What's the Difference Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

The veins in your lower extremities are essential to your well being. Because of what we do during our daily activities, whether it be standing, sitting or walking, these veins must continually fight the forces of gravity to help return blood to the heart. Sometimes, and for different reasons, the lower extremity veins are unable to perform their function properly. Over time, your lower extremity veins can become more visible or pronounced, and you end up with spider veins or varicose veins.

At Bloomfield Vein and Vascular in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Dr. Diego Hernandez can help in the evaluation of your vein condition. His team of vein experts can treat spider veins to eliminate their appearance and can develop a careful plan to help treat varicose veins and lessen your chance of complications. 

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are some of the smallest visible veins in our bodies. Although they can be present anywhere, they are most commonly seen in the lower extremities. It is uncommon to see these veins in men, and some people suggest that hormonal changes lead to the development of these veins, which when they become abnormal, are visible through the skin as red or purple squiggly lines.

Spider veins are not dangerous, but their appearance is often unappealing. Having these veins on the surface of your thighs or legs can make you feel self-conscious when wearing short skirts, shorts, or swimwear. At Bloomfield Vein & Vascular, spider veins are treated with sclerotherapy, using a tiny needle to inject a substance that makes the tiny veins collapse and disappear. The blood flow is redirected to nearby healthy veins, and the old veins break down and are naturally absorbed by your body. We are the only facility in Southeast Michigan that has two Nurse Practitioners (NPs) who are certified in sclerotherapy. Experience does make a difference when it comes to the proper treatment of these ugly veins. 

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are larger veins in your legs that are the result of an excessive amount of blood traveling in the opposite direction of its normal flow to the heart. Our lower extremity veins have internal valves or gates that open in the direction of the heart to allow blood to move up towards our chest. If the valve fails, that is, the valve stays open, blood can then flow backwards towards our feet. The excess amount of blood inside particular leg veins causes the surface veins to enlarge as they adjust to the increased blood volume. When these enlarge, the veins become visible. Spider veins remain flat and faint, but varicose veins bulge and twist, rising up from the skin and becoming noticeable. It is common for patients to have both types of veins present at the same time on their legs. 

Spider veins do not tend to cause symptoms, but varicose veins do. Typically, these enlarged veins are associated with achiness, heaviness, restless legs, itching and in occasional cases discomfort and/or pain. However, it is important to recognize that although we tend to associate these symptoms with the actual varicose veins on the surface of our legs, there is an underlying problem that causes the valves to fail, and in turn causes the symptoms to arise. It is essential to diagnose this underlying issue, because if not properly treated, the symptoms do not improve and the varicose veins either do not change or recur. Many vein centers claim that they can address the symptoms associated with vein disease, but often they do a simple evaluation and are unable to uncover the true cause of the problem. Understanding what causes these valves to fail and what leads to the symptoms, puts us in a unique position to properly diagnose your condition and offer a solution that is far more comprehensive and effective than any other vein center can offer. 

Current treatments for vein disease vary depending upon a number of factors. Having a board certified Vascular Surgeon evaluate your condition is imperative if you want to have the best outcome. At Bloomfield Vein & Vascular, we offer the most comprehensive and up to date treatment for all types of vein conditions, and we do so by treating you as an outpatient, in our state of the art office in Bloomfield Hills. 

Are you ready to get treatment?

If you have spider veins or varicose veins, seeing a board-certified Vascular Surgeon can help confirm whether or not there is cause for concern, and you can receive appropriate treatment to resolve your vein issues. Whether you need sclerotherapy to deal with the spider veins for cosmetic reasons, or more intensive treatment to medically remedy varicose veins and reduce your symptoms, our team can help you achieve the best outcome. 

Contact our office today at 248-206-5876 during business hours, and see what a difference it makes to be evaluated and treated at Bloomfield Vein & Vascular. 

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