If you have heard about varicose and spider veins and wondered if there is a difference between the two, you are not alone. Much of what is written about the subject group the two together, almost as if the terms could be used interchangeably. While the fundamental difference is simply the size of the affected blood vessels, there are also differences in the ways the two conditions affect a person’s life and health.
Varicose veins are most commonly found in the legs. In appearance, they can resemble twisted cords that bulge out from under the skin. They are often blue in color, making them appear even more conspicuous. For this reason, many people seek treatment. However, appearance is not the only reason one should look at treatment options for varicose veins. There can be risk factors associated with them that pose threats to the person’s health.
The presence of varicose veins can put a person at a higher risk for the formation of blood clots. These clots can develop deep within the tissue or closer to the surface. Clots in the deeper tissue are more serious and are known as deep vein thrombosis. These clots have a greater chance of breaking loose and traveling to the heart or lungs. When this happens, life threatening conditions can be present.
While some people with varicose veins have no symptoms, others may experience pain, tingling and swelling. The discomfort can be worse for individuals who spend a lot of time on their feet or in a stationary position for much of the day. People in this situation can find some relief by propping their feet up whenever possible.
Spider veins, on the other hand, seldom contribute to any health problems. The biggest issue most people have with them is the impact on appearance. Spider veins get their name because they resemble the web, and sometimes the legs, of a spider as they weave together, often with sharp, jagged turns. They can be red, blue or purple in color when they become visible through the skin.
While spider veins are common on the legs, just like varicose veins are, they also appear frequently on the face and chest. For many people, they can have a negative impact on the self-esteem because of the feeling that others view them in a negative light. Spider veins can be hereditary. They can also develop following a traumatic injury to the skin.
If you think you are experiencing spider or varicose veins and want to look at treatment options, the medical experts at Peripheral Vascular Associates may be able to help. Call our offices to schedule your consultation today!