Are Spider Veins a Health Risk?

Spider veins, a milder version of varicose veins, are actually extremely common among women, especially among those who become pregnant, who are older, who struggle with obesity, or who have demanding jobs that require a lot of standing, like nursing. 

Many people who experience problems with spider veins wonder if they’re actually a health risk or just a cosmetic issue. 

Dr. Jeffrey Gosin and the rest of us at Shore Vascular & Vein Center understand your concerns about spider and varicose veins. We’re here to help you every step of the way so you can feel healthy, protected, and happy with your body.

The causes of spider veins

Spider veins are caused by the same issues as varicose veins: valves in the legs becoming damaged or weakened through overuse. Ineffective valves might not keep blood moving through your veins, so the blood pools up in places, making the veins larger and misshapen.

According to the Office on Women’s Health, spider veins are usually much smaller than varicose veins and can be red, blue, or purple. They may branch out in thin spindles, causing them to look like spiderwebs. They don’t cause the skin to swell out like varicose veins do, and unlike varicose veins, they can be found on the face as well as the legs. 

Health risks of spider veins

Spider veins are considered to be a milder form of varicose veins, and both are generally regarded in the medical community as harmless. However, they can both create pain and discomfort, while varicose veins, if they become severe enough, can also cause swelling, itching, and bleeding. 

At Shore Vascular & Vein Center, we believe these symptoms are reason enough to think about removing spider and varicose veins, but unfortunately, the latter does come with further health risks.

In recent years, doctors have seen that those who develop varicose veins have an increased likelihood of developing a blood clot, which can lead to serious issues like deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. It seems logical, then, that spider veins could also carry a risk of similar problems. 

While it’s common for doctors to tell patients that the issue is purely cosmetic, it could be that spider and varicose veins put you more at risk for serious issues. 

What should I do about my spider veins?

First, stay aware of the signs that more dangerous health problems could be on the horizon. These can include any increase in pain, especially in the legs, additional swelling, or discoloration in the skin, such as brownish spots near or around the veins. 

If the veins themselves start to turn red, become more painful, or feel hot to the touch, this is a sign that something is going wrong.

Exercising frequently with moderate intensity is also a good way to keep your spider veins in check. If you have them on your legs, make sure to put your legs up after you have been walking, standing, or exercising for a long period. Finally, make sure you wear compression socks in order to avoid worsening spider or varicose veins. 

Treatment for spider veins

Are you still concerned about your spider veins, or do want to know if there is an option that could lessen their severity or the pain they cause? Dr. Gosin and the rest of us at Shore Vascular & Vein Center are here to help. 

Call 609-297-5992 or request an appointment online. We’d be happy to discuss the issue with you as well as to help you find the appropriate treatment for your spider veins.

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