Friday, May 25, 2007

Spider Veins and Varicose Veins, Cosmetic or Risky?

What are spider veins? Is there a difference between them and varicose veins? how are they formed? are they dangerous? is there a treatment?.This article tries to answer these questions by giving an overview of the whole subject.

Why Veins?

Physiologically, veins are the deposit place where blood is stored in between every 2 successive heart beats (heart muscle contractions). While arteries are designed to dilate when blood is pushed within them,veins have no elastic walls exerting a passive effect on blood movementand this is why they are supplied with valves that keep blood circulating within the circulatory system ( heart--> arteries--> veins--> heart). To help push the blood in the legs against the gravity, veins are squeezed by skeletal muscle contraction when one walks.

Formation and Appearance:

Varicose veins are formed when there is a defect in the walls of veins,and this defect makes their tone is less than than normal leading to their dilatation, as a result, veins are engorged with venous blood that is weakly circulated. The defect may be in the valves leading to leakage of blood below the valves, and is accumulated and pooled in the veins.

Varicose veins can be seen or touched as twisted and bugling swollen dark purple or blue veins that are raised above the skin surface, commonly on the back of the calves or the inside of the legs. During pregnancy, varicose veins (hemorrhoids) can form in the vagina or around the anus.

Spider veins are the smaller red or blue veins looking like spider web or tree branches, and much closer to the skin covering either a very small or very large area of skin on the leg and face, and they do not represent a risk.Hands veins are normal, healthy veins that have become more visible, and both of them and spider veins need no treatment, yet some people ask for medical interference for cosmetic purposes.


While people that are susceptible to acquiring varicose or spider veins may inherent those genes that produce weak venous walls or valves, yet there are some risk factors , these are :
* Pregnancy.
* Occupations that require standing for long period of times.
* Trauma.
* Aging.


Symptoms of varicose veins include :
* Aching pain.
* Easily tired legs.
* Leg heaviness.
* Swelling in the legs.
* Darkening of the skin (in severe cases).
* Numbness in the legs.

Complications of Varicose veins :

Varicose veins (but not spider veins) usually enlarge and worsen over time, and severe varicose veins may cause serious problems like:
1- Blood clots: Severe venous insufficiency allows venous blood to stagnate carrying a lot of waste and noxious products, leading to severe infection and blood clotting. Blood clots in the deep veins can be very serious as they can move from leg veins to the lung and can block lung and heart functions.

2- Sores or skin ulcers: they are formed on skin tissues around the varicose veins, causing ongoing irritation, swelling, and painful rashes of legs. Care of these ulcers are difficult as long as there are varicose veins.

Doctor Visit:

To cut on the varicose veins and prevent their silly prognosis, you should see your doctor if:1- There are sores or rash on the leg or near the ankle with the varicose veins.2- The varicose veins become swollen, red, or very tender, or warm to the touch.

Treatment :

1- Medical :
It can be used for temporary varicose veins like those formed during pregnancy, They contain mostly active ingredients derived from horse chest nut (aesculus hypocastanum) and flavonoids derived mostly from the citrus fruits.

2- Sclerotherapy:
It is the most common treatment of both spider and varicose veins. It involves injecting some chemicals into the affected veins to cause their scarring, and in a few weeks the vein should fade. Among the techniques implemented are, Microsclerotherapy and Ultra-sound guided sclerotherapy.

3- Laser Surgery:
It either uses laser directly on the spider veins in the leg to make them disappear, or uses endovenous techniques to treat deeper varicose veins of the legs.

4- Surgery:
used mostly to treat very large varicose veins, which are mostly superficial veins.

All treatment types have side effects ranging from mild to serious ones,depending their location, procedure used, and skill of the practising physician.

Some herbal remedies:

1- Rub apple cider vinegar on the spider or the varicose veins in the morning and in the evening for one month. You can add 2 teaspoonful to a cup of water and drink them in the morning and in the evening.
2- Put some Cabbage leaves to some Garlic in your mixer , mince and rub the affected legs with the resultant liquid.

Can we protect ourselves from getting varicose veins? Walk and use some personal care products that contain extracts of horse chest nut and flavonoids, they can help.


Varicose veins said...

This is a lovely post, You could also read my blog on the same topic
Varicose vein therapies blog
Varicose vein therapies in Westchester

Sue said...

I would add that any vein in the body; not nececessarily bulging superficial veins, may become varicose. Truncal veins for example, often not visible on the surface of the skin and veins in the pelvic region may also become varicose. In fact, very often superficial veins disappear once the truncal veins (Great and Small Saphenous veins) are treated with endovenous ablation or surgical procedure.

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