Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

When your veins have trouble sending blood from your limbs back to the heart, it’s known as venous insufficiency. Patients often call varicose veins, spider veins, and vise Versa. However, both are different forms of a medical condition called venous insufficiency. Although the two have multiple similarities and Spider Veins are considered a mild variation of varicose veins, they are still not the same condition. Varicose veins can lead to more serious problems, which is why it is important to understand the difference between these two common conditions. 

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are usually not painful or harmful; they can be blue, purple, or red and may appear in the form of thin lines, webs, or branches. As we previously mentioned Spider Veins are a result of Venous Insufficiency when the valves inside the veins stop working properly. Spider veins on the face can be caused by tiny blood vessels bursting, and prolonged exposure to the sun can also cause this to occur. Spider veins are found closer to the surface of the skin compared to varicose veins, often harmless and removed for cosmetic reasons. 

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins can cause discomfort, pain with walking, cramps in the legs, and ulcers. The myth about varicose veins is that they are simply a cosmetic concern. However, varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins that can lead to serious health risks. At first varicose veins may not cause any pain, but over time you might start to experience throbbing, muscle cramping, and swelling in your legs. Unlike spider veins, varicose veins can cause skin discoloration around the damaged veins and appear as dark purple or blue. It is important to understand that varicose veins are common; over 40% of the adult population lives with this condition. 

How can I Prevent Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

Although both conditions can be inherited, you can help minimize your risk by following these steps; 

• Elevating your feet frequently

• Maintaining a healthy diet and weight

• Exercise your legs regularly

• Avoid crossing your legs

• Alter your bodies position regularly

What are my treatment options?

Before you begin any treatment, you must first consult a licensed healthcare professional who specializes in these conditions. Our team at Vascular and Interventional Physicians will start with an initial consultation to determine the best course of action. Understanding the difference between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins is the first step every patient should take. The following procedures are commonly used to treat varicose and spider veins; 

• Sclerotherapy

• Laser Treatment

• Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)

• Phlebectomy

To diagnose varicose veins or spider veins one of our experienced healthcare providers will need to perform an in-house physical exam and an ultrasound study. These exams will properly assess areas of concern to check for any venous diseases. Call today to schedule your initial consultation (Contact Us).