Spider veins

Spider veins

Last Updated November 3rd, 2022

They usually occur in the legs or the lower part of the body.
Spider veins are not fatal or cause any major health risk.
Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are generally not painful. Only 20% of people with spider veins report having pain, burning, aching, leg heaviness, or itching sensation.

Overview

A smaller version of varicose veins, spider veins appear as bulging knots and bundles of thread-like veins on the skin usually on the legs or the face. They are in fact blood vessels that have been damaged and tend to look like purple, blue, or red coloured spiders because of their central core and branch-like structure.

Most patients tend to show aesthetic symptoms as opposed to any known medical symptoms. In fact, unless facing any discomfort, there is no need to approach a doctor or undergo any treatment for the condition.

If at all needed, the line of treatment is dependent on the evaluation of the ailment and may follow any of the established courses that have been seen to be effective. The need for an interprofessional team needs to be emphasised for patients suffering from this ailment.

Women tend to be more prone to developing spider veins. This has been attributed to pregnancy which may lead to hormonal fluctuations, increased abdominal pressure, sudden and excessive weight gain, additional stress on legs and other parts of the body, issues with proper blood circulation caused by restrictions in movement, and so on. Birth control pills also tend to aggravate the possibility of spider veins.

Definition

A less serious type of varicose veins, this condition is also called thread veins. These clusters are the result of damages or abnormalities in the capillaries and veins resulting in pools of blood on the surface of the skin.

In medical terminology. Improper working of blood vessels and values are known to hamper blood flow, this causes the blood to pool in different parts of the body. The resulting inflammation tends to make smaller vessels like capillaries and smaller veins bulge and branch out to balance the accumulated blood. This shows up as spider veins and varicose veins on the skin.

Causes

Hormonal changes, sudden exposure to the sun, or trauma from injuries may damage the skin and may result in the formation of spider veins. Sometimes vein damages or blood clots formed previously can be the cause of valve damage that leads to spider veins.

This condition is also hereditary in some patients. It has also been seen that excessive facial pressure due to various factors like forceful sneezing, coughing, or vomiting may be the cause of spider veins.

Damaged skin and broken blood vessels are not the only causes of this ailment. Poor blood circulation, aging, and pregnancy are also reasons that cause the formation of spider veins.

The pressure exerted by women while pushing as part of natural childbirth is also seen as a factor leading to spider veins.

Symptoms

Some of the more painful symptoms that need medical attention for spider veins include painful varicose veins, soreness, irritation on the surrounding skin or disturbed sleep due to aches on the legs, and general irritation due to the pain.

Types (If applicable)

Spider veins may form on either the veins or the arteries. Those that form on the veins are usually purple or blue. These raised formations on the skin may vary in size from 1 to 3 mm in diameter.

The clusters on the arteries and capillaries tend to be flatter and smaller in size. They are usually red or pink in colour and are in the range of 0.1 to 1.0 mm in diameter.

Although the clusters are seen more on the legs, they also tend to appear on the face as well. However, the ones on the legs are much larger as they are formed much deeper than the clusters at other places that are more superficial.

These clusters on the legs may vary from 0.18 to 1.0 mm in depth. They tend to have a primary node that feeds a set of intricate branches. The skin tends to feel irritated and sore in some cases and this may warrant medical attention.

Complications

Spider veinsSpider veins are not known to usually cause major health issues although they do have a tendency to occasionally cause pain. However, they tend to be a significant cosmetic nuisance, and most of the time treatments for the condition are done so as to improve the appearance of the patient.

Following treatment for the spider vein, the blood vessels gradually fade over a period of many months. However, they do not completely disappear. There is also a high possibility of new spider veins developing in the same area over a period of time.

Diagnosis

Spider veins can be categorised into venous and arterial based on where they have been formed on the body. Aging, hereditary, and pregnancy are some of the most common causes of spider veins.

While usually, they are just a cosmetic problem, occasionally they also indicate and highlight core health issues that require immediate medical attention like obesity, issues in the blood circulation that may indicate poor heart health and high cholesterol levels, improper posture, and lifestyle that need to be corrected so on.

Some of the most common medical symptoms include aching and heaviness in the legs, lower leg cramps, swelling, and skin discoloration in the body, especially in the legs.

Itching sensation around the veins in the lower legs, feeling a throbbing or burning sensation in this area which may even cause extreme pain or extreme fatigue and tiredness are also symptoms that should not be ignored.

Physical examination by the nurse or doctor includes examination while sitting and standing and oral questions about symptoms, pain levels, and so on. Additional tests include ultrasound and venogram and are recommended by the medical practitioner.

The ultrasound test checks the flow of blood in the veins and investigates for blood clots, and value problems. This test uses sound waves for generating pictures of the internal parts of the body.

The venogram is another such test carried out by the nurse or doctor for investigating the blood flow. The venogram can be compared to a special type of X-ray that uses a special type of dye called a contrast to look at the veins in the patient’s legs. This test is only recommended in case the doctor suspects an especially large clot in the blood which would be extremely dangerous to the patient.

