You look forward to the summer months when your legs can finally come out of hiding, but now you’ve thrown them back under cover because of spider veins. The good news is that these veins are mostly harmless and pose more of a cosmetic concern than anything else. That said, they could also be a sign of a brewing problem in your vascular system that you should address.
As an experienced cardiologist, Upper East Side Cardiology’s Dr. Satjit Bhusri understands the many factors that place you more at risk for developing spider veins. In fact, we offer a specialized Vein Institute, which treats problematic veins.
In the following, we review some of the more common risk factors for spider veins, as well as a few prevention techniques and treatment options.
Spider veins 101
As we mentioned, spider veins are rarely medically serious, but they may signal an issue with your vascular system. The veins in your legs are responsible for returning blood back to your heart, fighting distance and gravity along the way. To help, your veins are equipped with tiny valves that shut off as your blood passes through, preventing it from spilling backward.
When these valves fail, which is also called venous insufficiency, the pressure may damage your veins, causing them to bulge. When this happens in the tiny blood vessels near your skin’s surface, you get spider veins.
Your risk factors for spider veins
There are several factors that may place you more at risk for developing spider veins, including:
Researchers have found that up to 90% of people who develop spider veins have a family history of the condition.
Women are far more likely to develop spider veins thanks to hormones and pregnancy.
3. Being overweight
People who carry extra pounds are more at risk for developing venous insufficiency, which leads to spider and varicose veins.
4. Sitting or standing for long periods
When you sit or stand for long periods, the veins in your legs have to work harder to deliver blood back to your heart.
Exercise not only helps your circulation, it also strengthens the muscles in your legs, which can help support your valves.
Solutions for spider veins
One of the reasons why it’s important to understand your risk factors for spider veins is that once these veins develop, they don’t go away on their own.
If you meet any of the risk factors we outline above, there are steps (sometimes literal) you can take to prevent them from developing in the first place, such as:
- Wearing compression stockings
- Getting up every 30 minutes if you sit for long periods
- Resting your legs if you stand for long periods
- Losing weight
- Elevating your legs
- Exercising your legs
If spider veins have already taken up residence on your legs, there are several treatments that can clear your legs, including sclerotherapy and laser treatments.
At The Vein Institute, we also treat the larger varicose veins using VenaSeal™, radiofrequency ablation, or other treatments.
If you have more questions about spider veins and how we can remedy them, please contact our office on the Upper East Side of New York City. Or, you can take our Vein Screening Survey here.