What are spider veins?
Spider veins appear when tiny veins or capillaries close to the skin’s surface get large enough to be visible. As these blue and purple veins appear, they spread in a shape resembling tree branches or a spider web.
You can develop spider veins anywhere, but they commonly occur on the legs and face, in areas where they’re highly visible.
What causes spider veins?
Spider veins develop due to damaged valves, which is the same problem that causes varicose veins. All veins contain valves that keep blood flowing toward your heart. When a valve fails, the blood flows backward or refluxes until it reaches the next healthy valve in the vein.
The refluxing blood starts to build-up in the tiny vein, making it get large enough to become visible. The accumulating blood weakens the vein wall and pushes against the healthy valve, ultimately making that valve fail. As more valves fail, your spider veins slowly keep spreading.
What increases my risk of developing spider veins?
You’re more likely to develop spider veins if:
- You’re getting older
- You have a family history of spider veins
- You suffered a direct injury
- You’re overweight
- You sit or stand for long stretches of time
- You were recently pregnant
Many women develop spider or varicose veins during pregnancy due to pressure from the baby’s weight and changes in hormone levels that weaken vein walls.
What symptoms develop if I have spider veins?
Spider veins are primarily a cosmetic problem because they seldom cause symptoms. However, they can cause itchiness, and they may be a sign of problems in other veins.
How are spider veins treated?
Sclerotherapy is currently the gold standard of treatment for spider veins. During sclerotherapy at Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, Dr. Chadda uses a small needle to inject a medication into the veins.
The medication, called a sclerosing agent, makes the vein walls collapse. After the treated veins close, your body slowly reabsorbs them. As a result, they naturally disappear over time.
Lasers also treat spider veins. Laser treatment doesn’t hurt your skin because, by design, only the dark pigments in the veins absorb the laser light. Heat from the laser does the same thing as a sclerosing agent: It makes the vein walls collapse.
No matter which treatment you get, you don’t need to worry about circulation because your body redirects blood flow through other nearby veins.
If you want to improve your appearance and get rid of spider veins, call Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, or schedule an appointment online today.