Let’s start with some facts about how varicose veins and spider veins are similar. They are quite common and half of adults over age 50 have them. That includes 55% of women and 45% of men. They are both abnormal blood vessels. Maybe you have them or suspect you do. So now let’s find out about varicose veins vs spider veins: what’s the difference?
When you have varicose veins, usually on your legs, they are swollen, large, and raised above the skin. They look twisted, gnarled, and are unsightly. In addition, they can be quite painful.
They are caused by venous insufficiency, and you may have some of the following symptoms:
- They may feel heavy and your legs may swell.
- You may develop blood clots.
- You may have ulcers or sores that do not heal.
- You may experience a burning, throbbing, or tingling feeling in your legs.
- You may have darkening of the skin around the ankle.
If left untreated, varicose veins can cause serious complications similar to above.
These abnormal veins are smaller and are visible on the skin, but do not protrude through the skin like varicose veins. They look red, blue or purple and resemble spider webs or branches. Beside appearing on legs, they can also form on the face or chest.
They are mostly painless and do not cause any swelling. It is important to note that spider veins do not turn into varicose veins.
Spider veins are mostly considered a cosmetic issue and are easily treated by Advanced Vascular Associates.
Risk Factors For Both
There are a number of causes or risk factors for developing both varicose and spider veins. Heredity is a common cause. Someone with a job that requires them to stand for long periods of time is another common risk factor.
Obesity, taking birth control pills, and having a history of blood clots can lead to these vein issues. Taking hormone replacement therapy is another risk factor. If you have increased pressure in your abdomen like frequent constipation or have had tumors, this increases the risk.