When it comes down to varicose veins vs. spider veins, they are similar in that they are both the most common vascular conditions that people throughout the country and the world encounter. The basic difference in the two conditions is simply the size of the affected blood vessels. However, this difference is enough to matter when it comes to the way they can impact life, as well as the ways they can be treated, even though there are treatments which are suitable for either or both of these conditions.
Varicose veins develop when the vessels become enlarged, often being visible through the skin in ways that cause discoloration and bulging. Of all the places varicose veins can form, the legs are by far the most common. The reason for this is that the leg veins are more susceptible to the increased pressure against the vessel walls that lead to varicose vein formation.
Inside the veins are valves that act as devices that allow the blood to flow only one way. The purpose is to keep the blood from flowing backward in the veins, as things like the force of gravity tend to pull it in the wrong direction. In the legs, the blood must be pumped upwards as it is returned to the lungs to get a fresh supply of oxygen to deliver throughout the body. This means the gravitational pull on the blood being pumped from the legs is stronger than anywhere else in the body. If the one-way valves in the veins quit functioning as they should, the tendency of the blood to go backward causes it to pool in the vessels as the gravitational pull works against the natural pumping action of the heart. The pooling then causes it to exert too much pressure on the walls of the affected veins, causing them to become enlarged. This leads to varicose vein formation.
Spider veins are similar. The difference in spider veins and varicose veins is simply the size of the vessel. Spider veins occur in the smaller capillaries. However, their most common locations are not limited to the legs. Spider veins are common on the face, arms and chest, as well as the legs. While spider veins are visible through the skin in ways that resemble the legs and web of a spider, they seldom cause any health concerns. Their impact is usually limited to appearance. Varicose veins, on the other hand, can cause symptoms like pain, numbness and tingling, and they can also increase the risk of blood clots.
Regarding treatments for varicose veins vs. spider veins, vein stripping surgery used to be the only available method for the removal of varicose veins. This is an invasive procedure that requires some downtime for recovery. Most people, however, can use a less invasive treatment method.
Of the less invasive procedures for the removal of varicose veins, sclerotherapy has been around the longest. It is done by injecting a solution into the vein that makes it collapse. The body then absorbs what remains of the vessel, and it disappears from view over time. Other treatment methods that tend to be more popular for spider veins include laser treatments. However, it all depends on the unique situation.
If you are struggling with either or both of these issues, you should consult with our team at the South Texas Vein Institute about which treatment option is best for you. We offer a variety of non-invasive and minimally-invasive treatments. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Edinburg.