hat are spider veins actually?
Dr. Salama: Spider veins on the legs are very small blood vessels in the dermis that dilate and become visible. Medically, spider veins are called telangiectasias. Very small vessels are red in color. As they get larger, the color changes from red to purple and then to green. As with most diseases, spider veins become more common with age, but due to genetic predisposition, they can also appear in young people.
Are spider veins also a sign of other diseases?
Dr. Salama: An incredible 89% of women who think they actually only have spider veins actually have varicose veins that supply blood to spider veins. Even more concerning, 40% have more serious hidden varicose veins that may cause further problems in the future. This means that treating the superficially visible thread veins is only useful in 11% of women. In all others, the underlying problem must first be explored. All women who suffer from spider veins are recommended to have an ultrasound examination so that they know exactly what is really going on.
What are causes of spider veins?
Dr. Salama: The biggest influence on the development of spider veins is the genes. The stronger the family connection and the more relatives you have with thread veins, the more likely you are to get them. Very rarely, trauma can also be a factor in the development of spider veins, especially if the skin has been bruised or if fatty tissue has been destroyed and scars are extensive.
Does lifestyle also play a role?
Dr. Salama: Spider veins are attributed to "broken capillaries," with lifestyle factors such as crossing the legs, wearing tight clothing or boots being blamed. Patients who actually suffer from "broken capillaries" are more likely to experience extensive bruising than spider veins.
However, there are some steps that can be taken to avoid complications from varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Lack of exercise and being overweight are associated with increased worsening or complications with varicose veins. This is supported by the fact that 89% of women with spider veins also have varicose veins. In addition, prolonged sitting does not put much strain on the muscles in the legs that normally pump blood. As a result, blood in patients with varicose veins falls back in the leg veins and can pool in the lower leg, increasing swelling and, in the long run, damaging the skin and underlying tissue with inflammation. My tip: Try to move your feet and legs regularly when you're sitting, and take frequent walks. Of course, more exercise and weight loss will reduce the risk of aggravating veins, but unfortunately, such measures cannot prevent them from forming in the first place.
What products are suitable for treating spider veins? Dr. Salama: There are many creams and tablets on the market that promise to work against spider veins, but they have not been proven to actually work. If you want, you can use cosmetic leg makeup to conceal spider veins.