What are varicose and spider veins?
People often use the terms “varicose veins” and “spider veins” interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same thing. Varicose veins typically appear bulging and blue, while spider veins appear as thin, weblike networks of red and purple veins.
Despite the differences in appearance, however, varicose and spider veins share a list of common causes. The primary cause behind both conditions is weakened or damaged valves. Here’s a little more about how these vein conditions occur:
Your veins carry deoxygenated blood back to your heart from the body. Your veins contain one-way valves that prevents blood from flowing backward (away from your heart). If these valves cease working blood can pool in the effected veins. As the blood pools in the effected veins side branches bulge leading to the formation of varicose veins and spider veins.
The main difference is the size and color of the veins. Varicose veins are larger (often bulging in appearance) and blue in color. Spider veins are tiny in size and often pink or purple.
Some patients won’t need treatment for their varicose and spider veins, but others can benefit from some form of intervention.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Golshan to talk about your options for resolving your varicose and spider veins, call Beach Wellness MD at 310-974-8767 or request an appointment.
Varicose and Spider Veins Q & A
What causes varicose veins?
Almost 1 in 4 adults in the United States will deal with varicose veins at some point in their lifetimes. People of any age can get varicose veins, but they’re much more common as you get older.
Additional risk factors include:
Varicose veins are more common in women than men, especially women who’ve had multiple pregnancies.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Pain, throbbing, or heaviness in the legs
- Spasms or swelling
- Discolored or itching skin
Varicose veins can lead to ulcers and bleeding.
What causes spider veins?
Several factors can contribute to spider veins, including:
- Sun damage
- Hormonal changes
Spider veins most commonly appear on the legs. Patients of all ages can develop spider veins, but women are more likely to have them than men.