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Spider veins are a group of dilated veins that appear close to the surface of the skin and look like spider webs or tree branches. They’re usually red or blue. Although they can develop anywhere, they’re most common on the legs and face.
Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins, but they’re sometimes located together. Varicose veins are swollen veins that have filled with pooled blood.
Spider veins and varicose veins are very common, especially in people over the age of 50. Often, these abnormal veins cause no symptoms, but they can sometimes trigger swelling, throbbing, and restless legs. In some cases, they may become painful or cause skin sores or blood clots. Treatments for spider veins are generally safe and effective.
The most obvious sign of spider veins is their web-like appearance on the skin. These veins can be red, blue, or purple. Other symptoms include:
See your doctor if:
According to the Office on Women’s Health, approximately 55 percent of women and 45 percent of men in the United States have spider or varicose veins.
Spider and varicose veins are the result of weak or damaged valves in the veins. When the valves don’t open to allow blood to leave the veins, blood backs up and the veins swell. A number of factors increase your risk of developing this condition, including:
In most cases, spider veins aren’t dangerous. However, spider and varicose veins are sometimes associated with:
Spider veins are easily spotted during a physical exam. Your doctor may want to look at your legs while you’re seated and while you’re standing. To examine blood flow or to check for blood clots, your doctor may order diagnostic tests, including:
Unless you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms, spider and varicose veins don’t require treatment. If you have symptoms or would like the veins removed for aesthetic reasons, treatment options include:
Spider and varicose veins are generally not serious health issues. Available treatments are usually easy and highly successful. However, new veins can form as you age.
If you’ve had spider or varicose veins, you can minimize your risk of developing more by:
Other things you can do to prevent spider and varicose veins:
Written by: Ann Pietrangeloon: Oct 31, 2017
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