Varicose veins can be a nuisance, and the symptoms are not just cosmetic. Yes, the stringy dark veins aren’t the least bit attractive, but the aching, cramping and swelling can affect your everyday routine and keep you from doing what you love.
Most people love thinking about preventive measures. However, sometimes no matter how much you make an effort to prevent these unwelcome visitors, they’ll sprout up somewhere on you anyway. Unfortunately, for many Americans, smooth varicose-free skin is more a distant dream than a reality. Approximately 40 million people across the nation suffer from varicose veins.
Luckily, there are easy ways to treat and even eliminate varicose and spider veins.
When they do crop up, varicose veins can make you instantly self-conscious and embarrassed. But they can also impact much more than your self-confidence, such as your wardrobe. Suddenly, you may find yourself trading previous favorites like shorts or skirts for long pants and jeans as you grow more self-aware and selective about which parts of your body you choose to expose.
Although in many cases there’s little you can do in the way of preventing varicose veins, fortunately, there are a few treatment options you can consider. However, before we get into those, it’s essential to understand precisely what varicose veins are, how they differ from spider veins and common reasons you may see either develop.
The difference between spider and varicose veins and what causes them
Varicose veins look about as ugly as they sound. They’re large, swollen, protruding blood vessels that twist and turn beneath the surface of your skin. Because they’re so raised and large, they’re clearly and almost instantly visible.
Even worse, varicose veins will often cause swelling in the areas they’re present and make your legs feel heavy or uncomfortable. They can also lead to more severe health conditions, like blood clots and sores that don’t heal, but it’s not impossible.
Several patients who suffer from varicose veins often complain of a cramping or aching sensation near the veins. Other typical symptoms include fatigue, itching, throbbing, cramping, burning, and tingling. One way to alleviate this discomfort is by investing in support hose that applies the right amount of pressure or by elevating your legs.
Varicose veins, however, shouldn’t be confused with spider veins. Spider veins are the much earlier, gentler version of varicose veins.
They’re best described as tiny, blue, red or purple vessels that are located in the skin. Like varicose veins, spider veins also twist and turn—except they don’t bulge or swell to protrude upward against the skin.
Generally, spider veins also aren’t painful, and they aren’t associated with the rare health problems varicose veins are, like blood clots.
While it’s possible to have both spider and varicose veins, it’s not necessarily true that spider veins will indefinitely lead to varicose veins. However, having varicose veins and spider veins indicates the presence of underlying vein disease, also known as chronic venous insufficiency. This means you shouldn’t take the appearance of this unseemly veins lightly.
Now that we understand what both spider and varicose veins are, you’re probably wondering how they form.
How spider and varicose veins develop
Varicose and spider veins develop naturally when blood flow issues are present. For instance, a healthy vein will carry blood to the heart through valves that allow force blood to flow in only one direction. This keeps the blood moving through the pathways it should and prevents any backflow. These healthy veins do their job by effectively delivering blood from superficial veins to deeper ones that eventually lead to the heart.
However, when veins don’t function properly, that’s not quite what happens. For instance, if you have muscle, valve or blood flow problems, this can cause blood to collect inside your veins. When this happens, the blood pushes up against the walls within your vein, creating pressure, which weakens the vessel wall. Ultimately, this pressure is what causes veins to twist and bulge.
Depending on how large the vein is and how swollen it gets, you’ll either end up with spider veins or varicose veins.
Now that we know how veins can develop into spider veins or varicose veins, let’s talk about the different aspects that influence your chances of having them.
Factors that increase your chances of vein disease
Unfortunately, there aren’t just one or two factors that can influence the probability of your having spider or varicose veins—there are several. Below are the most common ones.
Now that we know the difference between varicose and spider veins, how they develop and what will increase your chances of having them, let’s talk about what you can do to get rid of them.
Treatment options for vein disease
If you’re eager to banish varicose and spider veins, you don’t have to wait. Several proven medical treatment options are available for you to consider.
Methods of treatment for spider veins
If you suffer specifically from spider veins, it’s best to treat them early on before they worsen or develop into varicose veins. There are several options you can consider.
Treatment for varicose veins
If vein disease has already accelerated for you to form varicose veins, it’s likely that the symptoms, such as pain and discomfort, associated with this will prompt you to take action. Following are options you can consider.
If the thought of surgery or invasive treatments scares you, there are still other, more natural options you could consider; however, these may or may not be effective. No scientific proof exists stating that these adequately treat vein disease. At the same time, trying them out will not cause any problems.
Varicose and spider veins are dreadful, an eyesore and an embarrassment to anyone who has them. Varicose veins, the more severe of the two, are notorious for the way they twist and bulge. Spider veins are smaller in size and aren’t usually associated with the severe aches and pains that are known to accompany spider veins.
Fortunately, neither of these eyesores have to remain a permanent fixture in your life or on your skin. If you have existing spider or varicose veins, you can choose to treat them through effective procedures involving lasers, surgery, and injections. Although these procedures don’t promise to restore your skin to its original, smooth, youthful look, they are known to be effective in smoothening out the appearance of bulging varicose veins and eliminating the pain and discomfort associated with them.
Aside from treatments that require a visit to the doctor’s, there are more natural options you can consider. These include exercise, support stockings, essential oils, and a healthier diet.
Ultimately, remember that vein disease is progressive and will get worse without adequate treatment, so when you see signs of it, you should seek treatment.