There are two vein conditions that are rather common. These are varicose veins and spider veins. They affect women more than men and have some variations. While they are tolerable in the early stages of development, they can worsen and trigger horrible symptoms. That’s why you need spider vein and varicose vein treatment as early as possible. When cured early, both conditions can stop being a bother. On the other hand, if they are ignored, untreated varicose veins can increase in size and intensity.
And if such a thing happens, you can be in a lot of pain and your normal day-to-day life can be greatly affected. There is sclerotherapy and other less invasive techniques of treating abnormal leg veins. So don’t stay at home hoping that your condition will improve overtime. Spider veins can go away without vein treatment, of course, but this does not always occur. So, if there is pain and discomfort, the right thing to do is to look for the top varicose vein treatment near you.
What causes spider veins and varicose veins?
It is imperative to understand and distinguish the two vein disorders. So we will discuss and compare spider veins and varicose veins as shown below.
What are spider veins? – These are abnormal leg veins that mostly appear around ankles, calves, behind the knee, and thighs. Sometimes they affect other body parts, including the face. Also called thread veins, spider veins are thin, crooked and tiny veins that appear right beneath the skin surface. They can be purple, red or blue and take the shape of a spider web or a tree branch. Appearing like short, jagged lines, thread veins can attack a big area of the skin or a small one. Mostly, they are eliminated via sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation and can also be left alone as long as they don’t hurt.
What are varicose veins?
Also called varices or varicosities, varicose veins are enlarged leg veins with a twisted, cord-like appearance. They can be red or blue or have the victim’s skin color. The bulging veins may not hurt when they are beginning to form, explaining why most people don’t seek varicose vein treatment early. However, as they continue to grow and swell, varices can cause uncomfortable symptoms. They tend to be puffed up and raised above the skin surface, making them more visible than thread veins. Varicosities attack the back of the calf, thighs and the inside of the leg. Sometimes they develop for the first time during pregnancy and can appear even around a woman’s buttocks and vagina. Varicose veins are too visible and will hardly improve when treated with the traditional sclerotherapy technique.
Differences between spider veins and varicose veins
- Spider veins are more superficial than varicose veins.
- Varicose veins affect legs, vagina and buttocks while spider veins attack legs and face.
- While varicose veins are enlarged, twisty and cable-like abnormal leg veins, spider veins tend to be small like blood capillaries.
- Spider veins are mostly removed for cosmetic reasons while varicose veins are treated because they indicate a worsening vein condition—venous reflux or venous insufficiency.
- Severe spider veins will mainly cause pain and itchiness while serious varicose veins will trigger venous ulcers, skin discolouration, skin dermatitis, bleeding, odema, deep vein thrombosis, superficial thrombophlebitis and more.
- What causes spider veins is the same one that causes varicose veins–faulty vein valves and poor blood circulation. However, spider veins might develop due to injuries, sun exposure or hormonal influences.
Similarities between spider veins and varices
- Both can have same colors– red and blue.
- Both cause similar early symptoms: pain, heaviness in legs, itch, ankles swelling and leg cramps at night.
- Both conditions can be treated successfully, including through sclerotherapy.
- Being treated for existing abnormal leg veins does not mean that more cannot form.
What puts people at risk of developing abnormal leg veins?
The main cause of varices and thread veins is damaged vein valves or abnormally formed valves that don’t function well. Normally, deoxygenated blood must make it to the heart to get oxygen before it is re-circulated to the rest of the body. For this to happen in legs, your calves’ muscle pump must squeeze hard and push blood up towards the heart and against the gravity flow. Also included in this phase are vein valves that close to prevent the deoxygenated blood from flowing back to the legs.
If these can’t close completely, it is obvious that they will allow some blood to leak and flow backwards into the veins and gather there (venous insufficiency or venous reflux disease). As more and more blood leaks and pools in veins, it exerts pressure on vein walls, making them big and swollen. What causes spider veins and varicose veins can also include the following:
- Advancing age – As we age, our vein valves weaken and stop to function perfectly. That’s when spider veins or varicose veins may begin to form.
- Congenital disorders – If you were born with weak or abnormal vein valves, your risk of developing varices or thread veins are higher.
- Family history – Are there other men and/or women with varicosities in your family? If so, the odds that you will develop these vascular conditions are higher.
- Hormonal disturbances – These mostly happen during adolescence, pregnancy and menopause. As well, women who take contraceptives like the pills and hormonal replacement therapies involving progesterone and estrognen are in danger of having abnormal leg veins.
- Being expectant –Most women experience varices and thread veins during pregnancy. These form due to excessive pressure placed on veins by the ever-growing foetus. However, after giving birth and staying for three months, these conditions can disappear or improve without pursuing spider vein and varicose vein treatment.
- Being overweight – Obese people are often in danger of various diseases that affect their internal organs. In addition to these, most of them suffer from varices and/or spider veins because their excess weight exerts extreme pressure on leg veins.
- Being dormant – Most working class people spend their day standing or sitting down and this can cause vein disorders and lower back pain due to sciatica nerve issues.
