Spider veins crop up in more than 60% of adults in the United States, usually taking up residence in highly visible areas on your legs and face. While these veins certainly present a cosmetic issue, are they cause for concern? Mostly no, but in some cases, they can become problematic or signal a larger problem with your blood vessels.
At Advanced Vein & Laser Center, under the experienced leadership of vascular experts Drs. Steven Heird and David Winand, we handle vein problems of all kinds, from venous ulcers to spider and varicose veins. If you’re concerned about your spider veins, here’s what you should know about whether they pose a health risk.
Spider veins 101
To better understand any risk with spider veins, consider how they develop in the first place. Your veins are responsible for delivering blood back to your heart, and the further they are from your heart, the tougher their job. Now add gravity to the mix, especially in your legs, and you can see how this responsibility is made all the more difficult.
To help, your veins are equipped with tiny valves that shut off as blood passes through to prevent your blood from flowing backward. If these valves begin to weaken or fail, your blood does fall backward and pool, causing both spider and varicose veins to rise to the surface of your skin. Your muscles may also play a role, as your blood vessels rely on their help to push blood toward your heart. If they weaken, they aren’t providing the support your veins need to do their job correctly.
Spider veins are very common. They tend to develop in women more than men, which is likely tied to hormones. A bigger factor is genetics, as up to 90% of those with spider veins have a family history of the condition. As well, age plays a role as your veins begin to wear down, especially those tiny valves.
Are spider veins dangerous?
While vein failure may seem like a health risk, spider veins aren’t cause for alarm in most cases as they generally involve superficial veins and not the deeper veins that do most of the heavy lifting. But there are instances when you should take notice of spider veins.
For example, if you’re experiencing leg cramping, pain, or tenderness around your spider veins, come in to see us. Spider veins can also cause itchy or discolored skin, which can lead to the development of ulcers. Should this occur, prompt medical attention is your best course of action.
Treating spider veins
If you’re experiencing problems with your spider veins, there are several steps we can take. After a thorough review of your problem, we may recommend conservative measures to start, including compression stockings and a few lifestyle changes, such as exercise.
If your symptoms don’t respond, we can turn to simple surgical procedures to remove the veins, including an ambulatory phlebectomy to remove the blood vessels or a sclerotherapy, a procedure in which we inject foam into your veins to close them off.
In either case, we perform the procedures right in our offices. And if you’re concerned about the circulatory repercussions of these measures, rest assured that your blood reroutes itself through healthier vessels.
To learn more about spider veins, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.