Varicose and Spider Veins Don't Need to Be a Visual Blight
Two common vein disorders that occur in both men and women are varicose and spider veins. Women have thinner skin than men, so they tend to get them the most often though, especially if they are pregnant or obese. Younger people have stronger veins that are rarely affected by them. For the most part, while they are unsightly, they don't cause a person to have any major health issues. But, occasionally, they can become painful and swollen because of a more serious underlying health issue. So it is important to understand what causes them, what the differences between both the vein disorders are, and how they can be treated.
What Causes Varicose and Spider Veins?
Varicose and spider veins are both mainly caused by faulty valves that allow the blood to flow in both directions. Healthy veins have valves that shut all the way, which prevents a person's blood from flowing backwards. If the bad valves get stuck in an open position, blood will start to pool in the veins, and this makes them swollen, painful, and twisted in their appearance. Blood clots that prevent blood from flowing through the veins properly can also contribute to either of the conditions. Serious injuries to the limbs can cause the problem too, and so can some cardiovascular diseases.
The Difference Between Varicose and Spider Veins
Both varicose and spider veins occur most often on the surface of the legs. But some people get spider veins on their face, arms, and abdomen though. The main difference between varicose and spider veins is their size. Large veins that are visible on the surface of the skin are called varicose veins. And smaller veins that are damaged are called spider veins. Interestingly enough, spider veins get their name because of their spider-like appearance. Some of the symptoms that a person will have with varicose and spider veins can vary too though. For example, since varicose veins are larger, more blood flows through them. If the blood stops flowing through them properly, a person will experience a sensation of heaviness in the affected limb. Spider veins don't carry as much blood, so they are usually less bothersome.
Treating Varicose and Spider Veins
Most varicose and spider veins don't require any special treatment unless there is a blood clot present or they start to become painful, swollen, and red. But because of their effects on a person's appearance, many people choose to seek medical help to diminish their visibility. There are several options for this. The first one is the injection of a special salt or detergent solution into the varicose and spider veins. This causes them to die off and become absorbed by the body. Compression stockings are also helpful, but they have to be worn daily, and putting them on and taking them off isn't easy because of their strong elasticity. So many people choose to simply have the affected veins removed with common surgical procedures, such as an ambulatory phlebectomy or a ligation and stripping process. Having an ambulatory phlebectomy is less invasive since it only requires tiny incisions to be made. So a ligation and stripping process is reserved mainly for larger veins.
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