Spider veins are mostly a cosmetic problem for those affected. Today there are good treatment options. With appropriate preventive measures, spider veins will soon be a thing of the past.
What are spider veins?
Visible veins often run right under the skin. Usually there are finely branched veins, which have the shape of sticks. That is why these veins are called spider veins.
According to foodezine.com, spider veins appear as light red vascular trees, dark blue veins or reddish spots. Mostly women are affected. The spider veins mostly appear on the thighs, the ankles and the inside of the lower legs. They arise from weak and porous vessel walls. If the vessel walls are in this pathological state, the enlarged vessels become visible to the eye.
The blood molecules move between the tissue cells due to the permeability. Blood vessels are thus formed in a net-like form. These blood vessels are known as spider veins. In the form described above, the spider veins appear on the corresponding skin areas.
There are many causes for spider veins to appear. Women are mostly affected because they often have an innate predisposition for weak connective tissue. Often times, spider veins also appear after drastic weight loss.
Spider veins are also caused by a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Nicotine and alcohol can play a role because both pleasure poisons dilate the blood vessels. Spider veins are also caused by high heel shoes, as these block the calf muscles. Hot full baths and saunas are just as responsible for spider veins as long car journeys or air travel.
Spider veins can also appear during pregnancy. The reason for this is a pregnancy-related hormone change. This causes a widening of the vessels with a parallel loosening of the tissue. Spider veins are also caused by being bedridden.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
With quick and professional cosmetic treatment, some of the spider veins can heal again and disappear, but the risk of repetition is very high. In most cases, however, the spider veins remain visible as characteristic features.
The complaints that arise are of a purely psychological nature. Pain is not associated with spider tears, and no secondary diseases or the like are known. However, many sufferers suffer from the characteristics that are subjectively perceived as unsightly. Spider veins are also often associated with age, although young people can just as easily be affected by them. Therefore, especially in the middle of life and in old age, too much attention is paid to them and their emergence is questioned and received too critically.
The first signs of spider tears, which can be better counteracted in the early stages, are slight wrinkles and dry skin around the eyes. The skin appears wrinkled and saggy, especially if you have been dehydrated or have not consumed enough fluids. Excessive alcohol consumption can also contribute to the formation of spider veins.
Diagnosis & course
Spider veins are usually easy to diagnose. This is due to their typical appearance. It is best to have yourself examined by a venologist (with the addition of “phlebology”).
Nevertheless, general practitioners can also carry out an examination. It is important to inform the doctor about hereditary connective tissue weaknesses. Mostly there is a genetic predisposition. The attending physician must be able to rule out other venous diseases. An ultrasound examination is often carried out. Here it is determined to what extent the veins have expanded.
The doctor also receives information about the blood flow. If this is limited, there may be other diseases. Spider veins can be the precursor to deep vein thrombosis. This can be life-threatening for the person concerned. Spider veins are generally harmless.
However, the women affected often suffer emotionally because their physical aesthetics are affected. Once diagnosed, the doctor can treat the spider veins using a variety of methods.
Spider veins develop for various reasons, which can lead to various complications. For example, this can result from increased blood pressure (hypertension). Longstanding, untreated high blood pressure can be associated with damage to the blood vessels. Damage to the vessels in the brain can cause a stroke, and in the heart it can lead to a heart attack.
The high blood pressure also makes the heart work harder, so that it can become weaker as a result (heart failure). The kidneys can also fail (renal insufficiency) if the high blood pressure is chronic. Vascular damage in the eye leads to a weakening of the eyesight, which can lead to blindness.
As a sub-form of varicose veins, spider veins can weaken the veins. Tissues could become oxygen starved and weakened or died. This can also lead to an eczema-like change in the skin, known as congestive dermatitis. In addition, indurations can occur in the skin.
In addition, whitish scarring can occur in the skin (atrophy blanche). Ulcerations are more common in the ankle area. The vessels can also become inflamed more easily (phlebitis) and the development of thromboses is promoted. In the worst case, these can become detached from the leg veins and cause a dangerous pulmonary embolism.
When should you go to the doctor?
As long as spider veins do not interfere visually and do not cause any discomfort, a visit to the doctor is not necessary, because these are superficial changes in the blood vessels that do not require treatment. When those affected see a doctor, it usually happens because they perceive the enlarged veins as an aesthetic problem.
