Vein Treatment Blog

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What Causes Surface Veins?

Although surface veins, also called spider veins, usually pose no medical threat, their appearance becomes a significant cosmetic issue for some patients.  Many people do not even notice these tiny red or blue vessels until they form clusters resembling a spider’s web.  Understanding the vein disease process that causes them as well as the vein treatments available to eliminate them helps put affected patients at ease.

What Are Spider Veins?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, spider veins are similar to but distinct from varicose veins.  These two vascular problems affect as many as 50 percent of American adults.  They are slightly more common in the female than in the male population. 

The medical name for a spider vein is a telangiectasia.  A cluster is most likely to develop on the legs, ankles, or face.

The job of one-way valves in veins is to keep blood traveling against gravity toward the heart from the extremities.  When a valve becomes defective, whether because of injury or vein disease, it can no longer close correctly.  This causes blood to fall backward and pool behind the valve.  As the pool grows, it expands the blood vessel, often resulting in a varicose or a spider vein.

Many factors can contribute to spider vein formation:

  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Occupation or lifestyle that includes prolonged standing
  • Carrying extra weight
  • Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy following menopause
  • Sitting with legs crossed for long intervals
  • Tight clothing
  • Health history that includes blood clots
  • Specific vein injury
  • Certain medical conditions, among them liver disease
  • Earlier vein surgery
  • Exposure to ultraviolet rays
  • Topical steroid use

Spider Vein Treatments

Since spider and varicose veins do not disappear on their own, resolution requires eliminating them.  This involves an outpatient treatment performed by vein specialists.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center notes that the two most common therapies are laser treatment and sclerotherapy.  Transdermal laser therapy, also called pulsed light therapy, uses light energy to close targeted vessels.  Sclerotherapy involves injecting a special substance that irritates vein walls and causes the vessel to eventually close. 

With both treatments, neighboring blood vessels pick up the circulatory workload of each eliminated vein.  These therapies offer patients the convenience of quickly getting back to work or resuming other typical daily activities.

It is important to note that no surface vein treatment can prevent abnormal vessels from forming in the future.  However, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery suggests that patients with these problem veins can take steps to reduce their chances of developing new unwanted vessels.  They include:

  • Staying as active as possible
  • Avoiding standing or sitting for extended intervals
  • Getting to a healthy weight and then maintaining it
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Avoiding exposure of the legs to excessive heat
  • Foregoing undergarments and other clothing with a restrictive fit

Understanding Vein Health: Vein Diseases & Conditions

Vein diseases and vein conditions are common. About one in three Americans over the age of 45 have some type of vein disease, according to the American Venous Forum. These vein diseases include varicose veins, spider veins, and venous insufficiency. These conditions can be embarrassing cosmetic problems, but they can also be associated with poor circulation. Fortunately, a number of vein treatments safely and effectively treat varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and other vein diseases.

About Veins

Veins are part of the circulatory system. The heart pushes blood through a complex network of arteries and veins. Arteries hold blood that is moving from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins contain blood that is going from the far reaches of the body back to the heart.

Gravity helps the arteries move blood down to your lower legs and feet, but gravity works against veins as they bring blood back up to your heart. Each beat of your heart pushes blood a short distance through your blood vessels, but gravity can pull blood downwards to accumulate in the lower legs. One-way valves located in various places throughout your veins open and close to trap blood in small segments in between heartbeats.

Sometimes these valves fail and this allows blood to move backward, or reflux, back down into your feet. Doctors refer to the failure of these valves as venous insufficiency. The accumulation of blood pooling in the lower legs presses against the veins, which react by bloating into varicose veins.

Symptoms of vein diseases vary. Symptoms of varicose veins include blue, twisted veins appearing on your legs. Symptoms of venous insufficiency include pain, swelling, cramps, skin changes, varicose veins, and sores on your legs.

