July 11

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What Causes Spider Veins?

By Dr. Jose Almeida

July 11, 2019


Spider veins may be caused by hereditary issues, physical issues, hormones, medicines and pressure. 

Here is more on what you should know abot the causes of spider veins:

Spider veins are small vessels with a purple to red color that can be found anywhere on the body, but seem to be most common on the face and legs. The discoloration of spider veins is easily seen on the skin due to the superficial location of vessels, meaning they are close to the skin.

Although most people with spider veins do not experience any symptoms, other than appearance, some may experience swelling in the legs and heaviness in the legs.

"There are a few causes to spider veins & ways to reduce the risk."

But what causes the development of spider veins?

1. Heredity is among one of the most common causes. If your mother, father, or siblings have spider veins, than you are more likely to have spider veins.

2. The female sex is also more affected by spider veins, mainly due to the fluctuations in hormones during a menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

3. In addition, women tend to use hormonal contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and hormone replacement after menopause to reduce symptoms of menopause. 

4. Obesity increases the pressure in veins, leading to spider veins. 

5. Standing for long periods of time with certain occupations, such as nursing, teachers, and hair stylists.

6. Age also increases risk, being that the older a person is, the higher the chance for developing spider veins.

7. Lastly, anything that increases the pressure in the abdomen can increase pressure in the veins of the legs, which includes tumors, chronic constipation, and tight garments, such as girdles. 

Video: Spider Vein Treatment

Ways to reduce the risk of spider veins

It is unknown why some people may develop spider veins and others do not, even if they have the same potential risk. Despite some of the risks of developing spider veins are not modifiable, meaning they are unable to be changed like age and sex, there are ways to try to prevent developing spider veins or to prevent from developing more spider veins.

1. Try to reduce as much pressure on the legs, by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding standing for long periods, and moving at least once an hour while working a stationary job.

2. Exercising several times per week by walking or jogging can keep blood flowing and reduce pressure in the veins.

3. For those that work jobs standing for long periods or would like an extra way to prevent spider veins, use of compression stockings is a good option to provide compression and support to veins. Many compression stockings are available over the counter at the pharmacy, but you may also get a prescription from your doctor. 

4. Lastly, elevating the legs, above the level of the heart, may reduce any swelling and improve blood flow. 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU EXPERIENCE SPIDER VEINS

Even though there are multiple causes of spider veins, there are differing ways to treat or prevent these pesky veins. Speak with your doctor to learn more about your spider veins.

spider vein Treatment with Dr. Almeida

Contact Dr. Jose Almeida is a board certified vascular surgeon, at the Miami Vein Center and a leading expert in the care of spider veins.

Dr. Jose Almeida

About the author

Dr. Jose Almeida, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT is a veteran academic vascular surgeon who practices Endovascular Venous Surgery in Miami, FL. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery in both Vascular Surgery and General Surgery.

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