You may have spider veins or you may just think you have but do you know anything about them? One thing is for sure - if you've got spider veins you probably wish you hadn't.
Dealing with any medical condition – however seemingly trivial – is much easier if you know something about it. Knowledge is power in this situation. So, if you've got them - here's ten essential things you need to know about spider veins:
1. Why are they called ‘spider veins'?
The medical name for spider veins is ‘telangiectasias’ – so now you know why most people find it a whole lot easier to call them spider veins or thread veins. Spider veins show up as a network of thin blue or red veins just below the skin's surface on the legs and face. The pattern made by spider veins resembles the branches of a tree or the structure of a spider's web - hence the name most of us use.
2. How common are spider veins?
Spider veins are extremely common affecting an amazing one in four women at some stage in their lives, and a slightly lower percentage of men.
3. When am I most likely to get them?
Although they can affect people at all stages of life, spider veins are more common after mid-life when the skin becomes thinner and loses some of its collagen allowing the spider veins to show through.
4. What causes spider veins?
Spider veins result from weak vein valves which cause blood to leak back into the vein and collect there. It is this leaked blood that becomes visible and unsightly to the naked eye.
No one knows the exact causes of spider veins but there are several factors that may make it more likely for you to develop them including: age, genes, pregnancy and hormonal changes, excess weight, standing or sitting for long periods and unprotected sun exposure. Of all these– your genes are the single most important determining factor. If your mother or father had spider veins you are much more likely to develop them yourself.
5. Why are legs most affected?
The force of gravity, the pressure of bearing your body weight and the hard task of carrying blood from the bottom of the body up to the heart make legs the main area of risk for spider veins. Compared to the work done by other veins in the body, your leg veins have a really tough job to do to get the blood back up to your heart. Leg veins have to endure huge pressure and it can simply prove to be too strong for the valve mechanism to cope with.
6. Are they the same as varicose veins?
No – varicose veins are a completely different condition. Varicose vein sufferers do not necessarily get spider veins and vice versa.
7. Are spider veins dangerous?
No, spider veins are not dangerous. Of course, they can be a source of anxiety and may affect your quality of life and your self-confidence. At the very least they are unsightly and it is for this reason alone that so many women want to get rid of them.
8. Can spider veins be treated?
Yes, spider veins can be treated - nowadays with a high degree of success for most women.
9. What's the best method of treating spider veins?
There are two main methods of treating spider veins. The first involves treatment with lasers in which strong bursts of light are used to destroy the blocked veins. The second treatment method is scelerotherapy which involves the injection of a solution into the veins causing the vein to seal shut and die. Both these methods involve visits to a clinic for treatment by a medical professional. Otherwise home remedies are available for the treatment of spider veins using creams and lotions which can be bought on the internet.
10. Will spider veins come back after treatment?
Current treatments for spider veins have a very high success rate although there is no guarantee that they won't return. Watching weight, eating a varied diet high in antioxidants and taking plenty of leg exercise can all help prevent any recurrence.
Eileen Gravelle is an author and web publisher who writes extensively on all aspects of anti aging including age related beauty problems like spider veins . Eileen's website: Simply Anti Aging is a complete anti aging resource with articles, practical advice, product reviews and celebrity features for women in their forties and beyond who want to look younger and feel great as they get older.