Treatment

SclerotherapyMassage is an effective method of treating spider veins since increased blood circulation is known to bring relief from swelling and pain seen in some patients suffering from this condition. Sclerotherapy and Endovenous laser therapy are other options for treating this ailment.

Sclerotherapy is a highly effective and longer treatment for this condition. Multiple sessions are usually required to complete the process especially in cases where the clusters tend to need more attention.

As part of the treatment, the doctor would inject a solution into the damaged veins, that would close the blood vessel completely. Thus, the healthy blood in the body is rerouted through healthier veins.

More effective than endovenous laser therapy, Sclerotherapy is recommended for most cases of spider veins. However, a few patients are known to start developing itches, changes in skin colour, and swelling following the treatment.

This procedure can be done in a doctor’s office and can be completed without anaesthesia. Vein specialists, trained nurses, plastic surgeons, and dermatologists are some of the healthcare professionals who can carry out the procedure with ease.

Spider vein treatmentEndovenous laser therapy on the other hand works by sending beams of strong laser light or radiofrequency energy into the damaged vein, making it disintegrate and fade away. This procedure is non-invasive and the doctor does not require needles or incisions.

Patients using laser treatment for themselves should be well prepared for possible side effects including itching, redness, bruising, and permanent changes in the skin tone.

Prevention

Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. It is advised to include as much movement as possible in day-to-day activities to endure a healthy circulation throughout the body. Make lifestyle changes that include healthy food habits and regular exercise to avoid obesity, one of the leading causes of spider veins.

While resting try to keep the feet elevated and above the heart level. This helps in improving circulation. Compression stockings are also known to be a huge help in improving circulation.

The most common type of compression stocking includes the support pantyhose, gradient compression socks and stockings, and prescription compression stockings. The pressure exerted by each varies with the pantyhoses giving the least pressure and the prescription stocking exerting the maximum pressure.

Availability is also a key factor when choosing among these options since the prescription stocking is available only on medical prescriptions and comes in a large variety of sizes, while the pantyhose is easily available both online and at physical stores. The prescription stocking is not recommended for persons with heart ailments.

Try to use comfortable shoes and avoid wearing heels for long hours as this tends to put a lot of unwanted stress on the leg. It also restricts activities as high heels are not conducive to sudden movements.

Increasing dietary fibre and controlling salt intake are recommended changes in food habits. While the reduced salt helps control swelling or edema on the body, the addition of fibre in the diet helps in preventing constipation and the associated pressure, thus helping the body to stay fit and healthy.

 

They usually occur in the legs or the lower part of the body.
Spider veins are not fatal or cause any major health risk.
Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are generally not painful. Only 20% of people with spider veins report having pain, burning, aching, leg heaviness, or itching sensation.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Listen to your body. In case of any symptoms that are causing pain or sleeplessness, consult your doctor.
  • Be active. The better the blood flows the lesser the possibility of spider veins.
  • Maintain your weight. Spider veins tend to manifest themselves more frequently in obese persons. Ensuring that weight is as per standards, would go a long way towards preventing the condition from manifesting.
Don'ts
  • Do not apply too much heat to infected areas as this can further damage the circulatory system.
  • Always approach a qualified doctor for treatment. Quacks may make tempting offers of quick cures that are best ignored for your safety.
  • Avoid staying in the same position for long hours, especially standing and sitting in the same position as this hampers circulation and is one of the leading causes of spider veins.

 

 

 

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5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Threatened abortion
A few facts about threatened abortion A threatened miscarriage indicates an early pregnancy loss. Look out for symptoms like bleeding, vaginal discharge, and pain.
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
Splenda
Splenda Splenda is an artificial sweetener derived from Stevia plant extracts. It is low in calories and a popular…
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6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Shilajit: A miracle Himalayan herb for an active and happy life The Himalayas contain more wonders than you thought. Shilajit is a miracle herb that is widely used in…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
CEA_test
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Ultrasound
Abdominal Ultrasound An abdominal ultrasound is used to visualize the organs inside your abdominal cavity including the liver, spleen, gall…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
leptospira Igm test
Leptospira-IgM Test A Leptospira-IgM test is a blood test which is carried out to detect anti-Leptospira IgM antibody. Leptospirosis is…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Inhale oxygen, exhale worries: The top breathing exercises and how to perform them Performing the breathing exercise is like becoming mindful of how you breathe.  Here is a list of breathing…
sleep deprivation
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Rheumatoid Arthritis xray
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Vaginoplasty - Post-op care
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ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Miracle extract from the root of maca: 10 ways it can help you! Maca root has been used for years in herbal medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing fresh evidence in…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
APL IgM Test
Antiphospholipid Antibody(APL)-IgM test The antiphospholipid antibodies are specific protein in the body directed against the phospholipids. It is used to detect…
stain blood
Blood in your stool Know the reason for blood in your stool, toilet bowl or tissue and the important steps to take…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Anti-Inflammatory foods: 18 foods to a disease-free you Anti-inflammatory foods are the foods which are known to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain from…
Pelvic_ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…

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