Varicose Vein Treatment: Are Spider Veins More Than Just Cosmetic?

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A cluster of tangled spider veins, on otherwise unblemished skin, can look at a bit scary. This is why so many people who go to varicose vein treatment centers for evaluation ask questions like:

“Are spider veins dangerous?”

“Are spider veins serious?”

“Will spider veins lead to larger varicose veins?”

“If I don’t get my spider veins treated, will they cause varicose veins?”

Before we continue, it’s important for you to understand that spider veins are varicose veins, just really thin ones, less than one millimeter in diameter. Specifically, spider veins are broken capillaries, the tiniest veins that stem off your larger veins to deliver blood to your organs and tissues. Since capillaries are such small blood vessels, we give them a special name, which can confuse things sometimes. It can also sometimes cause people to downplay the significance of varicose capillaries, i.e. spider veins.

Spider veins are just like other varicose veins in that they usually form from hypertension, i.e. higher than normal blood pressure, due to the irregular back flow of blood into these tiny blood vessels. This in turn is usually due to damaged vein valves. Spider veins can also become varicose by various types of physical injury or by the effects of hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or hormone replacement therapy.

While some people do opt to have varicose vein treatment on their spider veins for purely cosmetic reasons, spider veins are very often an indicator of a much more serious condition that requires varicose vein treatment. The clusters of spider veins you see on your legs, for example, are likely connected to deep veins through incompetent perforator veins. These are damaged veins that connect the superficial veins near the surface of the skin with the deep veins which carry ninety percent of the venous blood back to the heart.

Keep this in mind. The development of spider veins can cause deep veins to become varicose, or worsen pre-existing varicose deep veins. On the other hand, spider veins can also be caused by deep veins that are varicose. Further, this interaction between spider veins and deep veins can continually go back and forth, one affecting the other and vice versa. This is why varicose vein treatment for spider veins is so often coupled with varicose vein treatment on deeper veins. Spider vein treatment by itself can also sometimes improve problems in deep veins.

Spider veins that do not receive varicose vein treatment can lead to much more serious medical conditions. These conditions include deep venous thrombosis, i.e. dangerous blood clots in your deep veins which can break off the wall of the deep vein and travel to your lungs or brain and cause near instant death. Spider veins can also cause blood clots in the superficial veins near the skin, primarily in the saphenous vein system. In addition, spider veins can cause leg ulcers, chronic inflammation, and a worsening of other varicose veins, especially in deep veins.

A special note should be made about chronic inflammation caused by spider veins. Research has shown that this inflammation can lead to or worsen other diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, lupus, Alzheimer’s  disease, and even cancer! Therefore, spider veins never be brushed off as merely cosmetic or “benign” as many websites proclaim them to be.

Keep this in mind too. If you receive varicose vein treatment for spider veins for merely cosmetic reasons, it is unlikely your insurance company will pay for such treatment. However, varicose vein treatment for spider veins is often approved for payment by insurance companies if the treating doctor is able to clearly show the link between spider veins and more serious conditions. This is one reason to pick a well established vein clinic like Metro Vein Centers to document your case.

Spider veins also come with a whole host of debilitating symptoms that can significantly lower one’s quality of life. These include pain, itching, throbbing, burning, and swelling. Spider veins also make one more sensitive to bleeding due to something as simple as a walk on the beach exposing them to UV light, bouncing one’s grandchild on their knee, or swinging a golf club or tennis racquet.

If you decide to research this topic on your own before seeking varicose vein treatment for your spider veins, you should know that the scientific terms for spider veins are telangiectasia and spider hemangioma. This is how “spider veins” are most often referred to in scientific publications. Yes, there is “geek speak” for varicose veins too!

The only way to know for sure if your spider veins are an indicator of something more serious is to get a doppler ultrasound test with a highly trained vein specialist who knows exactly how to conduct and evaluate these tests. You can get a free evaluation at Metro Vein Centers by calling one of their varicose vein treatment centers. The vein doctors and other professionals at Metro Vein Centers are among the most experienced in the nation so you can’t go wrong using their services.

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