Spider veins and Varicose Veins – What’s the difference?
First let’s talk about varicose veins. These are swollen, large and raised blood vessels, which usually develop in the legs. Varicose veins twist and turn, and are visible through the skin.
Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins. They are typically red, purple and blue in appearance. Spider veins are often found on the legs and the face; they also twist and turn and are visible through the skin.
Causes of Varicose and Spider Veins
There are several factors which can predispose someone to both varicose and spider veins including:
Career – jobs that include a lot of standing; nurses, hair stylists, teachers, and factory workers often get varicose and/or spider veins
Hormonal influences from pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
Birth control pill use
Postmenopausal hormonal replacement
A health history of blood clots
Health conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen including tumors and constipation
Externally worn garments such as girdles.
Trauma or injury to the skin, previous vein surgery, and exposure to ultraviolet rays
Other Risk Factors
Women develop varicose veins and spider veins develop more often than men. The appearance of these veins increases with age. Approximately 30% to 60% of adults are estimated to have varicose veins or spider veins.
Symptoms of Varicose and Spider Veins
People who have varicose veins often complain of pain, described as an aching or cramping in the legs. Other symptoms can include tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing, tingling, or heaviness in the legs. This pain may be relieved by elevating the legs or by wearing support hose.
Symptoms may worsen during certain parts of the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. Swelling, ulcers and a darkening of the skin, especially in the ankle region may occur. Occasionally, a condition called thrombophlebitis may occur, where a painful blood clot forms with inflammation of the vein.