Varicose vs Spider Veins: The Differences Explained

varicose veins in women

Studies show that more women will suffer from spider veins at some point in their lives, with women twice as likely to get them as men.

What happens when those spider veins run up your legs and feet? When varicose veins start to appear, there can be some confusion around the different symptoms and any possible differences in treatment.

We’re here to clear up those queries and teach you all there is to know about the differences between varicose vs spider veins.

Keep reading to learn all about the symptoms and possible treatment options for both.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins, usually in the legs and feet. They are caused when valves inside the veins that should keep blood flowing toward the heart become weak and don’t do their job.

As a result, blood flows backward and accumulates in the veins. This causes them to expand and become varicose. The enlarged veins can be seen through the skin, often appearing bluish-purple or flesh-coloured.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are types of veins that appear close to the surface of the skin. Typically, they appear in areas such as the legs, face, and chest.

They can appear in a web-like pattern and be small and red, blue, or purple in colour. They are a fairly common issue, most often found in individuals over the age of thirty. Spider veins can be associated with permanently damaged valves within the vein wall due to the wear and tear of everyday activities. 

Symptoms and Signs of Each

Varicose veins are raised and swollen blue or purplish-blue veins that appear on the surface of the skin and can cause pain, discomfort, and swelling.

Symptoms of varicose veins can include aching, burning, throbbing, heaviness, and itching. Varicose veins can lead to brownish-red skin discolouration and sores.

Spider veins are a very common, mild form of varicose veins. They appear as thin, web-like veins on the surface of the skin, usually in the legs. Signs of spider veins include red, blue, and purple discolouration of the skin.

Treatment Options for Varicose and Spider Veins

Treatment options for varicose and spider veins depend on the underlying cause of the problem. The most common treatment is sclerotherapy at NYBG Veins, which involves injecting a solution into the weakened veins. This solution blocks blood flow in the veins, which causes them to collapse.

Other treatments may involve the use of lasers, ultrasound energy, and thermal energy. More invasive treatments may cause minor discomfort, but most of them have minimal side effects. 

How to Prevent Varicose and Spider Veins

Preventing varicose and spider veins requires a lifestyle change, such as regular exercise and eliminating high heels and tight clothing, since these can put unnecessary pressure on the veins.

It’s also important to consume a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of vitamin C, Bioflavonoids, Zinc, and flavonoids, as these act as antioxidants that can support blood vessels. Elevating the legs when resting and maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce symptoms.

Know the Difference Between Varicose vs Spider Veins

Varicose vs spider veins are two common conditions and are sometimes mistaken for one another. It’s important to realize that although they share some symptoms, there are different risk factors, treatments, and causes for these issues. If you suspect you have a vein condition, make an appointment with a doctor to discuss your treatment options.

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