Are Spider Veins Dangerous?

Are Spider Veins Dangerous?

Those unsightly and skinny purple, red, and blue veins near the surface of the skin on your feet and legs are called spider veins. 

You’re definitely not the only one who has them: About 50%-55% of women and 40%-45% of men have spider veins; in fact, about half of the population over 50 has them.

So, spider veins are common — but are they dangerous? Can they cause problems other than how they look?

The experts at Melanie Adams Dermatology in Columbia, Maryland, treat patients with spider veins on a regular basis. Here’s what they want you to know about spider veins.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins; they both form near the skin’s surface. But spider veins are smaller and have more twists and turns than varicose veins, which are larger, more swollen, and can be more painful.

Veins carry blood back to your heart, so they contain valves that allow blood to travel only one direction. When these valves weaken and fail, blood travels backward and pools in the vein. When this occurs, the vein walls bulge and become more visible.

There’s not one direct cause of spider veins, but they’re associated with jobs that involve sitting or standing for long stretches, increasing pressure in the veins in your legs. Spider veins are also more common as you age, if you’re pregnant, and if your blood relatives have them too.

Are spider veins harmful?

Spider veins aren’t usually painful, and they won’t hurt you. However, they can indicate an underlying condition, especially if you have them in conjunction with other issues.

People with spider veins typically also have varicose veins — which can become infected and lead to more problems — and are more likely to be obese.

If you have spider veins and diabetes, you may be at higher risk of deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in a vein. 

The bottom line? Get checked out by a doctor, but you likely only need treatment for your spider veins if you don’t like how they look.

Treatment for spider veins

One of the most common treatments for spider veins is laser vein treatment, where heat energy from a laser damages the vein, causing scar tissue to form. This tissue redirects the flow of blood, so the vein ruptures, dies, and disappears. 

Depending on the treatment area, you may need multiple sessions to remove your spider veins.

If you’re ready to address your spider veins, call Melanie Adams Dermatology today or request an appointment with our online form.

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