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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 their appearance, reminiscent of spiders. Telangiectasia or venulectasias (spider veins) are capillaries, thinner channels that connect directly to the larger vein system. These small, tangled blood vessels appear below the surface of the skin and appear as clear as purple, blue or red lines. These veins can be isolated or associated with "feeder" veins or larger varices. (Spider veins are different from varicose veins, which glide on the surface of the skin and may require medical attention.)

Although spider veins can be seen through most of the skin, they are only a cosmetic problem. This vein occurs most frequently in the thighs, calves, ankles, cheeks and nose. Spiders can be caused by the following:

• Gravity, weight loss and pumping blood from the lower body to the heart

• Age (valve weakens with age)

• Long duration of immunity (including standing)

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

• Pregnancy (increase in blood pressure in the body may cause enlargement of the veins and increase in uterus size puts pressure on the veins)

• Obesity

• Family history

• High impact walking or activity

• Injury

• Blockage by bad valve in the internal vein system

• Cross your legs

• Sun exposure

Although spider veins are a cosmetic problem, they can cause foot discomfort. There are usually no symptoms of spider veins, but they can cause itching or burning. Not always, this vein can become a more stable blood under the skin where the symptoms will be similar to having varicella.

Prevent Spider Veins

Here are some 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 feet - flex and extend your ankle at least 15 times every 30 minutes

• Raise your feet during rest

• Eat high fiber, low salt diet (reduce constipation and swelling)

• Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time

• Use compression hoses or socks

• Wear sunscreen

Treatment for Spider Veins

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

• Lifestyle changes such as changes in diet and exercise routine

• Products to help hide the appearance of broken capillaries

- N.V. Perricone produces an anti-spider vein treatment that aims to help reduce the appearance of spider veins and damaged capillaries

- Dermablend products are intended to help hide spider veins

• Compression stockings

- Pantyhose support, which offers the lowest pressure and stress to the whole leg rather than being concentrated in a specific location

- Slight compression interval, which is a bit stressful and sold in drugstores and medical supplies stores

- Prescription gradient compression interval, which offers the greatest amount of pressure but must be installed by a specially trained person

• Sclerotherapy (SKLER-o-ther-a-pee) is the most common spider vein. For this very effective procedure, a doctor injects liquid chemicals into the veins, causing the blood vessel wall to swell, stick and close. The result is that the blood flow is stopped, causing the veins to become scar tissue. A few weeks later, the vein faded. Treatment may need to be done more than once. This procedure can be done at the doctor's office without anesthesia. Normal activity may resume after treatment. Slight compression stockings may be used after sclerotherapy to reduce swelling and relief.

• Surface laser treatments, such as XEO, use very strong light that is transmitted through the skin to veins that cause the veins to fade and disappear. Treatment usually lasts 15 - 20 minutes. Two to five treatments are usually required to remove this vein in the foot. Limited activity is recommended for the first 24 hours after treatment. It's best not to exercise next week. After treatment, the support hose should be used to get the best results. Laser treatment is not safe for all skin types and colors, so this is not an option for everyone. This is the current treatment of choice as it causes discomfort from sclerotherapy.

Because there are several options for spider vein treatment, it is wise to consult a qualified professional to determine the best course of action for you.


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