Vein Treatments Safely, Effectively Treat Varicose Veins, Venous Insufficiency

Advances in medical technology have brought forth a number of vein treatments that quickly and effectively treat varicose veins, spider veins, venous insufficiency and other vein diseases.

Treatment usually involves irritating the inner lining of the diseased vein. Irritating the vein causes it to swell and seal shut. The treated vein breaks apart and is absorbed by the nearby tissue; the treated vein fades from view. Blood goes through nearby veins.

Endovenous laser treatment uses the power of laser light energy to treat varicose veins. Transdermal laser therapy uses pulses of light to treat veins. Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a vein doctor injects a chemical to irritate the interior of a diseased vein.

A mini-phlebectomy is a slightly different type of vein treatment, in that the vein surgeon removes the diseased vein through tiny slits in the skin.

For more information about varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and other vein problems – and vein treatments – contact your local vein doctor.

Different Vein Treatment Options

If you struggle with spider veins and/or varicose veins, you may deal with embarrassment because of the appearance of your abnormal veins, as well as discomfort in the affected area. Fortunately, a variety of vein treatments are available to help patients resolve these conditions.

About Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

Spider veins are small veins that typically appear in web-like formations close to the surface of the skin. These veins appear blue, red or purple in color. They are common on the legs, chest, face, and neck, but they can appear anywhere. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are larger, gnarled veins that have become dilated because of venous insufficiency. Varicose veins are most common on the legs, and they may be located deep within the tissues, or they may be swollen above the skin’s surface. Varicose veins often cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as burning, tingling, numbness, and cramping.

Spider Vein Treatments

Two main types of spider vein treatments are available: transdermal laser treatment and sclerotherapy. Transdermal laser treatment uses pulsed light energy to close off spider veins and eliminate them. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the spider veins that causes them to collapse.

Varicose Vein Treatments

A variety of varicose vein treatments are available, but some of the most popular treatments are ambulatory phlebectomy and endovenous laser treatment. Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure that involves removing the abnormal veins through small incisions made in the skin. Endovenous laser treatment, on the other hand, uses an ultrasound-guided laser to treat the inside of the varicose veins with laser energy. While ambulatory phlebectomy is best for veins located close to the surface of the skin, endovenous laser treatment is effective even on those veins located deep within the tissues.

If you are struggling with abnormal veins, effective treatments are available. Please contact United Vein Centers today to make an appointment with an experienced vein doctor and discuss your treatment options.

Spider Veins Vs. Varicose Veins

Spider veins and varicose veins may seem similar at first glance but the two types of vein disease are actually different. Each condition affects blood vessels, of course, but the two problems affect different areas of the body and respond to different types of vein treatment.

Both varicose veins and spider veins are signs of vein disease. In these two conditions, poor blood circulation causes the blood vessels to swell, twist and become more visible at the surface of the skin. Each vein disease responds well to treatment.

Varicose veins are large, swollen, and raised blood vessels that usually appear on a person’s lower legs, often at the backs of their thighs, knees or calves. These veins can be 3 mm or larger, and appear as red, purple or blue rope-like veins. In addition to ruining the smooth appearance of skin, varicose veins can cause heaviness, aching, swelling, itching, throbbing, night cramps, leg fatigue, and restless legs. Left untreated, poor blood circulation associated with varicose veins may sometimes lead to painful sores near the ankles, known as venous ulcers.

Spider veins, as their name implies, are veins that branch out like a spider web. They are usually quite tiny and delicate. Spider veins are typically a cosmetic problem, although spider veins lying close to the surface of the skin may bleed or bruise if bumped or scrubbed too hard.

Differences in Treatment of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

Vein treatment for varicose veins and spider veins involve irritating the diseased vein in ways that cause the vein to swell and close. The treated vein eventually breaks apart and fades into nearby tissue. Vein doctors now perform these treatments in outpatient clinics.

