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Thread: Varicose Veins and Spider Veins: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and ...

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    Varicose Veins and Spider Veins: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and ...

    Varicose veins

    Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. The word "varicose" comes from the Latin root "varix," which means "twisted." Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That's because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins in your lower body.

    For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild and medically insignificant variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes the condition leads to more serious problems. Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other disorders of the circulatory system.

    Varicose veins are a common condition in the United States, affecting up to 15 percent of men and up to 25 percent of women. Treatment may involve self-help measures or procedures by your doctor to close or remove veins.
    Spider veins

    Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller. They are often red or blue and are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short jagged lines. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face. They can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.

    Small "spider veins" also can appear on the skin's surface. These may look like short, fine lines, "starburst" clusters, or a web-like maze. They are typically not palpable. Spider veins are most common in the thighs, ankles, and feet. They may also appear on the face. The medical term for them spider veins is telangiectasias.

    Are varicose veins and spider veins painful or dangerous?

    Spider veins usually do not need medical treatment. But varicose veins usually enlarge and worsen over time. Severe varicose veins can cause health problems. These include:

    • • Severe venous insufficiency. This severe pooling of blood in the veins slows the return of blood to the heart. This condition can cause blood clots and severe infections. Blood clots can be very dangerous because they can move from leg veins and travel to the lungs. Blood clots in the lungs are life-threatening because they can block the heart and lungs from functioning.
    • • Sores or skin ulcers can occur on skin tissue around varicose veins.
    • • Ongoing irritation, swelling and painful rashes of the legs.


    Some people with varicose veins don't experience any discomfort from the condition. When painful signs and symptoms do occur, they may include:

    • •An achy or heavy feeling in your legs, and burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs. Prolonged sitting or standing tends to make your legs feel worse.
    • •Itching around one or more of your veins.
    • •Skin ulcers near your ankle, which represent a severe form of vascular disease and require immediate attention.
    Varicose veins are dark purple or blue in color and may appear twisted and bulging — like cords. They commonly appear on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg. However, they can form anywhere on your legs, from your groin to your ankle.

    Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they're smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin's surface and are often red or blue. They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider's web or a tree branch.


    Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity. Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, while toned, elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny one-way valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

    As you get older your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward. Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated.

    Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, but decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in your legs. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when your uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in your legs. Hemorrhoids are varicose veins located in and around the anus.


    Varicose Veins and Spider Veins At A Glance

    • Veins carry blood low in oxygen content from the body to the lungs and heart.

    • Varicose veins can lead to aching or even ulceration of the legs.

    • Varicose veins can be caused be weakened valves in the veins or weakened walls of the veins, or by inflammation in the veins (phlebitis).

    • Treatment is not always necessary.

    • Treatments available for venous disease include surgery and sclerotherapy.


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    Sep 2011
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    Varicose veins and spider veins in the case, at first glance they look ugly, your legs, but the skin or cosmetic problem. However, if completely ignored, these problems may cause discolorations, swelling and thickening of the skin, your legs; or worse, these venous disorders, can lead to leg ulcers.

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