More than one-quarter of Americans will experience varicose or spider veins, also called thread veins, at some point in life. Both of these terms refer to veins that are damaged and discolored, but varicose veins are usually more severe, and they can indicate a serious medical condition. At Westover Hills Dermatology in San Antonio, TX, we can diagnose your condition and help you determine whether treatment is necessary.
What’s the Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
Thread veins are extremely common, and they aren’t dangerous or associated with medical conditions. You might suffer from this issue if you have thin, branched veins running along the surface of your skin. They could be blue, red, or purple, and they don’t usually cause any bulges. Thread veins aren’t painful, but some patients are concerned about their appearance, so treatment might be necessary.
Varicose veins, on the other hand, are much larger, and they might twist and bulge, which affects the shape of your leg. For some patients, varicosities are simply an aesthetic issue, but for others, painful symptoms are associated with this condition. The development of both spider and varicose veins is related to genetics, but lifestyle factors like weight and daily habits play a part.
Who Gets Spider and Varicose Veins?
Almost anyone can develop spider or varicose veins, but women are much more prone to them due to hormonal changes during puberty and menopause. Other people who might be at risk include those who are overweight, older patients, and those whose job requires them to do a lot of standing or sitting.
Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?
For most people, varicose veins aren’t dangerous. However, they can lead to unpleasant symptoms when left untreated. These include pain, swelling, muscle cramps, and even skin conditions. If you suddenly develop varicose veins or you have a family history of circulatory problems, reach out to a medical professional to find out whether your condition is harmless.
Sometimes, varicosities are associated with an increased risk of complications. The blood that pools in your veins might clot, which puts you at risk of a potentially fatal condition called DVT. You might also develop a painful ulcer on your leg. If the blood vessels on your leg burst and you start bleeding, see a doctor right away. Although it’s unlikely that there is a severe issue, you’ll need medical attention.
Do I Need Treatment?
People with severe varicose veins almost always need treatment because this condition affects their daily life. When your legs are painful, you have ulcers, and you have cramps at night, it’s unlikely that you can function as normal. Removing your varicosities allows you to resume your normal activities and retain your mobility. It will also increase your quality of life.
If you have smaller varicose veins or thread veins, and you’re not in a lot of pain, getting treatment is optional. As long as the veins don’t bother you, you might be able to get by with compression stockings. However, many patients prefer to get their diseased veins removed for aesthetic reasons. Once you’ve been treated, you’ll no longer have the blue, red, or purple markings on your legs.
How Can Spider and Varicose Veins Be Treated?
Most people who have spider or varicose veins can be treated with minimally invasive methods, so they don’t have to undergo surgery or be anesthetized. Some common treatment methods include sclerotherapy, laser therapy, and radiofrequency ablation. We’ll apply a chemical or energy to the affected vein, which encourages its walls to collapse.
As a result, the vein will be absorbed by the body. Eventually, it is broken down, and your blood finds a new pathway to travel through. Because the vein is no longer there, you won’t suffer from the varicosity again. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t experience a similar problem in the future. If new spider or varicose veins form, you may have to come back to the clinic and get treated again.
What Can I Do to Reduce the Formation of Damaged Veins?
There are many things you can do to prevent the formation of new spider and varicose veins. Start by assessing your lifestyle and making the necessary changes. If you’re overweight, consider working with a personal trainer or nutritionist to change your habits. This professional will keep you accountable and therefore make it easy for you to stick to a healthy diet and sensible exercise regime.
Most people who develop varicosities spend a lot of their time standing or sitting. The lack of movement allows the blood to pool in their legs. Get up and walk around every hour or two, and put your feet up whenever possible. If you’re prone to varicosities or you have a family history of them, consider wearing compression stockings on days when you have to sit or stand a lot.
Get Rid of Spider and Varicose Veins Now
Spider veins are mainly an aesthetic concern. They don’t usually lead to painful symptoms. On the other hand, varicose veins can be extremely painful, and they are sometimes linked to circulatory problems. Reach out to us at Westover Hills Dermatology in San Antonio, TX, and book a consultation to find out whether you’re eligible for minimally invasive treatment.