Varicose veins and spider veins appear most commonly between the ages of 30 and 70. The first physical symptom is usually their appearance. As the disease progresses, the legs begin to feel heavy, tired and achy, and these symptoms worsen with prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Muscle cramping may be accompanied by a burning and throbbing feeling in the lower legs. Varicose veins can also cause a change in skin color (known as stasis pigmentation), dry and thinning skin, inflammation of the skin, open sores and bleeding.
Unavoidable underlying causes of chronic venous insufficiency that can lead to varicose veins and spider veins include an inherited genetic predisposition and the normal aging process. Any condition that puts more pressure on leg veins – including standing for long periods of time, being overweight, or pregnancy – can also cause varicose veins or spider veins. Women are at greater risk than men due to hormonal changes that relax vein walls during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy may also increase the risk, as do a history of blood clots and conditions that increase pressure in the abdomen, such as tumors, tight garments like girdles.
As bad as they may look and feel due to lack of knowledge, varicose veins and spider veins are often considered cosmetic and not a serious medical problem. However, varicose veins may indicate a critical blockage in deeper veins, a condition called deep vein thrombosis, that can be life-threatening. Consequently, proper medical evaluation and treatment of varicose veins is important. Because chronic venous insufficiency is a progressive disease, symptoms will worsen if left untreated.
The evaluation includes a visual and physical examination of the legs and feet by the doctor, who checks for inflammation, areas that are tender to the touch, changes in skin color, ulcerations and other signs of skin breakdown.
In most cases an ultrasound test is ordered to determine if the valves in the veins are functioning properly and to check for evidence of a blood clot.
If symptoms persist and treatment is required, additional tests are performed to determine the best approach for curative treatment. For decades the only option was the in-hospital surgical ligation and stripping of the veins under general anesthesia.
Today’s alternatives include less invasive procedures like endovenous laser treatments, mini phlebectomy, and sclerotherapy. Varicose veins that have been treated with laser therapy are very unlikely to become varicose again. However, it’s important to note that new veins are still susceptible to developing varicosities.
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted rope-like veins that appear near the surface of the skin. While they can develop anywhere in the body, they are most commonly found in the legs and ankles because standing and walking increase pressure in the lower extremities.
In normally functioning veins, tiny one-way valves open as blood flows toward the heart and close to prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves malfunction, blood pools in the veins, resulting in a buildup of pressure that weakens their walls and causes them to bulge. Over time, the increased pressure can cause additional valves to fail. This venous reflux, or venous insufficiency, leads to the development of varicose veins and spider veins.
Varicose Vein Treatment
Bulging, unsightly and painful, varicose veins are eliminated via endovenous laser ablation (EVLT).
Our TV1470 & Venacure 1470 has been proven highly effective for the treatment of venous reflux disease with a reported 95–97% success rate at a 12 month follow-up.
Procedures are covered by Medicare and most insurances!
Spider veins (telangiectasias) are similar to varicose veins, but smaller and found closer to the skin's surface.
They take their name from their appearance, which resembles a spider’s web. Usually red or blue in color, they vary in size and can be found in other areas of the body besides the legs, including the face.
Spider Vein Treatment
There are a number of treatment methods used to treat spider veins. One method employs a laser that applies energy to the surface of the skin using a special hand piece.
Another treatment is sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution into the vein. Many times, a combination of both treatments can be used for optimal results.