However, spider veins can also be a precursor to varicose veins and indicate general venous weakness. If there is a familial predisposition to weak connective tissue or varicose veins, it is advisable to have the spider veins examined by a doctor, preferably a vascular specialist. Because as a preliminary stage to a leg vein thrombosis, they are anything but harmless and can even be life-threatening if a blood clot gets into the bloodstream and causes a pulmonary embolism. If you feel congested and your legs are heavy, it is better to see a doctor.
People with spider veins and a family predisposition to varicose veins should therefore ensure that their veins are strengthened through exercise, because congestion weaken the veins and favor varicose veins.
Treatment & Therapy
The spider veins are often removed by sclerotherapy. This measure is carried out on an outpatient basis in about 30 minutes. It is also considered safe and effective.
Local anesthesia is applied first. The affected veins are severed and injected into them. This is pure alcohol. This causes the deliberate inflammation of the vein walls. This causes the leaky and porous walls to stick together. The spider veins have thus been deserted. The leaked blood is absorbed and the spider veins recede.
Patients then have to wear compression stockings for a few days. This is to prevent thrombosis. Slightly pronounced spider veins are removed by laser treatment. A long-wave laser is used here because it penetrates deep into the tissue. The leaky veins stick together due to the absorption of the enlarged veins.
The upper layers of the skin are also not injured. There is no scarring whatsoever. As alternative methods, tinctures, herbs or Schüssler salts are also used. Sometimes leech therapy is done. The spider veins are also treated with creams and ointments. They should contain vitamin K 1, as this will promote blood circulation.
Outlook & forecast
The spider veins have a progressive disease course and increase in the course of life. The feeling of heavy and tired legs increases slowly and continuously. This is part of the normal aging process and is considered normal.
The connective tissue slowly and gradually loses its elasticity. This triggers the increase in the formation of varicose veins. The intensity of the increase can be influenced and thereby changed. By practicing various sports such as swimming or cycling, the probability of the appearance of spider veins is reduced. The connective tissue is strengthened during these sporting activities, which brings about a relief of the symptoms.
Various methods of stimulating blood circulation can also be used to influence the course of the disease. Daily alternating showers, targeted massages or wearing compression stockings help with prevention. In addition, spider veins can be removed through medical intervention. In a process of obliteration, the vascular walls of the spider veins stick together.
In the subsequent healing process, the symptoms regress. However, the varicose veins cannot be permanently removed. Over time, most patients develop new spider veins in the same areas. With a healthy diet, the use of ointments or cosmetic products, the process can be slowed down. However, there is no permanent cure.
You should drink a lot as a preventive measure against spider veins and eat a balanced diet. A lot of exercise and cold-warm alternating showers are beneficial to stimulate blood circulation. Occasional wearing of compression stockings is recommended. Clothing that is too tight should not be worn.
Spider veins are mostly just a cosmetic problem. But in some people the spider veins are so extensive and bothersome that those affected want to have them surgically removed. In this case, medical follow-up care is necessary.
The outpatient removal of the unsightly spider veins is possible with local anesthesia. The wounds are masked with compression swabs after the operation. The uninterrupted wearing of compression stockings for a period of at least one week after the operation ensures that thrombosis is prevented.
The blood flow in the operated leg should be stimulated postoperatively. There should be no congestion or bruises in the operating area. After that, the compression stockings can only be put on during the day. The compression stockings should remain on during the day for another four or six weeks.
Spider veins can be surgically removed several times. In this case, the compression stockings can be taken off after a week of uninterrupted wear. The information given by the treating doctor should include that the patient should not exercise for a week. In addition, you should not expose the operated legs to sunlight for a month.
Aftercare for bruises should not be carried out by those affected with heparin ointment. This could affect the healing process. The doctor treating you should decide what to do if you have a bruise despite the compression.
You can do that yourself
There are various simple ways to prevent spider veins from developing into varicose veins. The main thing is to prevent blood from building up in the legs. A lot of exercise helps. Simply stretching and pulling your toes, raising and lowering your heels, or circling your feet will help keep blood circulating in your legs.
Such small exercises can easily be incorporated into everyday life. In general, standing is better than sitting and walking is better than driving a car. Anything that keeps your legs moving will help prevent blood congestion, making it one of the most effective treatments for spider veins. Active sports such as cycling or jogging are also suitable measures.
At night the legs should be slightly elevated and in the morning a cold shower over the legs will help get the blood moving in the veins. Compression stockings can be used for longer periods of stress on the legs. All these measures only serve to prevent blood congestion in the veins and thus further deterioration, but cannot prevent spider veins from developing at all.