The veins in your body carry the blood containing waste products, such as carbon dioxide, from all over your body back to your heart. The blood is then sent to your lungs, where some of the waste is expelled and oxygen is mixed with the blood. The arteries carry the fresh blood from the lungs back to your organs. When the veins have trouble sending the blood back to the heart, it is a condition called venous insufficiency. This is the most common starting point for both varicose veins and spider veins.
Venous insufficiency occurs when the tiny valves in your veins that help push the blood to the heart become weak and do not function properly. This often happens in the legs. When the blood is not moved on, it starts to pool in the veins and causes them to stretch, twist and bulge. These veins appear under the skin and are varicose veins. They are considered very unsightly, but they can be removed.
Spider veins are smaller and thread-like, and are closer to the surface of the skin. These can develop anywhere on the body, but are also most often seen on the legs, feet and ankles. People with very fair skin may develop spider veins on the cheeks and nose if they spend too much time in direct sunlight. Trauma to the skin, such as an injury, can also cause spider veins. If a person develops varicose veins, the pressure from the backed-up blood may cause spider veins to develop as well.
Heredity is the most common reason most people have venous insufficiency. Some of the conditions that may raise the risk of developing both varicose veins and spider veins are:
- Hormonal changes – Women are at risk if they are pregnant, taking birth-control pills, going through menopause or taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
- Being overweight – Excess weight, especially in the abdomen area, puts more pressure on the veins in the legs, making it harder for the blood to be pumped against gravity.
- Standing and sitting for long periods – Sitting at a desk for eight hours every day may seriously hamper the circulation in the legs. Standing for hours may also put too much strain on the veins that are trying to get the blood back to the heart.
It is recommended to visit our specialist if you think you may be developing either varicose veins or spider veins. While they are not serious in themselves, they can develop into serious conditions if not treated. Some of the symptoms to look for are:
- Aching and cramping in the calves
- A heavy feeling in the legs
- A rash that causes itching
- Swelling in the calves
- Darkening of the skin around the ankles
Fortunately, both spider veins and varicose veins are easily treated with non-invasive procedures. During a consultation with our specialist at the South Texas Vein Institute in Edinburg, your varicose or spider veins will be examined and you will be told about the options for treatment. You may be able to remove these unsightly conditions and have smooth legs again. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.