- Direct sun exposure – Fair-skinned people tend to develop spider veins on their facial features like the nose or cheeks due to direct sun exposure.
How to know you need spider vein and varicose vein treatment
To know if you need sclerotherapy, endovenous ablation therapies or other kinds of vein treatments, look for specific symptoms. If you have spider veins, symptoms include the following:
- Cramping and aching legs
- A heaviness sensation in legs
- Itch around the affected areas, especially when it’s hot.
- Restless leg syndrome that is characterized by cramps that attack legs during sleep.
- Tired legs and presence of tiny, spider web-like veins in blue, red or purple colors.
If you have varicosities, you will notice the following symptoms:
- Abnormally large, swollen and twisted veins that look like cords will appear just underneath the legs’ skin surface.
- When you stand or sit for lots of hours, the pain due to varices tends to worsen.
- Cramping or throbbing pain
- Heaviness and tiredness in legs
- Odema around ankles, particularly.
- Itchy skin rash
- In advanced stages of a venous reflux disease that cause varicose veins, the skin may develop darker stains.
- Restless legs.
Between spider veins and varicose veins, which one is riskier?
The common notion is that spider veins are a less serious health issue than varices. It is a cosmetic problem that people tend to manage at home. However, spider veins can cause severe discomfort in legs and require the right varicose vein treatment. While these can signify a vein refluxing problem, it’s hardly so. And when the cause of your spider veins is a venous reflux disease, you will have signs that are more like those of varicose veins. All the same, you have got nothing to lose by having your thread veins examined closely by a qualified vein doctor.
They might require a sclerotherapy treatment session or might be managed with compression stockings, legs elevation, exercise, and proper diet and more. When it comes to varicose veins the problem is bigger, if they are left untreated. The appearance of varices is an indubitable sign that one has a venous insufficiency condition. The problem with this disease is that it progresses when varicose vein treatment is avoided. When it reaches the advanced stage, the condition triggers terrible symptoms. First, it causes open ulcers or wounds after a lot of blood piles in veins. These do not heal easily and can hurt a lot.
Until the affected veins are treated via sclerotherapy or an advanced treatment technique, open sores may refuse to heal. Another complication that could develop because of avoiding varicose vein treatment is deep vein thrombosis or DVT. This refers to a blood clot that affects a deeper vein and triggers a pulling sensation in the calf area. DVT might as well show symptoms like swelling, pain, redness and warmth and other times it’s silent and hard to discover. If a clot moves to the lung, the effect can be deadly. Moreover, untreated varices can result to superficial thrombophlebitis. This condition also entails a blood clot that develops inside a vein but right beneath the skin surface.
If you have superficial thrombophlebitis, you might experience skin redness, warmth, firmness and tenderness in your vein, pain and swelling. In addition, ignored varicose veins can lead to thinning skin that is easily injured. As result of injury, the vein bleeds easily and a lot of blood can ooze.
When to go for varicose vein treatment
If you can already see that some of your leg veins are swollen, painful, reddened and warm to the touch, seek help. In addition, you will know that you have ignored your varicose veins for too long if open sores and/or itchy rashes begin to form close the ankles. Seek sclerotherapy treatment or any other kind of cure if your ankle skin or calf skin begin to change color and look scaly and/or thicker. Do you have a bleeding varicose vein or another symptom that is currently making your life so difficult? If so, seek medical help from a qualified vascular doctor like Dr. Michael Nguyen, M.D. Even if there is no pain or extreme discomfort, doctors encourage people who have varicosities to seek varicose veins treatment as early as possible.
Diagnosis and cure
It is important to recognize what causes spider veins or varicose veins in your legs. Could it be venous insufficiency or another vascular condition? The best way to know is to consult a vascular doctor who boasts a good reputation and excellent rating. Once you have yourself examined, you will know whether there is anything to worry about. Usually, doctors use ultrasound to see the structure of your veins’ insides and spot any clots before they cause problems. As the test uses test waves to come up with images of the inside of a vein, it’s so reliable.
Sometimes it’s coupled with another test, including venogram. A range of doctors can help, yes, but the most trusted is an interventional pain management vascular doctor like Dr. Michael Nguyen. Traditional sclerotherapy is always the first intervention technique, but it does not work when varices are so big and puffy. Foam sclerotherapy is better off though, explaining why vascular doctors are using it to treat medium to large varices. To discover if sclerotherapy will be a perfect pick for you, go to the leading veins treatment centre in your area today.
Sometimes sclerotherapy injections are more effective when used together with another veins cure like endovenous radiofrequency ablation or endovenous laser ablation. Being examined closely by a qualified expert is the correct way to know what treatment plan works best for you. After varicose vein treatment, your symptoms will subside or go away completely and you might avoid terrible complications if there aren’t any now, and augment the appearance of your legs and level of confidence.
After a sclerotherapy and/or an endovenous ablation procedure, your vein specialist might ask you to start wearing medical-grade pantyhose that will place even pressure all over the leg and boost the circulation of blood.