Varicose veins (or spider veins, as they are sometimes called) are enlarged nodular veins. The word varicose comes from the Latin root varix, which means “crooked”. The most commonly affected veins are found in the legs and feet. Gravity, body weight pressure and the task of transporting blood from the ground to the heart make the legs the main place for varicose veins and spider veins.
The majority of people with varicose veins are primarily concerned with their appearance. Some people worry about varicose veins because of the painful pain and discomfort they can cause. Sometimes this condition leads to more serious problems. Varicose veins can also be a sign of a higher risk of other circulatory disorders. Varicose veins are a common condition in the United States, affecting approximately 50 to 55% of American women and 40 to 45% of American men.
Cause of varicose veins: The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients through the body. The arteries carry blood from the heart to certain parts of the body. The veins carry oxygen-poor blood from the body to the heart. By tightening the leg muscles, blood is pumped from the lower body to the heart. The veins have valves that serve as one-way valves. These valves prevent blood from flowing back into your legs. When the one-way valves weaken, blood can return to the vein and collect there. This is called venous insufficiency. The accumulated blood enlarges the vein and varicose veins occur. Spider veins can also be caused by congestion.
Factors that can increase the likelihood that a person will develop varicose veins or spider veins include:
Were you born to family members with venous problems or weak venous valves?
Hormonal changes. These occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, as well as when taking oral contraceptives and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone. The amount of blood in the body increases dramatically during pregnancy. This can lead to an enlarged vein. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins.
Obesity, leg injury, prolonged standing, and other things that weaken the venous valves.
Sun exposure that can cause spider veins on the cheeks or noses of fair-skinned people.
Symptoms of varicose veins include: painful pain; slightly tired legs; Heaviness in the legs; Swelling of the legs; Darkening of the skin (in severe cases); Numbness in the legs; and itching or itchy rash in the legs.
Spider veins do not usually require medical treatment. However, varicose veins widen and generally worsen over time. Severe varicose veins can cause other health problems, including:
A large accumulation of blood in the veins that slows the return of blood to the heart – this can lead to blood clots and serious infections.
Sores or skin ulcers may appear on the skin tissue around the varicose veins.
Persistent irritation, swelling and painful rashes on the legs.
Prevention of varicose veins and spider veins can include the following:
Wear sunscreen to protect the skin from the sun and limit spider veins on the face.
Exercise regularly to improve leg strength, circulation, and vein strength.
Weight not to put too much pressure on your legs.
Do not cross your legs while seated.
Raise your legs when you’re not using them.
Do not sit or sit for long periods of time.
Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing that tightens the waist, groin or legs.
A food low in salt and rich in fiber. Consuming fiber reduces the risk of constipation, which can lead to varicose veins.
Varicose vein treatment – may include personal intervention or medical procedures to close or remove the veins. Treatments include:
Sclerotherapy – This is a non-surgical procedure in which a solution is injected into the problem of varicose veins or spider veins to make them disappear.
Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) warms the inside of the vein and causes it to close and disappear. This treatment requires the insertion of a very fine laser fiber into the damaged vein below.
Radio frequency Closure – This method treats the vein by heating, causing the vein to contract and close.