What are spider veins?

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Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, which occur when veins stop functioning properly and produce pressure, swelling and pain. However, spider veins are much smaller and closer to the surface of the skin. They are usually red or blue/purple in color and resemble a spiderweb pattern. These veins can cause discomfort but, unlike varicose veins, usually do not become a serious medical condition.
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Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Spider veins, technically known as telangiectasia, are capillaries and small veins that become visible through the skin of the legs and thighs.

Spider veins are most likely to appear during pregnancy and are present in most women by age 30. They are caused by the weight of blood that dilates the capillary walls. As the skin thins with advancing age, the veins become more visible.
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Spider veins are those red, purple, or blue lines that can be seen through the skin, often found on your legs. They are actually dilated blood vessels that have been turned or twisted, and thus can be seen through the skin.
Susan Evans
Dermatology
Spider veins refer to those red, purple or blue lines that can be seen through the skin. These are actually dilated blood vessels that are turned or twisted. Some appear as short fine lines, others in clusters, and others in the spider web shape.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, only they are much smaller. They are red, blue or purple in color, and they appear as branch like or web like clusters on the skin.

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.
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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.