You’ve noticed bluish or purple veins just beneath your skin, spreading out with an appearance that resembles the pattern of a spider web. These are spider veins, also called telangiectasias, and they may itch or burn, but generally do not cause pain. Many people are not aware of how these unsightly veins develop or how to prevent them.
Spider veins usually form on the legs and pelvic area, but may also occur on the face, neck and chest. Often accompanying varicose veins, these thin reddish broken capillaries occur more often in women than men. Some studies show that 30 to 50% of the adult population is affected by spider veins. While there are generally no symptoms caused by spider veins which are detrimental to your health, many women feel that spider veins are unsightly, and may seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.
Causes of Spider Veins
While the exact cause of spider veins is not known, there are several aspects that contribute to the development of spider veins. A family history of spider veins plays a role. If your grandma and mother had them, you’re more likely to get them, also. The incidence of spider veins also increases with age, prolonged periods of standing, and sitting with crossed legs. Nurses, factory workers, and cashiers, as well as desk-bound workers are prone to spider veins. Sometimes spider veins develop during hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause.
Spider Vein Prevention and Treatment
While spider veins may be hereditary, there are ways to minimize the development of this condition with lifestyle changes. Compression therapy is an effective option with great results. Simply wearing graduated support hosiery can help. FootSmart® offers a vast selection, depending on your preference and lifestyle, from knee-high to full hosiery options. Other prevention methods for spider veins include maintaining a healthy weight, limiting standing time, and elevating your legs while sleeping and sitting. Regular exercise, especially walking, aids in the prevention of spider veins.
Treatment options are generally minimal, as spider veins do not usually cause pain or other medical complications. The treatments are generally cosmetic. The use of therapy creams helps to diminish the discoloration of the spider veins with use over time. Minimally invasive medical procedures also are an option if spider veins are more severe, are accompanied by varicose veins or if they are causing discomfort or pain. Consult with your doctor but know that spider veins are generally harmless from a medical standpoint. By looking at the conditions factored into the cause of these small bluish veins, you may be able to effectively prevent and treat spider veins.