Types of Varicose Vein and Spider Vein Treatments

Compression stockings

Compression stockings help alleviate both minor spider veins and minor varicose veins and are an important part of other types of vein treatment.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory phlebectomy is a procedure in which a vein surgeon removes varicose veins through tiny slits in the skin.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a vein treatment that involves the injection of chemicals to irritate and close the diseased blood vessel. Vein doctors use sclerotherapy to treat spider veins.

Laser treatment

Laser treatment is appropriate for both varicose veins and spider veins. There are two main types of laser treatments for vein disease: endovenous laser treatment and transdermal laser treatment. Both work by using laser light energy to irritate the diseased vein. Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) effectively treats larger varicose veins, which typically develop in the lower legs. Transdermal laser treatment is for spider veins and smaller varicose veins.

For more information about the differences between spider veins and varicose veins, contact your local vein doctor. Vein surgeons can also help you explore different treatments for vein disease, including laser treatment.

Varicose Veins vs. Venous Insufficiency

Enlarged, bulging, gnarled, and discolored veins that most commonly arise in the lower extremities, varicose veins are universally reviled for a number of reasons. Many people seek medical attention for varicose veins for purely aesthetic reasons…and who can blame them? This embarrassing condition can cause otherwise youthful and healthy skin to appear old, unwholesome, and downright ugly.

However, varicose veins may also be an indication of a far more serious vein condition called venous insufficiency. Individuals with venous insufficiency can often experience serious circulatory problems, and in extreme cases, can even face the loss of life or limb.

Venous Insufficiency Defined

Vein insufficiency disease (also called vein disease) occurs when blood flow is seriously inhibited, causing blood to pool under the force of gravity in the lower extremities. In addition to enlarged and darkened veins, common symptoms associated with this condition include…

  • Pain (aching, burning, and tenderness)
  • Swelling
  • Cramping
  • Numbness
  • Leg heaviness
  • Restless leg syndrome

The two main causes of vein disease are varicose veins and blood clots. Healthy veins promote the free and easy flow of blood from the limbs back toward the heart. However, veins that suffer from clotting or from the valve damage associated with varicose veins fail to facilitate this flow and, in extreme cases, prevent it entirely.

Conditions that commonly lead to blood clots, varicose veins, and vein disease in general include…

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Smoking
  • Muscle weakness, injury, and/or trauma in the legs
  • Inactivity
  • Swelling in a superficial vein
  • Genetics

Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency Treatment

In the past, the only viable medical treatment for varicose veins and vein disease was the complete surgical removal of affected veins in a process known as “vein stripping.” Today, however, individuals who are concerned about vein health can choose among a significant number of noninvasive and effective vein treatments options including…

  • Duplex Ultrasound – An extremely valuable diagnostic tool, duple ultrasound allows doctors to see venous networks and beneath the skin. The “duplex” part of duplex ultrasound refers to the fact that two different forms of ultrasound are employed in this process. Traditional ultrasound technology creates pictures by bouncing sound waves off of blood vessels, while Doppler ultrasound allows doctors to examine and monitor the progression of blood flow.
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) – This modality employs ultrasound to apply a beam of laser light to collapse diseased veins and reroute blood flow to healthy veins nearby.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy – The physical removal of diseased veins through a series of tiny incisions. Like EVLT, this procedure improves circulation by sending blood through existing healthy veins.

For More Information

If you have questions about varicose veins, venous insufficiency, and the various treatment modalities for each, contact Dr. Gamal Wazni and the vascular specialists at Tampa, Florida’s United Vein Centers. Interested parties can schedule a free consultation by visiting the official United Vein Centers website.

How Do Spider Veins Form?

It’s easy to see how spider veins got their name: These tiny red, blue or purple  veins end to form in groups of clusters, forming a weblike appearance just under the skin. Spider veins can occur anywhere on your body, including your face. But like their larger cousins, varicose veins, they tend to appear most often in the legs and feet, when veins very close to the surface of the skin become dilated.

