Spider veins fall into the same general category as varicose veins. However, when it comes down to looking at varicose vein and spider vein symptoms as well as the health risks associated with each, there is a difference.
Spider veins and varicose veins form when blood begins to back up in the vessels, making them visible through the skin. The basic difference in the two is the size of the affected vessels. Spider veins happen to smaller vessels, or capillaries, that branch out from the larger vessels to which they are connected. They are normally located close to the surface of the skin. As a result, when they develop, they are visible through the skin.
Varicose veins are larger and often cause the skin to bulge out as a result. They often resemble cords that twist and turn under the skin. Varicose veins and spider veins can appear red, blue or purple.
Being visible through the skin is common with both spider veins and varicose veins. Other than this, there are important differences in the symptoms and health risks they can produce. Varicose veins can be painful. In addition, the pain is frequently accompanied by itching and burning. They can also cause swelling in the feet and legs.
It is in the legs that most varicose veins form. This is because blood can back up in the leg veins more easily because of the distance from the heart and because the blood must be pumped uphill much of the time. In order to help keep the blood from flowing backwards, the veins contain check valves that are there to allow blood to only flow in one direction. If these valves fail to do their job, blood can begin to pool. This puts added pressure on the walls of the vessels, which, in turn, causes them to become distorted and enlarged.
Varicose veins can cause the legs to cramp, especially at night. They can also cause a person to develop skin irritations. People with varicose veins are much more likely to develop blood clots also.
The biggest issue spider veins cause is with appearance. Other than that, they usually do not lead to other health problems or have symptoms. There are rare occasions, however, when spider vein symptoms are more than just physical. They can sometimes be accompanied by a mild burning sensation or other discomfort. But in the vast majority of cases, when spider veins are treated, it is for appearance purposes only.
Like varicose veins, spider veins most commonly occur in the legs. Unlike varicose veins, however, they frequently appear on the face, chest and arms as well. A variety of treatment options exist that are effective in helping with the appearance issues caused by spider veins.
If you have spider veins and would like to have them removed, consult with our team at Premier Vein Institute. We can evaluate your condition and come up with a treatment plan that will give you the greatest relief from your spider vein symptoms. We have locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Riverview and Lakeland. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.