Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Large twisted blue or purplish veins visible at the skins surface are known as varicose veins. Any vein in your body can become varicose but it usually occurs in the legs and feet due to the pressure the lower body endures to keep your body upright. It is caused by the weakening of the valves and veins in your legs. Varicose veins are usually hereditary. We are also more prone to get varicose veins as we age. Symptoms include itching, burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs and around the veins. Self-care measures such as exercising, elevating your legs, and wearing compression stockings are used to ease the pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. If these measures dont work, see your doctor to discuss medical treatments that are available to close or remove varicose veins.

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  • 5 Answers
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    The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body. Arteries carry blood from the heart towards the body parts. Veins carry oxygen-poor blood from the body back to the heart.

    The squeezing of leg muscles pumps blood back to the heart from the lower body. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. These valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the one-way valves become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there. This problem is called venous insufficiency. Pooled blood enlarges the vein and it becomes varicose. Spider veins can also be caused by the backup of blood. Hormone changes, inherited factors, and exposure to the sun can also cause spider veins.

    This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.
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    Limited research shows that homeopathy may reduce symptoms of varicose veins. More research is needed.

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    ALuis Navarro, MD, Surgery, answered
    What is cryo-sclerotherapy?

    The conventional treatment for varicose veins is effective but uncomfortable. In this video, vein specialist Luis Navarro, MD, describes cryo-sclerotherapy and explains why it is an improvement.


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    A minimally invasive procedure to treat varicose veins, endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) is an alternative to both traditional surgery and other treatments that require minimal access to the vein. EVLT uses heat from a laser beam to destroy the varicose vein wall and close the unhealthy vein. The physician uses an ultrasound to locate the vein and then guides a thin laser fiber through a tiny entry point, usually near the knee. Advantages include shorter recovery times compared to traditional vein surgeries, minimal scarring and a rapid return to normal activities. The procedure takes less than an hour to perform, and most patients experience immediate relief from their symptoms. Anesthesia is used.

    The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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    Treatments for abnormal veins include endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), sclerotherapy and micro-incisional phlebectomy. These treatments range from minimally invasive options to surgical procedures involving anesthesia.

    The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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    About 15% of U.S. adults have abnormal veins, such as varicose or spider veins. Heredity, age, standing occupations and weight gain, including that from pregnancy, are among risk factors associated with developing vein problems. Obesity, physical trauma to the legs and hormone therapy can further aggravate your veins.

    The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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    AArthur Perry, MD, Plastic Surgery, answered
    The results of the treatment of spider veins are not known for about a month after the sclerotherapy procedure. Some capillaries are successfully treated but contain blood that takes a month to be absorbed by the body. Others are successfully treated, but will be repaired by the body. In this case, "repair" is counterproductive: The body doesn't know the goal is to destroy the capillary. Its job is to fix it.

    At the end of the month, we assess the results. A typical treatment destroys between half and two-thirds of the capillaries. Depending on the patient's wishes, sometimes a second or even a third treatment is performed.

    Remember, spider veins are an ongoing process. The trouble started when women got up on their hind legs and stood. Higher pressure was placed on the leg veins and was increased by pregnancy and obesity. The treatment of spider veins is like weeding a garden. Every few years, we need to go back and clean up the new capillaries.
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    AArthur Perry, MD, Plastic Surgery, answered
    Lasers can be used to destroy spider veins. Honest surgeons will tell you that the lasers are a less efficient technique than sclerotherapy (a method of treating spider veins by injecting chemicals directly into the capillaries). Only small numbers of capillaries can be treated in each session. And the technique hurts. Lasers are more useful for the capillary "blush" that sometimes remains after the larger capillaries are destroyed with sclerotherapy.

    In the face, lasers are the treatment of choice for visible capillaries. The difference is the pressure of the blood. It is much lower in capillaries above the level of the heart. Also, these capillaries are closer to the skin and have a smaller diameter.
  • 2 Answers
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    ALuis Navarro, MD, Surgery, answered
    How have minimally invasive procedures changed varicose vein treatment?

    Treatment for varicose veins has traditionally required surgery and a hospital stay. In this video, vein specialist Luis Navarro, MD, explains how different things are with minimally invasive treatments.


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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
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    Varicose veins don't just occur on the legs -- they can pop up anywhere, even on a woman's most private areas. Watch this video to learn some of Dr. Oz's easy-to-follow tips and tricks for reducing or eliminating unsightly varicose veins, wherever they happen to be.