Vein Diseases: Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

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Painful Varicose VeinsWhile varicose veins and spider veins share similar causes, the two are different. To start, spider veins pose less health complications than varicose veins. If untreated, varicose veins can lead to serious problems like blood clots and ulcers. Here are a few ways to differentiate the two:

Spider veins:

  • Most common on legs, thighs, feet and face
  • Thinner than varicose veins
  • Appear in intricate designs like sunbursts or webs
  • Lighter in color (reds and blues) than varicose veins
  • Flat on the skin or only slightly elevated
  • Do not usually pose serious health complications

Varicose veins:

  • Most common on legs and thighs
  • Thick, bulgy zig-zags
  • Elevated from the skin
  • Darker in color (dark blues and purples) than spider veins
  • Usually more painful than spider veins
  • More often tied to serious health complications

Causes of vein diseases

Varicose veins occur when blood flow reverses from the thigh, sending blood down the leg rather than up toward the heart. This is called “venous insufficiency,” which results from a deformed valve failing to send blood in the right direction. Venous insufficiency can also cause spider veins, though it is most commonly associated with varicose veins.

Many risk factors for varicose veins and spider veins overlap. For instance, women are more likely to acquire them than men. Here are some other causes the two vein diseases have in common:

  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormones
  • Age
  • Occupation

Treatment for vein diseases

Luckily, both varicose veins and spider veins are treatable. Here are some common treatments to remedy these vein diseases:

  • Sclerotherapy: a medical procedure for spider veins and varicose veins during which a doctor injects saline solution directly into the diseased vein. This method shrinks the vein, bringing it back to normal size.
  • Laser treatment: a non-invasive procedure  during which a professional applies light to the spider vein, thus minimizing its appearance
  • Endovenous ablation: a slightly invasive procedure in which a medical professional inserts a catheter into the varicose vein. The catheter then threads a laser fiber into the vein, which seals it and re-routes blood flow.
  • Microphlebectomy: the removal of varicose veins through tiny 2-3mm incisions, which allows the rest of the vein to “clot off.”
  • Venefit procedure: a form of ablation therapy using radiofrequency energy to close off varicose veins and redirect blood flow.

Do you suffer from varicose veins or spider veins?

Vein diseases are uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. If you suffer from varicose veins or spider veins, contact West Florida Vein Center here or at 727-712-3233 to schedule a consultation.

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Tampa Vein Specialists

No one needs to suffer from untreated varicose vein disease anymore. In addition, with today's favorable insurance coverage, the procedures are even more accessible. If you have a vein problem, you need Dr. Zuzga and West Florida Vein Center!


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