It is estimated that 40% of women have varicose veins or spider veins. Men also develop them, but with a lower frequency. There are many factors that predispose to the development of these unsightly – and often symptomatic – veins, the most important being heredity. They can be inherited from the maternal or paternal side of the family. If someone is predisposed, they can appear as early as the teen years although most often they appear later. In addition, pregnancy, standing occupations, obesity, injury, previous thrombophlebitis, along with other factors may contribute to their development and progression.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, non-functional, veins that are more than 2 millimeters in width and may exceed 2 centimeters. They may be blue or green or they may appear as protruding, tortuous cords that course under the skin.
Because the valves in varicose veins do not function normally, varicose veins are most apparent when standing due to their inability to prevent blood from pooling with gravity. Often varicose veins seem to disappear when lying down or with leg elevation.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are enlarged veins less than 2 millimeters in width. They appear deep red, blue, or purple. While often flat, they may protrude, especially when standing. Sclerotherapy is the most effective method for removing spider veins.
What are Dilated Capillaries?
Dilated Capillaries (also referred to as ‘broken capillaries’, or ‘broken blood vessels’) appear as red or pink thread-like lines, usually less than 0.2 millimeters in width. When a large number of capillaries are clustered they may have the appearance of a red patch or a bruise that never disappears. Besides the legs, dilated capillaries are often seen on the face and nose. Varicose veins can be treated with Endovenous Ablation and Sclerotherapy. Spider Veins are treated with Sclerotherapy and Dilated Capillaries are treated with Vascular Laser.