Varicose veins and Spider veins- what is it and how to treat it?
”Varicose veins are stretched out, tortuous and twisted veins visible subcutaneously, in the lower extremities.”
Think of a stretched-out panty-hose? Normally, panty-hose is compressed, but when you forcefully enter your legs it stretches out. Similarly, varicose veins are baggy and widened like that due to the engorgement of blood in the veins of your legs.
Varicose veins are common in obese and pregnant females.
Research studies and statistics show that in 2020, approximately 500 thousand women ( age 65-74) were diagnosed with the varicose vein in Spain.
What are Varicose veins?
Our body has certain valves, located in veins, to prevent the backflow of blood. Especially, when you’re standing, your blood never flows back to your feet due to gravity. That’s because these valves let the blood move upward and restrict its backward flow. In varicose veins, these valves become incompetent, which causes engorgement of blood in the vein. Engorged and tortuous veins appear on the skin which is called varicose veins.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins look like reddish and purple bulging threads, clustered under the skin. These threads are damaged blood vessels. Spider veins may be present in linear and spider fashion. Sometimes, they look like branching trees or papules. Spider veins are usually painless but they may cause pain on applying pressure.
Sclerotherapy, intense pulsed treatment, and laser treatment are most commonly practiced in the treatment of spider veins.
What is the difference between varicose veins and Spider veins:
Varicose veins appear red, bulging, swollen, twisted veins in lower extremities only, usually in legs and pelvis. These are due to incompetent or weak valves.
Spider veins manifest spider or branching tree appearance. These are also red, blue, or purple, twisted blood vessels but they usually affect capillaries. Spider veins are visible on the face and lower extremities.
What are the symptoms of varicose and spider veins?
Varicose veins appear as visible twisted veins with swelling of legs and pain.
8 Symptoms of varicose veins, you must be aware of are:
- Heaviness in legs
- Swollen legs
- Excessive fatigue
- Itching and burning sensation
- Exercise intolerance
What are the risk factors of varicose veins and spider veins?
Varicose veins are associated with several risk factors, which are as follows:
- Females gender
- Old age
- Hormonal pills
- History of venous malformations
5 Lifestyle modifications to prevent varicose and spider vein:
You can prevent varicose veins with the following modifications in your daily routine:
- Avoid standing for a long time
- Wear loose and non-restrictive clothes
- Avoid excessive exercise
- Elevate affected leg
- Lose weight
- Avoid hanging the affected leg for a longer period
Medical treatment of Varicose veins and spider veins:
1- Compression stockings:
Graduated compression stockings are used to reduce edema. Ideal pressure is 20-30 mm of Hg, but in severe cases, it can be increased up to 30-40 mm of Hg. Most people prefer compression stockings over surgery. These thigh-high stockings are also used after treating venous insufficiency.
Oral medications which reduce pain are given to patients which reduce cramps in swollen legs.
Surgical treatment of Varicose veins and Spider veins
Endovenous thermal ablation:
The patient is given anesthesia and a source of heat energy such as laser or radiofrequency is used under ultrasound guidance. A catheter is introduced and a vein with an incompetent valve is cauterized. In this way, blood automatically redirects to veins with competent and healthy valves.
Liquid sclerotherapy and phlebectomy:
Sclerosant is injected into superficial retinal vessels and telangiectasia. Phlebectomy is performed in larger varicose veins.
Complications of varicose veins:
- Cosmetic disfigurement
- Leg ulcers
- Severe pain
Find out more about your specific situation – consult with our team of specialists today.