Varicose veins and spider veins are similar venous conditions causing pain, swelling and fatigue of the legs.
Varicose veins are usually red or blue, sometimes flesh-colored, and are often enlarged or throbbing. Most often, they are found on the backs of the calves, inside of the legs or on the thighs in both women and men.
During pregnancy, women can get them in the vaginal and buttocks areas.
Spider veins are much like varicose veins, except smaller and closer to the skin’s surface. Red or blue in color, they look quite a bit like branches of a tree or like a spider web, hence the name. In addition to the legs, spider veins can occur on the face, as well.
Causes of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Damaged or simply weak valves within the veins are the cause of varicose veins.
Oxygen and nutrients are delivered throughout your body through the blood of the arteries. Veins then carry the blood and return it to the heart.
The blood that flows from the lower portion of your body has to be pushed against the flow of gravity in order to reach your heart. Thus, there are valves in the veins that prevent blood from falling backward.
Should those valves weaken, blood will be allowed to leak through and pool in the veins. This is a problem referred to as venous insufficiency.
The pooled blood causes veins to widen and enlarge, becoming varicose veins. Spider veins can be formed in this manner, as well.
Risk of Venous Conditions
There are certain lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of spider or varicose veins.
It’s important to know that half of the American population over age 50 suffers from some form of vein issue. It makes sense that vein performance may decline as you get older.
Also, these problems can be hereditary or be due to being born with weak valves.
Pregnancy is probably the time in which most women experience venous problems because of the added weight to the body, hormonal changes and increased blood flow in the body.
They usually clear up a few months after giving birth, but can worsen with future pregnancies. Obesity and living a primarily sedentary lifestyle can lead to weakened valves, causing vein malfunction.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
There are some symptoms you should be aware of that include throbbing, aching or cramping in the legs. A heavy feeling and swelling may also occur.
Sometimes the leg area will darken or there will be an itchy rash. Restless legs can be another symptom of venous problems.
If your varicose or spider veins have become painful, or if the appearance of the veins is worrisome. Contact South Texas Vein Institute today to schedule a consultation.
Severe vein issues can lead to larger health concerns. Take action now to eliminate your varicose or spider veins.