Are varicose veins and spider veins painful or dangerous?

Gabriel P. Lasala, MD
Interventional Cardiology
They can be achy or painful, or cause a burning sensation. Because they are symptoms of an underlying disease process, they are potentially dangerous and you should see a cardiologist for monitoring or treatment.
Spider veins usually do not need medical treatment. But varicose veins usually enlarge and worsen over time. This pooling of blood in the veins slows the return of blood to the heart. This can lead to chronic venous insufficiency, which can cause leg swelling, ulcers, and pain. Venous insufficiency can in unusual cases also cause blood clots and severe infections. Blood clots can be very dangerous because they can move from leg veins and travel to the lungs. Blood clots in the lungs are life-threatening because they can block the heart and lungs from functioning. Sores or skin ulcers can occur on skin tissue around varicose veins. Ongoing irritation, swelling and painful rashes of the legs can also occur.

This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.

Continue Learning about 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.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.