What Are Spider And Varicose Veins?
Spider veins and varicose veins are abnormal veins that occur in millions of adults and affect the legs' appearance and function. The cause is mostly hereditary but contributing factors are pregnancy and hormonal changes. Varicose veins can be a health hazard and many workdays are lost due to their complications.
The function of arteries is to bring blood from the heart to the extremities. Veins channel blood back to the heart. Veins have one-way valves that allow the blood to return efficiently to the heart and prevent backwards flow or reflux. If these one-way valves don’t run properly the normal forward flow of blood is hampered and blood tends to reflux backwards. This increased pressure on the vein wall causing them to become congested and enlarged which further impairs the ability of the valve to close properly and a vicious circle begins causing enlarged, visible, and ineffective veins.
Spider veins, or telangectasias, are small, red, blue, or purple veins seen on the surface of the skin.
What are the Causes?
Spider Veins are formed by the dilation of small blood vessels in the skin. Although spider veins can occur anywhere on the body, they are most often found on the lower limbs and present as red or purple net patterns. Spider veins are not a health risk and most patients seek treatment for reasons of appearance.
Varicose veins are large blue blood vessels that result from dilation of the vein wall or leakage of valves within the veins. The varices are in the fatty layer deep to the skin and can result in ankle swelling. Also varicose veins may produce aching pain or a feeling of heaviness in the legs.
Treatment of Spider Veins and Recticular Veins
Treatment of leg veins is by laser therapy or Intense Pulsed Light. This technology aids in the clearance of superficial, deep telangiecteias and reticular veins in legs.
These veins respond to the precise energy level and wave length of light that is used. A small spot of laser light travels through the skin and is absorbed by the blood within the vein, on the basis of its color. The resulting heat coagulates or clots the blood and destroys the function of the veins. This process does not effect any of the surrounding tissue. Over time the vein will be absorbed by the body and will disappear from slight.
How many treatments are needed?
Many leg veins may require multiple treatments, often over a few months before the effect is complete. Even small vessels often require time to resolve. Sometimes a bit of “matting” or “staining” surrounds the treated vessel.
What is treatment like? Is it painful?
A pulse of laser or Intense Pulsed Light energy may feel like a pinch similar to a snapped rubber band or a stinging sensation. Chilled gel on the skin and other techniques prevent discomfort. The first treatment is often the most uncomfortable as most vessels are being destroyed during this session.
What must I do Pre Treatment?
- No tanning 4 weeks prior to treatment. Tanning can interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment.
- The area being treated should be clipped or shaved 1 day prior to treatment. Any dark hair on the skin surface will absorb the laser light and possibly cause a minor burn.
- Some patients may want to take a Tylenol or Advil two hours before the treatment to help minimize any discomfort.
- If treating the face do not wear any make up.
Facial veins - before treatments
Facial veins - after treatments
Leg veins - before treatments
Leg veins - after treatments
Spider and varicose veins - before treatments
Spider and varicose veins - after treatments
What happens after treatment?
- Following your treatment, some redness or bruising may occur.
- Clients will need to wear compression stocking for 4 – 7 days post treatment.
- Clients can resume most normal activities immediately, however it is recommended that you avoid vigorous exercise for 48 hrs post treatment.
- Avoid sun exposure to the treated area for at least two weeks after. Sunscreen is recommended on any treated areas and limit your sun exposure.
How Can I prevent Varicose Veins?
There is no way to prevent varicose veins, and once spider and varicose veins develop, there is no way for the body to cure them. Fortunately, there are simple ways to prevent these veins from spreading and alleviate symptoms.
Regular exercise promotes healthy circulation and also slows down the development of new varicose and spider veins. Diet, lifestyle changes, dietary supplements, and other natural alternatives can also help add to good leg vein health, including:
- Avoid birth control pills
- Eat a high fiber diet to prevent constipation
- Don’t wear tight clothes
- Elevate legs at bedtime (about 6 to 12 inches above the heart)
- Avoid crossing your legs
- Following these measures is the best defense against the spread or development of these veins.
Wearing graduated compression stockings is often the first approach to try before moving on to other treatments. Compression stockings are worn all day long. They steadily squeeze your legs, helping veins and leg muscles move blood toward the heart more efficiently. The amount of compression varies by type and brand.
Some people think compression stockings are uncomfortable and unstylish, however this bad fashion reputation is no longer deserved. Today stockings come in a variety of strengths, styles and colors. With the variety offered nowadays, finding a stocking that you're comfortable wearing is easy
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
Spider veins are mainly a cosmetic nuisance but they can cause burning, itching and throbbing. Varicose veins are often associated with leg pain, heaviness, cramping, fatigue, and restlessness.
Varicose veins in their most severe forms can adversely affect the nutrition of the skin and cause eczema, inflammation, chronic discolorations and ulceration of the skin.
Several adverse consequences of untreated varicose veins can occur, and their severity will differ from person to person. People who don't treat their varicose veins may experience continued symptoms of pain, fatigue and swelling of the legs or ankles. More advanced medical problems may include hyperpigmentation, lipodermosclerosis, venous leg ulcers, spontaneous bleeding, superficial thrombophlebitis, and a potentially life-threatening condition called deep vein thrombosis..
Do not have vein treatments if you have one of the following conditions:
- Exposure to sun or artificial tanning during the last 3 – 4 weeks
- Diabetes -unless under control
- History of Keloid scarring
- Using of Anticoagulants