The difference between varicose veins and spider veins

Varicose Veins versus Spider Veins

As far as vascular conditions go, varicose veins and spider veins are two of the most frequently experienced. Because they’re so common, sometimes they are often referred to interchangeably. Even though they do represent some of the most common problems with veins, both have aspects that make them unique, and they are often treated and diagnosed in different ways. Let’s take a look at what makes them different.

What is the difference between varicose veins and spider veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels that you can see and feel right beneath the surface of your skin. They appear gnarled and swollen and sometimes have a bluish color. Depending on the severity, varicose veins can be painful in addition to unsightly, causing feelings of discomfort in the legs, where they most often occur. Spider veins are smaller, less swollen blood vessels that appear beneath the skin in various colors, such as red, purple and blue. They look like tree branches or spider webs. Spider veins are more superficial than varicose veins, meaning you cannot feel them when you touch your skin. There is usually less pain associated with spider veins, although patients do report some stinging and discomfort.

Varicose veins and spider veins are almost always mild, nonthreatening conditions, but one of the other key differences between them is varicose veins are more prone to further health complications. While rare, varicose veins can lead to blood clots and increased swelling in the legs, which is painful, as well as damage the skin due to increased vein pressure. There might also be bleeding and ulcers that occur. In these situations, more serious medical attention is required to prevent further complications, like thrombosis. Spider veins do not come with this same level of concern, although it’s normal for people to have them treated and removed for cosmetic reasons.

More about varicose veins

People at risk for varicose veins are those with increased vein pressure caused by age, pregnancy, family history and obesity. They can also pop up in people who stand or sit for long periods of time, restricting healthy blood flow. There is no real way to prevent varicose veins, especially because they are genetic and part of aging, but there are a few things you can try, like getting regular exercise; if your job requires you to sit or stand for long periods, take the occasional opportunity to move around – it helps with blood flow. As for treatment, it depends on the severity of the condition and in the context of their other medical conditions.

More about spider veins

Like varicose veins, there’s not much you can do to prevent spider veins, but it’s always a good idea to exercise and stay active to promote healthy blood flow. In fact, a consistent routine can have a positive health impact on every part of your body, not just the veins in your legs. Treatment for spider veins is considered a cosmetic procedure, and there are multiple minimally invasive treatments you can get to improve the appearance of your legs, like sclerotherapy.

If you have varicose veins or spider veins that you would like treated and removed, please call Carolina Vein Specialists at 336-537-5560. We offer a variety of treatment methods that can restore the beauty of your legs and give you renewed confidence.