The reason why our veins appear purple or blue is because oxygen is removed from your blood, and travels back to your heart. There are two common conditions that can affect the veins, varicose and spider veins. While you may think that spider veins and varicose veins are the same condition, they are not. While it’s true that both spider veins and varicose veins have similar causes, symptoms, and treatments, again they are not the same condition.
When your veins do not move blood back into your heart properly from your legs, and the one-way valves located along the blood vessels begin to function improperly, this causes pressure and congestion to build up in your veins, thus varicose veins emerge. Varicose veins are large, bulging, and swollen blood vessels that rise up, and are visible through the skin.
Varicose veins happen because the wall of the vein becomes damaged. The veins have filled with pooled blood. If the damage affects a valve, blood can flow backwards, putting more pressure on valves lower down. The result is a domino effect, with several leaking valves and enlarged veins, looking like little snakes under the skin. Interestingly, these shrink or disappear when you lift your leg up above your heart, letting the blood flow back freely.
Varicose veins are often painful. While considered by most as a cosmetic concern, varicose veins are chronic and can get progressively worse over time and can be a threat if left untreated. In other words, without treatment, varicose veins can affect your quality of life and ability to live your normal daily life.
Other than varicose veins, people can have spider veins, a condition known as telangiectasias. Spider veins are delicate and thin veins that are visible, and pop up close to the surface of your skin. Like the name implies, these veins are clusters of blood vessels that branch out, and make out a spider web like appearance, commonly seen on the face and legs.
Spider veins are often associated with no symptoms. They can be caused by a backup of blood, and can trigger swelling, cause restless legs, cramping, and throbbing. Other symptoms for spider veins include rash, itching, skin ulcers, and tenderness, if left untreated.
Do you find yourself always opting to wear long pants, because you are self-conscious and embarrassed by the appearance of varicose or spider veins?
Currently, the treatment for spider and varicose veins has come a long way since the primary vein treatment was vein stripping. Doctors used to pull the varicose veins out of the skin through small incisions. With increasing research and technological advancements, there are a variety of vein treatments to choose from. While many patients ultimately choose a surgical procedure to get rid of these troublesome blood vessels, others are able to reduce symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins without the need for invasive surgery, due to advancements in vein removal procedures or methods.
To treat both varicose and spider veins, physician’s use a popular treatment called sclerotherapy. During this procedure, the physician uses a thin needle to inject what is called a sclerosing agent into each vein. The substance inside the injection is a saline, or salt water solution that irritates the wall of the varicose vein, forcing blood to reroute through other healthier veins, to re-enable the correct flow pattern of blood, causing the blood vessels to then close, fade, and hopefully disappear. In other words, the collapsed vein is later reabsorbed into tissue and eventually fades. Thus, sclerotherapy helps people restore their confidence in their appearance again. If you have varicose veins or spider veins, you already know how ugly they can be, and how much you want to cover them up. But, after sclerotherapy treatment, you can say good-bye to your ugly veins.
At The Vein Institute & MediSpa, board-certified physician Raymond Little specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vein disorders. We use advanced, minimally invasive methods whenever possible to treat vascular disorders, to ease pain and improve the appearance of veins.
To learn more about spider and varicose veins, and if you are a candidate for sclerotherapy, call The Vein Institute & MediSpa in Kingwood, TX today at (281) 312-0208 to request an appointment, or request an appointment online.