What are Spider Vein & Varicose Veins?

Varico veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are damaged or unhealthy blood vessels that bulge out of the skin’s surface because of excessive dilation. They are bluish, reddish, purplish, or skin-colored veins that protrude out of the skin’s surface in a twisted, knotted, and tangled form. 

Varicose veins are often accompanied by leg heaviness, restless legs syndrome, leg pain, leg cramps, and changes in skin color. That’s because varicose veins are symptomatic of chronic venous insufficiency, a medical condition wherein your vein valves malfunction and blood accumulates in leg veins. The vein doctors at our vein centers in New York perform comprehensive tests to identify and treat the root cause of varicose veins.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are unhealthy blood vessels that appear just underneath the skin’s surface. They are blue, red, or purple clusters of blood vessels that appear on the skin’s surface, looking similar to a mass of spider webs. They usually appear on the legs or face.

Spider veins are asymptomatic, but they’re often accompanied by the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, a circulatory disorder wherein blood accumulates in your leg veins. As such, your spider veins might be accompanied by varicose veins, leg heaviness, restless leg syndrome, leg cramps, and skin discoloration. The board-certified and fellowship-trained vein doctors at our vein centers in New York always diagnose and treat the root cause of spider veins to ensure long-lasting relief with a negligible risk of recurrence.

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Vein Disease Symptoms

Rеѕtlеѕѕ lеgѕ ѕуndrоmе (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome is a condition wherein you have a strong desire to move your legs at all times. You may also experience itching and heavy sensations in your legs. This can prevent you from focusing on your day-to-day activities and eventually cause insomnia, which, in turn, can lead to exhaustion, anxiety, and fatigue. 

Restless legs syndrome is often caused by chronic venous insufficiency, a medical condition wherein blood accumulates in your leg veins due to malfunctioning vein valves. This is particularly true if your restlessness worsens at the end of the day or after long periods of sitting or standing, i.e., when more blood accumulates in your leg veins. Our vein doctors in NYC carefully diagnose and treat the root cause of your restless legs syndrome to ensure long-lasting results.

LEG CRAMPS

Most of us are familiar with the sensation of cramps. You experience sudden involuntary muscle contractions in different parts of your body, such as the legs or arms. If you experience frequent leg cramps, you might have dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or an underlying medical condition called chronic venous insufficiency. You can reduce the likelihood of leg cramps by remaining hydrated and following a balanced diet.

However, if your leg cramps persist despite proper hydration and a balanced diet, there’s a strong chance you have chronic venous insufficiency. This is particularly true if your leg cramps worsen at the end of the day or after long periods of sitting or standing still or if you wake up in the middle of the night with painful leg cramps. Our vein centers in NYC always diagnose and treat the root cause of your frequent leg cramps.

LEG HEAVINESS

Leg heaviness is a condition wherein your legs feel extremely heavy or sore, which can lead to exhaustion. This is a common symptom of chronic venous insufficiency, especially if it worsens at the end of the day or after long periods of sitting or standing still. Exercise can alleviate the discomfort, but the relief is temporary. If you experience leg heaviness, you should also note other potential signs and symptoms of vein disease, such as leg cramps, spider veins, and varicose veins. Our vein doctors in NYC identify and treat the root cause of leg heaviness before it worsens.

LEG SWELLING

Leg swelling is a condition wherein your legs appear swollen. This can have numerous reasons, such as a high salt intake, kidney failure, heart failure, lymphatic system problems, muscle injuries, or chronic venous insufficiency. Out of these, chronic venous insufficiency is the most common and the easiest to identify.

Leg swelling caused by vein disease worsens at the end of the day or after long periods of sitting or standing. The symptoms improve when you elevate your legs or engage in exercises that work your calf muscles, but only temporarily. Furthermore, leg swelling caused by vein disease might be accompanied by other symptoms, such as leg heaviness, sensitivity, skin discoloration, spider veins, and hair loss. Our vein centers in NYC diagnose and treat the root cause of leg swelling before you can experience more advanced complications.

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Causes of Vein Disease

Causes of Spider and Varicose Veins

Chronic venous insufficiency is the medical condition responsible for most of the vein problems mentioned above. This condition occurs when the vein valves responsible for effective blood circulation malfunction, leading to blood accumulation in the leg veins. To understand chronic venous insufficiency, you must understand how veins function.

The veins are responsible for carrying blood from different parts of the body to the heart. The veins contain valves that act as one-way doors, allowing blood to flow towards the heart but not backward due to gravity. When your vein valves weaken or collapse, blood flows backward due to gravity and pools in the leg veins. Over time, the continued accumulation of blood in the leg veins leads to vein wall dilation, which, in turn, leads to spider veins and varicose veins.

Risk Factors for Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

There’s no way to completely avoid spider veins and varicose veins with certainty. However, understanding the risk factors for spider veins and varicose veins allows you to take preemptive actions to minimize your likelihood of vein disease.

Genetic predisposition is the leading risk factor for spider veins and varicose veins. If your mom and dad have a history of vein problems and spider veins, there’s a strong chance that you’ll eventually get spider veins. Furthermore, your vein valves weaken as you grow older, so your risk of vein disease increases as you grow older. Female hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, also increase the risk of spider veins and varicose veins. As such, you’re more likely to experience vein problems if you’re female, especially if you’re pregnant, undergoing hormone therapy, or taking birth control pills. You are also more likely to have vein problems if your occupation demands that you sit or stand still for long periods, such as desk jobs, teaching, nursing, driving, etc.

Our vein doctors in NYC will thoroughly examine your leg veins, review your medical history, and run advanced vascular imaging tests to diagnose and treat the root cause of spider veins and varicose veins.

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