Spider veins are more common than varicose veins; in fact, there’s a good chance that as you get older, you’ll have at least a couple of the tiny veins in some area of your body.

Spider Vein Causes

Spider veins can be caused by the same factors that cause varicose veins – namely, underlying vein disease – but they can also be caused by other issues, including:

  • Age-related changes in the blood vessels
  • Hormonal changes, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy
  • Being overweight or obese, which places added strain and pressure on the vessels
  • Sun exposur
  • Traumatic injury
  • Prolonged periods of standing – for instance, having a job that requires you to be on your feet for long stretches of time, day after day

Sometimes, spider veins are caused by underlying venous disease that interferes with the flow of blood in vessels located deeper under the skin.

Spider Vein Symptoms and Treatments

Often, spider veins cause few or no symptoms. But when they occur in groups or clusters, they can cause problems like aching, burning or cramping, especially when they occur in the legs or feet. Like varicose veins, spider veins are more common among women, and sometimes, the symptoms of spider veins will be more pronounced during menstruation or pregnancy.

Because spider veins are so tiny and located near the surface of your skin, treatment is usually quite straightforward. The two most common treatment options for spider veins are sclerotherapy and laser treatment.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy uses injections of a special chemical solution to irritating the inside lining of the veins, causing them to close off to the flow of blood. Instead, blood is rerouted to neighboring veins while the diseased vein is eventually absorbed by the body. Sclerotherapy has been used for decades to successfully treat spider veins and some types of varicose veins.

Laser Treatment

More recently, laser treatment has emerged as a very popular option for spider vein treatment. During laser treatment, a tiny laser is inserted into the vein. Once in place, the laser emits targeted heat energy that causes the vein to close. Like sclerotherapy, laser treatment is completed as an outpatient procedure.

Other treatment options are also available, depending on your overall health and where the spider veins are located.

Learn more about spider vein treatments.

Spider veins may seem like little more than a nuisance, but because they can sometimes be an indicator of underlying – and serious – vein disease, having them evaluated is essential. As a top provider of state-of-the-art vein treatments in and around Tampa, Florida, United Vein Centers helps patients get the care they need to eliminate unhealthy veins, treat underlying vein disease and enjoy better vascular health. If you have spider veins or varicose veins, call United Vein Centers at 800-952-5954 and schedule an evaluation today.

Can Varicose Veins Cause High Blood Pressure?

It is estimated that about 35% of the US population has varicose veins – most of them are women over 50 years of age. While heredity often plays a big part in who gets them, other risk factors include obesity, women who’ve had more than one pregnancy, a sedentary lifestyle, taking oral contraceptives, aging, leg injury, and smoking. It is largely a cosmetic issue though. People don’t like the bulges and lines on their legs caused by the affected veins. They will often seek vein treatments to alleviate the problem and improve their appearance.

The human body is a very intricate, complex system and when there is a problem in one part, it can affect other parts of the body. Someone with varicose veins may experience other health problems, such as high blood pressure. But are these two conditions related? If so, which one came first?

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

It isn’t always easy to tell if you have varicose veins. If you can’t see them, you may not even know they are there. Some of the more common symptoms of varicose veins (that are detectable) include:

  • A feeling of heaviness in the leg or legs
  • The skin in the affected area begins to change color or even texture
  • Legs ache or burn
  • A rash or sores appear on the leg

On the other hand, hypertension usually has no discernable symptoms. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because many times people don’t know that they are hypertensive until they have an event such as a heart attack or stroke. It is only then, while they are receiving treatment, that they are told they have high blood pressure. So, it is quite possible to have hypertension and not even realize it.

What is the link between varicose veins and high blood pressure?

Some people believe that varicose veins can cause high blood pressure. However, one study was not able to link the two conditions, although there was a distinct link between arterial disease and hypertension. Some patients have expresses concern about a potential link between vein treatments and high blood pressure, but doctors and researchers assure them that no such link exists.

