What are Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
What Is the Definition of Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins (also called varicosities) are blood vessels that become swollen, twisted, and lengthened by pressure within the vein. This endovenous pressure stems from chronic venous insufficiency. Valve failure in deeper veins allows blood to accumulate, engorging the surface veins. Genetics play a large role in developing varicosities. In addition, female gender, pregnancy, and sedentary lifestyles contribute to varicose vein formation.
Varicosities are blue, purple, or green, and visible through your skin. They typically bulge above the skin’s surface, unlike healthy veins or spider veins. They resemble knotty ropes or branches and are often found in the legs and lower extremities. Contact our California vein treatment experts to learn about gentle solutions for varicose veins and venous insufficiency.
What Is the Definition of Spider Veins?
The disease that causes varicose veins (chronic venous insufficiency) also causes spider veins. These unhealthy veins are smaller than varicosities and often develop as clusters, rather than a single vein. They resemble spider webs, with a central point that branches out in several directions.
When a venous valve malfunctions, blood pools inside the vein. This either causes the vein to become swollen and tortuous (varicose), or it causes new venous pathways to branch out from that feeder vein. These offshoots are called spider veins, or telangiectasias. They are “dead-end” veins that don’t carry blood back to your heart. If spider veins run in your family, you are likely to develop them. Being female, pregnant, or employed in a sedentary profession also increases your risk.
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Vein Disease Symptoms
Rеѕtlеѕѕ lеgѕ ѕуndrоmе (RLS)
Patients with Restless Legs Syndrome are bothered by an uncontrollable urge to move their legs, often while at rest. RLS is an aggravating condition, since it disrupts your sleep and causes disturbing sensations in your legs, along with symptoms like exhaustion and discomfort.
RLS is a neurological condition with certain contributing factors, like inactivity and impaired circulation. Many patients don’t know that circulatory disorders like venous insufficiency exacerbate restless sensations in their legs. As blood accumulates in your veins, the excess pressure leads to an insatiable need to move your legs. Talk to our California vein treatment experts about repairing circulation to improve your RLS.
Visible vein damage is an obvious clue that your vein health is impaired. But you might be surprised to know that leg cramps are also a sign of vein disease. Dehydration and overexertion can cause cramping. But leg cramps are also a prominent symptom of venous insufficiency. If your cramping persists, despite adequate hydration and stretching, consult our California vein treatment specialists.
Leg cramps that awaken you from sleep are particularly indicative of venous insufficiency. While pregnancy, electrolyte imbalance, and poor nutrition can cause cramping, nocturnal leg cramps are often tied to vein disease. Involuntary contractions in your thigh or calf muscles can be incredibly painful. Visit our premier California vein treatment clinic for relief.
Does it seem like your legs get heavier toward the end of the day? Do you feel increased heaviness when you sit or stand still for a long time? You are not imagining things. Leg heaviness is a common symptom of chronic venous insufficiency – the same circulatory disorder that causes spider and varicose veins.
While there are other causes of leg heaviness, patients with vein-related heaviness feel better when they exercise and worse when they are inactive or in hot weather. Visit our California vein treatment team to alleviate this tiring, frustrating issue.
Swollen legs aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re also cause for concern. Sometimes, leg swelling stems from excess salt consumption, pregnancy, or medications. Other times, it signifies serious issues like congestive heart failure, cellulitis, or vein disease. Swelling (peripheral edema) is more common as we age and more apparent in the lower legs, due to gravity.
If fluid is accumulating in your legs, visit our CA vein treatment center. It’s the only way to ensure that your swelling isn’t caused by a serious disease. Compression stockings and reduced sodium intake might provide temporary improvement, but treating the underlying cause is essential for long-term relief.
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Causes of Vein Disease
Common Causes of Spider and Varicose Veins
The primary cause of varicose veins and spider veins is chronic venous insufficiency. Pressure within a vein is the impetus for vein damage. Venous insufficiency elevates endovenous pressure when a valve malfunction allows blood to accumulate in the vein. Over time, this causes veins to bulge, enlarge, and twist to contain the excess, becoming varicose. It also causes tiny new veins to branch out from the overburdened vein, creating clusters of spider veins.
The top predictor of developing venous insufficiency is genetic predisposition. Your risk increases if you are female, pregnant, or employed in a stationary role (office administrator, bus driver, restaurant host, cashier, etc.). If your genetics or lifestyle predispose you to spider veins or varicose veins, our award-winning CA vein treatment doctors can help. We have both interventional and restorative treatments to prevent and repair spider and varicose veins. Unlike many California vein treatment centers, we also treat the underlying venous insufficiency, so those bothersome veins don’t return.
WHAT DOES VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY MEAN?
When veins are healthy, tiny valves within them ensure that blood flows in a singular direction, by closing once blood passes through. Patients with venous insufficiency have valves that are collapsed or weakened, allowing blood to leak back in the wrong direction. Over time, this condition generates spider veins, varicose veins, and unpleasant, or even life-threatening, complications.
Venous valves weaken as we age. In addition, several things elevate endovenous blood pressure, including pregnancy, obesity, hormonal changes, and inactivity. Pregnancy increases blood volume, sometimes stretching veins to the point of valve failure. Weight gain amplifies pressure on our veins. Sitting or standing still allows blood to pool in our veins and engorge them. Each of these factors contributes to malfunctioning valves.
Early symptoms of venous insufficiency include throbbing leg veins, leg cramps, leg heaviness, restless legs, and spider veins. These symptoms progress to varicose veins, itching, hyperpigmentation, and serious complications like venous ulcerations and blood clots, if left untreated. Vein disease will not improve on its own. Call our California vein treatment clinic to hear about our minimally invasive solutions for venous insufficiency.