“Why do I have spider veins?” is one of the most common questions our doctors at AVLC hear.
Spider veins are enlarged veins that occur most often in the legs. They are similar to varicose veins but usually are smaller and closer to the surface of the skin. They often occur in a cluster and look like tree branches or spiderwebs, and most are blue or red. This vein disease is sometimes painless, but some people experience tingling, throbbing, or other uncomfortable sensations in their legs.
Veins and blood vessels use one-way valves to help blood flow to the heart from other areas of the body. The valves push blood toward the heart and prevent blood from pooling, especially in the legs. However, if the valves weaken, they cannot push blood along as effectively as they should, so blood can begin to collect in the veins. This leads to spider and varicose veins.
The valves in your veins can weaken for a wide variety of reasons. Here are five potential causes or risk factors for the vein disease:
Heredity is a very common spider vein cause. Around half of people with spider veins have at least one family member who also has the condition. If you have several family members with this vein problem, you have a greater risk of developing it as well. Some people are born with weak vein valves as a result of genetics, which can lead to spider or varicose veins.
As you age, the valves in your veins will naturally wear down. If your veins weaken enough over time, you may develop spider or varicose veins. Between 30 and 60 percent of all adults have this condition, and the percentage of adults with the condition increases with age.
Women develop spider and varicose veins much more frequently than men, most likely because of hormones. Some female hormones relax the walls of the veins, so hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can cause vein issues. Many women who undergo hormone replacement therapy also develop spider veins.
People who spend many hours of the day standing up, like nurses and teachers, are at a greater risk for developing the condition. If you stand for a long time, the pressure in your leg veins increases and the valves have more difficulty pushing blood back to the heart. Occupations that require you to sit still for long periods of time, like desk jobs, can also increase your risk for the condition because staying still can hinder blood flow.
Other Health Conditions
Many other health conditions can cause spider and varicose veins. Obesity is often a major spider vein cause, and some medications, such as birth control, can increase your risk of developing the condition. People with a history of blood clots also tend to develop the condition.
Request a consultation today to find out if one our spider vein treatments it a good option for you!