Varicose veins and Spider veins combined affect about 80% of men and 85% of women in the United States, which means these vascular conditions are prevalent. While spider veins and varicose veins are often lumped together, there are critical differences between the two and many similarities.
To help you better understand the differences between varicose veins and spider veins, Dr. Kishore Arcot and the rest of our team here at Memphis Vein Center pulled together the following rules of thumb to these vascular issues.
Spider veins at a glance
As their name implies, spider veins are small, spindly veins that you can see across the surface of your skin, usually in your legs or on your face. These veins are also referred to as reticular veins or spider telangiectasias, and they generally don’t pose any serious medical threat. Spider veins are not covered by insurance.
When spider veins form on your face, it’s generally due to exposure, which draws the veins toward the surface of your skin, causing them to burst. This may sound serious, but the blood vessels in question are quite small, and your blood quickly reroutes itself through healthier vessels.
Varicose veins at a glance
Varicose veins are far more apparent as they can bulge, creating a lumpy appearance across the surface of your skin. In most cases, varicose veins form in your legs. Women are twice as likely to develop this vascular issue as men. To put some numbers to the problem, varicose veins affect 22 million women and 11 million men between 40 and 80 years in the US.
In many cases, even these more prominent veins aren’t medically severe and pose no real threat. Of the 33 million men and women with varicose veins, 2 million have complications, including pain, cramps, swelling, itching and in severe cases venous ulceration.
Behind problematic leg veins
The cause of varicose veins in the legs is: venous insufficiency. The veins in your legs are equipped with tiny valves that keep your blood from flowing backward. These valves work harder than others in your body as they have to fight both gravity and distance to get the blood back to your heart.
If these valves weaken, blood can begin to pool, which engorges your veins and pushes them toward the surface of your skin, creating varicose veins.
Treating varicose veins
The good news is that we offer several treatments for ridding your legs of varicose veins, including:
- Laser ablation
At Memphis Vein Center we use sclerotherapy to treat spider veins.
To determine which treatment is suitable for your varicose veins or spider veins, contact our team at Memphis Vein Center to book a consultation with Dr. Arcot.