time – thus I read, I learn, I write and hope that I can enlighten you a little, too. In a way that you and I understand. Once I start researching things I have to get to the bottom of it, so here’s some more interesting information on spider veins and varicose vein prevention for you.
I and probably most of you thought that spider veins and varicose veins are two different names for the same condition. The truth is that, although these conditions have similar causes and sometimes the same treatment plans, they are not the same ailment. They are different in their appearance too.
Up to 80% of adults suffer from one or both conditions in their lifetimes. They are also more common in women than in men. In many cases, they cause the appearance of abnormally large blood vessels often in the legs. The blood vessels become more prevalent with age. Here is some information that will help you learn more about spider veins vs varicose veins.
I. Spider Veins
These are also known as telangiectasias and are a cluster of minute blood vessels that often develop near the skin’s surface. They are mostly blue, red, or purple and look like spider webs. These veins often appear on the legs and face. Regardless, these dilated veins may appear anywhere else in the body. They are often smaller than varicose veins, but they can appear together at the same time.
Note that they are most prevalent in people who are over the age of 50. No symptoms are usually apparent, but they may trigger throbbing, swelling and restless legs. Sometimes, they become painful sores and may cause blood clots. Spider vein treatment is usually effective and safe.
You will know that you have spider veins if you notice web-like or tree branch-like appearances on the skin. Other symptoms that you may experiences include:
- Restless legs at night
- Aching or cramping
- Skin ulcers
- Itching around the veins
- Uncomfortable feelings in the legs
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor immediately.
- The veins become warm to touch and extremely tender
- The veins become painful
- The veins begin to bleed
- You are developing ulcers on your skin
- The skin on your calf is thickening and changing colour
• Risk Factors
According to doctors, about 65% of women and 55% of men have either varicose veins or spider veins. These cause damaged valves if they do not open to allow the blood to enter and leave the veins freely. In such cases, the blood backs up and the veins begin to swell. These factors increase your risk of developing the condition.
- History of blood clots
- Oral birth control
- Hormonal changes, especially during puberty or menopause
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Wearing clothes that are too tight
- Exposure to the sun for people who are light skinned
• Potential Complications
These conditions are not serious but once they are often associated with the following conditions:
- Bleeding over the skin because the surface of the body becomes susceptible to injuries easily
- Inflammation that results in blood clots
- Skin ulcers that are formed because the vein does not drain or the skin is deprived of oxygen (these are often the most difficult to treat)
- Thrombosis, which can be life-threatening condition
They can be easily spotted in a physical examination. Your doctor will need to look at the areas with the veins. He will have to check for clots and examine the blood flow in the vein. He’ll probably recommend an ultrasound to see the internal structure of the blood flow and a venogram to create images of your veins.
In many cases, spider veins do not require any treatment. However, if you are experiencing pain or feel that they have to be removed for aesthetic reasons, there are treatment options you can use.
- Support stocking. These compression stockings put a lot of pressure on the veins and relieve discomfort. You can easily purchase them over the counter.
- Sclerotherapy. This is a varicose vein treatment that is also suitable for spider veins. It involves the injection of chemicals into the veins, and this results in their shutting. With the stop of the blood flow, the veins become scar tissue, and they eventually fade in about 4-6 weeks.
- Laser treatment. This makes the veins disappear by destroying them.
- Surgery. This is reserved for huge and unsightly veins.
II. Varicose Veins
These are enlarged and gnarled veins. They occur because walking and standing upright causes the pressure in your veins of your lower body. Because they do not have any serious medical concerns, they are simply a cosmetic issue. Sometimes, they may cause serious problems. They may also cause a higher risk of other circulatory problems.
Varicose veins do not cause any pain, but they may be dark purple or blue. They appear like cords and keep bulging. They may cause the following symptoms:
- Itching around one or more veins
- Bleeding from the veins
- Heavy feeling on the legs
- Pain that is worsened by sitting or standing
- Color changes and hardening of the veins
- Varicose vein bruising and pain
Consult a doctor for varicose vein treatments if you are concerned about the way the veins look and the self-care measures have not helped and the veins are getting worse.
• Risk Factors
- Standing for too long
- Leg ulcers
- Blood clots
You may choose to wear compressors to keep the varicose veins. Varicose vein foam treatment involves injecting a solution that treats the damaged internal lining of the veins.
• Varicose Vein Prevention
Varicose vein prevention starts with avoiding bruises and, improving your blood circulation and watching your weight. You can easily do this by exercising and elevating in your legs.
Spider veins vs varicose veins, while the two have similar causes, symptoms, and preventive measures, they are different conditions. However, the best way to keep both at bay is ensuring that you do not cross your legs when you sit, avoid wearing overly tight clothes, and elevate your legs every few minutes of standing. Exercising regularly ensures that your circulation is at its optimal.