Another study found that varicose veins are often a risk indicator of a more serious condition called arterial disease, but they do not actually cause it. Hypertension can be caused by arterial disease, or the two conditions can share the same or similar triggers.

What is venous hypertension?

Venous hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in a varicose vein gets too high. This can make it more difficult for the blood to be pumped through the damaged veins. This can cause inflammation that affects the walls of the vein as well as the soft tissue that surrounds it. In such cases, there are several types of vein treatments that can help.

At United Vein Centers, your health is everything to us. If you have varicose veins or other conditions, you don’t have to suffer alone. We can help. Give us a call and find out what we can do for you.

Are Spider Veins Hereditary?

You’ve got your mother’s eye color and your dad’s curly hair, but can you also inherit your parents’ spider veins? As it turns out, heredity is indeed a factor. However, whether or not you develop spider veins isn’t necessarily cut and dried. There are several other factors involved that can either raise or lower your risk for developing spider veins.        

The Genetic Factor

Spider veins, sometimes referred to by the medical community as telangiectasias, are a form of vein disease that results in clusters of tiny blood vessels appearing near the surface of the skin. Usually found either on the legs or face, these vessels can be red, blue or even purple and often look like spider webs. Spider veins are closely related to varicose veins, which can also appear near the surface of the skin but are much larger and are often painful in addition to being unsightly. 

According to a scientific review of several international studies on the familial component of varicose veins, there is strong evidence supporting heredity as a risk factor. A study in Japan revealed 42 percent of women diagnosed with varicose veins had a positive family history while a study in France reported that when both parents had varicose veins, patients had a 90 percent chance of developing the condition themselves. What’s more, the scientific review discovered a tangible link between varicose veins and a variety of genetic disorders.       

Other Risk Factors

While there’s little doubt that spider veins can be hereditary, there are also several other causes and risk factors such as:

  • Obesity
  • Injury or trauma to the skin
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Use of oral contraceptives
  • Hormonal changes and pregnancy
  • Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays
  • Age and gender

According to WebMD, the frequency of spider and varicose veins increases with age, with the condition appearing more frequently in women than in men.

Preventing Vein Disease

The good news is even if spider veins or varicose veins run in your family, there are steps you can take to lower your risk and tip the odds in your favor:

  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays.
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work the legs such as walking or running. Regular exercise will help strengthen your veins and circulation as well as improve your overall fitness.
  • Avoid either standing or sitting for long periods of time. If standing for long periods is unavoidable, make sure to shift your weight from one leg to the other several times an hour. If you are required to sit for long periods, make sure to get up every half hour to stretch and walk around.

While following these recommendations can certainly help, if you still develop spider veins there are a wide variety of vein treatments available such as laser treatment, which is much less invasive than treatments used to be with a much shorter recovery time. 

Can Spider Veins Be Dangerous?

Spider veins get their name from their web-like appearance near the surface of the skin. They often appear on the facial skin, particularly the nose and cheek areas and legs, but can occur anywhere on the body. These tiny, visible veins alone are typically not harmful, but they can accompany other vein problems like varicose veins—which can be serious without proper vein treatments.

To determine if your spider veins are an isolated, mild problem, it’s a good idea to see your vein doctor for a quick, painless exam. If you also have varicose veins with symptoms of poor circulation, you should definitely have a checkup at your local vein clinic. Being pro-active about vein health can help you prevent serious circulatory problems later on in life.

