Spider veins are those unattractive little blue, red or purple lines that can appear on your lower legs or face. As their name suggests, spider veins look like spider webs. While these veins are tiny, usually measuring only a millimeter or smaller, they can ruin the smooth, youthful appearance of your skin.
The scientific name for spider veins is telangiectasias. This vein condition is quite common, affecting up to 84 percent of people, according to one study. They can show up anywhere within your body but are most noticeable in your skin, eyes or mucus membranes.
Causes of Spider Veins
To understand the causes of spider veins, it is helpful to know what veins do in your body. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to all the parts of your body, including your extremities. Veins move oxygen-poor blood from your extremities back to your heart. Gravity helps arteries move blood in a downward direction but it makes it more difficult for veins to move the blood back up.
Blood can accumulate in these veins, especially in the veins in your lower legs and feet. In time, these veins become bloated; affected veins near the surface of the skin appear as spider or varicose veins.
Some people have a genetic predisposition to the development of spider veins, which means that you may have inherited your vulnerability to them from your parents. Other factors contribute to your risk for developing spider veins, including an occupation that keeps you on your feet, obesity, hormone fluctuations, pregnancy, alcohol use, some medications and certain illnesses.
Spider veins are often unsightly but usually not harmful. In some cases, however, these veins may cause aching, pain or burning, especially after you have been standing for a long time. Treatment may be right for you if you are concerned about the appearance of spider veins or if they cause you symptoms.
Gig Harbor Vein Doctors Discuss Treatment for Spider Veins
Vein doctors in Gig Harbor perform two safe and effective spider vein treatments, sclerotherapy and laser light therapy. Both treatments irritate and damage the diseased vein to the point where it can no longer carry blood. In time, the treated vein breaks apart. Surrounding tissue absorbs the vein. Your body simply reroutes your blood through nearby healthy veins.
In sclerotherapy, vascular surgeons inject a liquid or foam irritant known as a sclerosant into the vein. The sclerosant causes irritation to the lining of the vein. This irritation eventually results in closure and absorption of the vein. Sclerotherapy addresses diseased veins at an early stage, before complications and further unsightliness can develop.
Laser light therapy uses the power of light pulsed at a specific wavelength to treat the smallest spider veins and broken capillaries. Laser light therapy is a quick procedure that causes minimal discomfort.
Make an appointment with your Gig Harbor vein clinic if you have questions or concerns about vein treatment for your spider veins.