Spider and varicose veins are dilated blood vessels that often occur on the inner and outer thighs, calves, knees, and ankles.
While these veins are unattractive and can make the legs look unhealthy, they are often painless. However, swelling, throbbing, aching, burning, itching, heaviness, tingling, and cramping may suggest an underlying venous condition.
Fortunately, patients can make lifestyle modifications and receive treatments to improve vein health and the appearance of their legs.
Spider veins are typically, pink, purple, or blue and can appear as straight, clustered, or web-like. They are also smaller and more superficial than varicose veins.
Varicose veins often present as blue or purple veins that are bulging, twisted, and ropelike. They occur when faulty valves allow the backflow of blood into vessels and cause them to become engorged.
Women are at greater risk than men for spider veins, as hormonal changes and pregnancy increase their incidence.
In fact, research suggests that 30 percent of women will encounter these dilated blood vessels during their first pregnancy, and 50 percent will develop them during subsequent pregnancies.
Additionally, hereditary, weight gain, and prolonged periods of sitting or standing are other contributing factors.
Damaged veins can signify poor circulation and inefficient return of blood back to the heart and other vital organs. Additionally, excess weight can put pressure on veins, and inactivity can cause blood to pool around the lower extremities and cause veins to enlarge.
To improve vein and leg health, patients can make certain lifestyle modifications.
Vein experts recommend maintaining a stable weight, exercising regularly, eating a low sodium and high fiber diet, elevating legs when resting, avoiding leg crossing and taking breaks to stretch and walk during extended periods of sitting or standing.
The first line of treatment is often compression stockings that squeeze the legs and help the veins and muscles to move blood back to the heart.
Additionally, sclerotherapy is an in-office treatment that can eliminate spider veins with the injection of a chemical solution to the damaged vein.
Lastly, laser treatments are another non-surgical option to treat spider and varicose veins by heating the affected blood vessels. This treatment has no downtime, and the skin may be slightly red or swollen post-procedure.
To learn more about improving the health of your veins and legs call the Vein Center of Maryland to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located in Westminster, Eldersburg, Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Bel Air.
We also service Ellicott City and Columbia in Howard County.