Potential Causes of Spider Veins

Spider and varicose veins share many of the same causes: 

  • Family history 
  • Sun exposure
  • Injury to the skin
  • Hormonal changes (puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement)
  • Work that keeps you on your feet 
  • Excess body weight
  • Tight clothing that constricts blood vessels 
  • Pressure from poor circulation in the local area or systemically
  • History of blood clots

Vein Symptoms to Watch Out For

If any of these symptoms are bothering you, it’s reason enough to see your vein doctor for a checkup:

  • Visible, tiny spider veins (often red or blue)
  • Varicose veins, blue, red or purple and possibly bulging
  • Itchy, burning sensation in legs
  • Swollen ankles
  • Aching legs
  • Numbness or tingling

Signs of Serious Vein Disease, Requiring Expert Treatment

If you begin to notice the following symptoms and complications of varicose veins–you have more advanced vein disease. Visit your vein clinic to avoid serious health problems:

  • Skin changes: Ankle skin can become hard, shiny discolored.
  • Skin sores: Slow- or non-healing venous ulcers come about from long-term vein problems/backed up blood. Sores may only heal with proper vein treatments.
  • Significant bleeding: Thinning skin covering abnormal veins ruptures easily–and bleeds more than normal.
  • Superficial blood clot: (Thrombophlebitis just beneath the skin.) Look out for a firm, tender vein that feels hard, which may be painful and swollen.
  • DVT: Deep vein thrombosis is a serious, deep blood clot—which can have no noticeable symptoms, but can be deadly if the clot moves into the lung. You might feel pain in your calf (the usual location), inflammation and warm, reddened skin. If you suspect a DVT, call 911 or go to the Emergency Room for immediate care.

Get Expert Laser Treatment and Vein Care in Florida and Colorado

Simple, quick laser treatment is very effective at treating spider and/or small varicose veins — and exams are painless. There’s no reason to hesitate! Have your vein condition evaluated and free yourself of bothersome, painful, and potentially serious symptoms. Contact United Vein Centers today.

Can Varicose Veins Cause Numbness?

Varicose veins are a relatively common condition more likely to occur in older adults, those who are obese and those who are female, particularly those who have had children. The symptoms of varicose veins can vary, but numbness is not unusual. Here’s what you need to know about varicose veins, leg numbness and vein treatments, courtesy of Dr. Gamal Wazni of United Vein Centers in Tampa, Florida.

About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins occur because the tiny flaps of tissue inside the veins – known as valves – no longer work properly. In a healthy vein, the valves open with each heartbeat as blood is pushed against them. During the pause between heartbeats, the valves close, prevent blood from flowing backward. These veins can become incompetent, which means they don’t close all the way or don’t close at all. As a result, blood leaks around them and pools in the vein, causing it to become distorted and swollen.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Many people have no obvious symptoms of varicose veins other than the appearance of the veins themselves. However, large or extensive varicosities may result in swelling of the legs, leg pain or a feeling that the legs are tired or heavy. Your ankles may be swollen, especially at night or if you spend a long time on your feet during the day. Neurological symptoms of varicose veins can include tingling, burning, cramping or numbness in the legs and feet.

Varicose Veins and Numbness

Varicose veins can affect the circulation in your legs and feet. When the tissues or nerves aren’t getting adequate blood flow, it results in oxygen deprivation. This can cause tingling or outright numbness in one or more areas. For example, the posterior tibial nerve runs from the leg to the foot through a narrow band of tissue called the tarsal tunnel. Varicose veins can cause crowding in the tarsal tunnel and compression of the nerve. This results in tingling and numbness of the bottom and side of the foot.

Varicose Vein Treatments

At one time, varicose veins always required surgery. Today, doctors can offer a number of less invasive procedures that are faster, less expensive and easier on the patient. An endovenous laser treatment uses laser therapy to close the vein. In a mini-phlebectomy, the vein is removed through a tiny incision. For sclerotherapy, the doctor injects a solution into the veins that causes them to swell and then collapse, making them stick together. All of these are office procedures and typically take an hour or less. Recovery time is also short; patients can usually return to their normal activities within a day or two at most.

Varicose veins can be more than a cosmetic issue. They can cause pain and swelling or interfere with people’s daily activities. In addition to conservative therapies like special compression stockings, minimally invasive varicose vein treatments offer relief from symptoms such as leg numbness. If you have varicose veins and are interested in treatment, please contact our office to set up an appointment.