Lifestyle Fashion

Spider veins: definition, prevention and treatment

Surveys show that 40 to 50 percent of men and 50 to 55 percent of women have spider veins, so this is a very common problem.

Spider veins

The term “spider veins” was coined because of its appearance, which is reminiscent of cobwebs. Telangiectasias or venulectasias (spider veins) are capillaries, thin vessels directly connected to the larger venous system. These tiny, tangled blood vessels lie beneath the skin’s surface and are clearly visible as purple, blue, or red lines. These veins may be isolated or associated with larger “feeder” veins or varicose veins. (Spider veins are different from varicose veins, which protrude from the surface of the skin and may require medical treatment.)

While spider veins can be visible on large patches of skin, they are only a cosmetic problem. These veins occur most often on the thighs, calves, ankles, cheeks, and nose. Spider veins can be caused by the following:

• Force of gravity, body weight pressure, and blood pumping from the lower body to the heart

• Age (valves weaken with age)

• Long periods of immobility (including standing)

• Hormones (including puberty, pregnancy and menopause, birth control pills)

• Pregnancy (increased blood in the body can cause the veins to enlarge and the increased size of the uterus puts pressure on the veins)

• Obesity

• Family history

• Running or other high-impact activities

• Injuries

• Obstruction by defective valves in the deep vein system.

• Cross your legs

• Solar exposition

Although spider veins are primarily a cosmetic problem, they can cause leg discomfort. Spider veins often have no symptoms, but they can cause an itch or a burning sensation. Infrequently, these veins can be blood that collects deeper under the skin, in which case the symptoms would be the same as having varicose veins.

Spider vein prevention

There are several steps you can take to help prevent spider veins:

• Walk every 15 minutes during the day

• Exercise your calf muscles to pump blood out of your legs: flex and extend your ankles at least 15 times every 30 minutes.

• Elevate your legs when resting

• Eat a diet high in fiber and low in salt (reduces constipation and bloating)

• Avoid wearing high heels for long periods.

• Wear compression stockings or stockings

• Use sunscreen

Treatment for spider veins

There are several types of spider vein treatments, from completely non-invasive to surgical. Some options include:

• Lifestyle changes, such as alterations in diet and exercise routine.

• Products to help hide the appearance of broken capillaries

– NV Perricone produces an anti-spider vein treatment designed to help reduce the appearance of spider veins and broken capillaries.

– Dermablend products designed to help hide spider veins.

• Compression socks

– Support pantyhose, which offers the least amount of pressure and provides pressure across the entire leg rather than concentrating in certain places.

– Gradient compression hoses, which give a little more pressure and are sold in pharmacies and medical supply stores.

– Prescription gradient compression hose, which offers the most amount of pressure but must be installed by someone specially trained

• Sclerotherapy (SKLER-o-ther-a-pee) is the most common treatment for spider veins. For this highly effective procedure, a doctor injects a liquid chemical into the vein, causing the vein walls to swell, stick, and close. The result is that blood flow stops, causing the vein to turn into scar tissue. Several weeks later, the vein fades. Treatments may need to be done more than once. This procedure can be done in a doctor’s office without anesthesia. Normal activity can be resumed immediately after treatment. Gradient compression stockings can be used after sclerotherapy to decrease swelling and aid healing.

• Surface laser treatments, such as XEO, use a very strong burst of light that is sent through the skin into the vein, causing the vein to fade and disappear. Treatments generally last 15-20 minutes. Two to five treatments are normally required to remove these leg veins. Limited activity is recommended for the first 24 hours after treatment. It is better not to exercise for the next week. After treatment, a support hose should be used for best results. Laser treatments are not safe for all skin types and colors, so this is not an option for everyone. This is the treatment of choice today as it causes more discomfort than sclerotherapy.

Because there are several options for treating spider veins, it is advisable to consult with a qualified professional to determine the best course of action for you.