Increased Risk Factors for Varicose and Spider Veins
Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on February 11, 2015
No one likes varicose veins. Unfortunately, for some people, getting them is unavoidable. Here, I explore the factors that increase the risk for developing varicose and spider veins and share some tips that may help reduce the risk.
What Are Varicose and Spider Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are visible and bulge underneath the surface of the skin. They typically look like purple or blue twisted cords. Varicose veins can develop anywhere in the body, but most often appear on the legs.
Spider veins are much smaller and appear on the surface of the skin. They are red or blue and get their name from their appearance, which resembles a spider’s legs or perhaps a spider’s web. In the United Kingdom, they are referred to as “thread veins,” which may be a more accurate description. Spider veins most commonly develop on the legs; small spider-like veins (telangiectasias) may occur on the face as well.
Increased Risk Factors
The following are increased risk factors for varicose and spider veins:
Age –The chance of developing varicose and spider veins increases as we age, due to the wear and tear on the valves in the veins that are responsible for regulating blood flow. When the valves in the veins don’t work properly, they allow blood to collect in the veins, contributing to the look of varicose or spider veins.
Gender – Women may have a greater risk of developing varicose and spider veins, possibly due to hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during pregnancy.
Obesity – Individuals who are severely overweight have a greater chance of developing the condition, because the added weight puts extra pressure on the veins.
Family history – As with many medical conditions, having a family history of varicose and spider veins increases the chance developing them. If one parent has varicose veins, there is a 49-percent chance of the offspring developing varicose veins. If both parents have varicose veins, there is an 89-percent chance that their child will eventually have them.
Sitting or standing for long durations – Staying in the same position for extended periods of time can hinder blood flow, thereby increasing the risk of developing varicose veins.
Preventing and Treating Varicose and Spider Veins
Again, sometimes getting varicose veins, and especially spider veins, is unavoidable; however, there are certain measures one can take to help delay the onset of the condition, including:
- Exercising to stimulate sound blood circulation; take breaks to walk whenever convenient during the day
- Watching your weight
- Following a diet low in salt; a low-salt diet may help to prevent swelling in some people
- If you wear high-heel shoes, take them off whenever possible and walk; wearing high-heel shoes diminishes the muscular calf pump action, resulting in poorer pumping of the blood out of the leg veins
- Elevating your legs periodically throughout the day to help improve blood circulation; this encourages the effect of gravity to help empty the leg veins
- Avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time; again, get up and move about frequently
There are proven and safe minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. These treatments yield excellent results and a rapid return to usual activities. The painful and complicated “vein strippings” of the past have been replaced by safer, more efficient and more patient-friendly modern techniques, with excellent cosmetic outcomes and symptom relief. In-hospital operations and overnight stays have been replaced with easy, painless, in-office procedures. Most treatments for varicose veins are accomplished in well under two hours at Dallas Vein Specialists, and our patients easily walk out of our office to go home that same day.
At Dallas Vein Specialists, the CLaCS (CryoLaser CryoSclerotherapy) treatment for spider veins has had great acceptance and success in eradicating spider veins. It has replaced traditional sclerotherapy with much better outcomes.
I invite you to learn more about minimally invasive treatments of varicose veins and the CLaCS treatment of spider veins by visiting the Dallas Vein Specialists website.