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Are Spider Veins Dangerous or Just Unsightly?
Fortunately, spider veins are more of a cosmetic concern than a serious health problem. They rarely, if ever, cause complications that require medical treatment. Other than being unsightly, spider veins may be uncomfortable, especially for individuals that spend a significant amount of time on their feet.
Spider veins are a common, albeit unsightly medical condition that causes a "spider web" like appearance of veins on the body. They typically present on the backs of the knee or on other areas of the leg. While spider veins can be annoying, the good news is they rarely cause harm and may be treatable.
Like varicose veins, spider veins are dilated blood vessels in the legs. However, spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins and resemble a "web" of blue or red on the skin, hence their name. They are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins, and are extremely common. Studies show up to 84% of individuals may have spider veins and while the condition can appear in anyone, there are also indications that family history may also increase the risk of developing spider veins. Aside from appearance, symptoms of spider veins may include a heavy feeling or tiredness in the legs, or swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet.
There are a variety of treatments available to decrease the appearance of spider veins, including things that can be done at home as well as treatments that must be administered by a medical professional.
There are generally two different treatments for spider veins, both of which are relatively painless.
Laser Therapy: Laser therapy is commonly used for small, red spider veins. A laser is used to heat the veins, effectively destroying them and causing them to be absorbed by the body and disappear over time.
Sclerotherapy: This technique is used more frequently for larger spider veins. The vein is closed off and blood flow is stopped to the vein by injecting a safe solution into the vein. The veins then begin to fade into a pale scar, and this treatment is generally considered very effective.
If you are suffering from spider veins that have become uncomfortable, or their appearance is a nuisance for you, treatment may be a great option. Discuss both home remedies and medical therapies for spider veins with your dermatologist and together, you and your doctor can customize the best treatment plan for you.
"Spider Veins." University of Nebraska Medical Center. College of Medicine, Department of Surgery. Web.
Suszynski, Marie. "What Causes Spider Veins?" Everyday Health. Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH. Web.
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