Spider or Varicose Veins? Know the Difference

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
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Spider and varicose veins have a number of similarities, including their ability to detract from the enjoyment of shorts weather. Both types of veins may be caused by a similar underlying condition. However, spider and varicose veins also have a number of distinct differences, which are important to understand if you are seeking treatment for either condition. Once you know the difference between spider and varicose veins, you will be better prepared to talk to a vein specialist about your condition and your treatment options.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are small networks of red or blue lines that appear on the surface of the skin. They get their name from their resemblance to a spider’s web. Like varicose veins, these networks frequently appear on the legs, where they can make you feel self-conscious in shorts or skirts. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins can also make an appearance on the abdomen, arms and face, where they can become an even bigger cosmetic concern.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are usually larger blue and purple lines that almost always appear on the leg. In some cases, these diseased veins can begin to twist and protrude, resembling flesh-colored ropes on the surface of the skin. Varicose veins can also be more than a cosmetic concern, as some sufferers may experience symptoms like leg heaviness or aching, swelling of the leg and foot and even skin changes due to fluctuations in blood flow in the lower leg.

Causes of Spider and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins and some spider veins are often caused by an underlying condition known as venous insufficiency. Tiny valves inside the veins are responsible for moving blood in a single direction, back to the heart. When these valves become damaged, blood can pool inside the veins. This may lead to vein swelling and the appearance of spider or varicose veins.

Spider veins may also be due to other causes including sun exposure or skin trauma. Hormonal fluctuations and some medications may also lead to the appearance of spider veins.

Seeking Treatment

Because spider veins tend to be smaller than varicose veins, treatment options also differ somewhat. The gold standard for treating spider veins continues to be sclerotherapy, an injectable procedure that causes diseased veins to seal shut and gradually be eliminated by the body’s natural processes. The larger size of varicose veins makes them a better candidate for other types of treatment, such as laser therapy or minimally-invasive surgical procedures.

Whether you are dealing with networks of spider veins or uncomfortable varicose veins, help is available. At Center for Vein Restoration, we offer a wide range of treatment options for both spider and varicose veins. Our treatments are customizable to the unique needs and desired outcome of each patient. To learn more, contact Center for Vein Restoration.

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