Spider veins are a common problem affecting millions of people all over the United States. Not only are these veins embarrassing, but they may also signal the presence of more serious vein disease.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are abnormal veins that often develop with age. These veins are thin and twisted, and they usually appear close to the surface of the skin. Spider veins are more common among people who are overweight, have a genetic predisposition for developing spider veins, have been pregnant or spend a lot of time on their feet. If left untreated, spider veins tend to become worse over time.
Do Spider Veins Signal Serious Disease?
In general, spider veins are considered one of the lesser vein problems because they are less noticeable and cause fewer symptoms than other vein problems, such as varicose veins. However, this does not mean that spider veins are not a serious issue. Spider veins are caused by the same vein issues that lead to varicose veins. In most cases, these veins develop because of a malfunction in the valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves stop working properly, blood can pool in the vein, causing it to dilate.
If spider veins are signaling the presence of venous reflux or venous insufficiency, then they are not simply a cosmetic issue. Problems with the valves inside the vein can lead to more serious complications than spider veins, such as varicose veins. Varicose veins are often painful and unsightly, making them highly inconvenient for patients. If varicose veins are left untreated, they may even ulcerate and become infected.
In the worst cases, someone with venous insufficiency or venous reflux may even develop a more serious complication known as “deep vein thrombosis” or “DVT.” This condition occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep within the leg. Deep vein thrombosis can be life-threatening, as the clot may break free and travel to the lungs.
If you think you may have spider veins, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from developing serious complications is to seek treatment from an experienced vein doctor. Not only with your vein doctor be able to help you explore treatment options to eliminate your spider veins, but he or she will also be able to evaluate your veins and look for signs of more serious problems. In addition, your vein doctor will be able to teach you how to recognize the signs of other vein problems so you can seek treatment quickly if they develop.