Varicose and Spider Veins: Know the Basics

Varicose and Spider Veins: Know the Basics

If you have superficial or varicose veins, you’re not alone: more than 80 million Americans suffer along with you. But do you know the difference between superficial (spider) veins and varicose veins? Can you identify the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for superficial and varicose veins? At Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center, we strive to provide patient education as part of our overall care and treatment of individuals who suffer from venous insufficiency (the impairment of blood flow to the heart) in all its forms. Read on if you’d like to know more about superficial and varicose veins, and when you’ve finished, give us a call to set up a consultative appointment with our vascular physician in Orlando, Dr. Horowitz. We’ll be more than happy to answer all your questions.

Both superficial and varicose veins occur when the valves of the veins that are just underneath the surface of the skin malfunction, and the veins become swollen with blood. While arteries and veins are both part of the circulatory system, they get their jobs done differently. Arteries take the flow of blood that the heart is pumping out to the body. Veins, though, must carry the blood back to the heart working against gravity. Veins rely on muscle contractions and one-way valves to help. So, if the vein’s valves fail, gravity causes a pooling of blood in the vein. As the pressure builds, the damaged veins grow larger.

Superficial Veins

Superficial veins often have the telltale spider-web look to them and are usually smaller than varicose veins. Typically, superficial veins appear on the legs (and sometimes on the face). It’s rare for these veins to cause any discomfort, and treatment of superficial veins is mostly for cosmetic reasons.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can form anywhere but often form in the legs. These veins are characteristically blue and are swollen, kinked, or twisted. Common symptoms include numbness, pain, itching, heaviness or pressure, and swelling in the feet and/or ankles. Varicose veins are a serious medical condition and must be treated; neglecting treatment can lead to even more serious ramifications.

Risk Factors for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

So what puts you at an increased risk for developing superficial or varicose veins? Here are a few of the risk factors:

  • Age over 60 (although anyone can develop venous insufficiency)
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy and hormonal changes
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged standing
  • Prior deep venous thrombosis or other trauma

Treatment Options for Superficial and Varicose Veins

The good news is that there are many treatment options available for the treatment of superficial and varicose veins today, including several minimally invasive procedures that are virtually painless and cause little to no downtime.

The key, though, is seeking treatment from an experienced vascular physician in Orlando at a dedicated vein facility. Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center is proud to be the Orlando area’s top vein clinic, and we would be honored to speak with you and have you visit our offices for a consultation. Simply give us a call today at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547.