Everything You Should Know About Spider and Varicose Veins
While it is natural to be alarmed at the sight of an enlarged or discoloured vein, it is important to know all the facts regarding your condition before seeking out treatment. Spider and varicose veins are extremely common conditions, which are defined by unusually enlarged blood vessels. These conditions vary in severity, symptoms, and suitable treatment options depending on the nature of the blood vessel activity.
If you believe you may be suffering from spider or varicose veins, the following information will help you navigate prevention tactics, potential complications, treatment options, and other related factors. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know from Dr. Omar Abu-Bakr’s, The Veins Doctor in Guildford.
Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment, Diagnosis and Preventative Tips
The difference between spider and varicose veins
Given the similar nature of spider and varicose vein symptoms, many sufferers of blood vessel-related conditions do not understand the critical differences between the two. Spider veins get their name from a spider web-like appearance of the blood vessels, which are highly visible due to their deep color profile and sprawling shape. The blood vessels enlarge to the extent that they become extremely close to the surface of the skin. The small blood vessels cluster and present various hues including red, blue, and purple. Spider veins are commonly found on the legs; however, they can also occur on the face in some cases. Spider veins are also known as thread veins.
Unlike spider veins, varicose veins present themselves in the form of a single, bulging, prominent line, as opposed to a cluster of small blood vessels. Depending on the individual, a varicose vein may become twisted, dilated, and develop a variety of colors similar to that of spider veins. This condition normally manifests in the legs. Varicose veins have a greater potential to worsen and progress into different health complications. While spider veins are primarily treated for cosmetic reasons, both spider and varicose veins should be treated as soon as possible to avoid further discomfort and ongoing complications.
Causes of spider and varicose veins
Both spider and varicose veins are related to abnormalities in the formation of the sufferer’s blood vessels. Over time and extensive use, these abnormalities can result in blood flow complications, which in turn, creates potentially dangerous blood pooling. Once enough blood has collected in the veins or smaller blood vessels, pressure builds and damages the vessel walls. This is where the engorgement and discomfort related to these conditions comes from.
Individuals who are most susceptible to spider and varicose veins
Several behavioral and genetic factors contribute to the onset and seriousness of these conditions. Women are at a higher risk for blood vessel abnormalities than men. One of the primary reasons for this is the different stages in a woman's life, which cause them to release certain compromising hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are two of the main culprits, which are known to relax the blood vessels, creating a pathway for blood pooling in structurally compromised veins. For this reason, other hormone-related factors such as pregnancy, contraceptive medication, and hormonal therapy also create a high level of risk for developing these conditions. There is, however, the potential for both men and women to develop spider or varicose veins.
In terms of behavior, individuals who live a fairly sedentary life or participate in activities that involve standing for long periods of time may be at a higher risk for spider and varicose veins. The reason for this risk factor is that sitting or standing in one position can provide ample opportunity for blood to pool and settle in the blood vessels. Obesity is another common cause of spider and varicose veins, due to the pressure that excess fat places on these blood vessels.
Certain risk factors are unavoidable such as age, necessary surgeries, a history of blood complications, and injuries. The elderly often experience spider or varicose veins simply due to years of bodily pressure and blood flow. Injuries and previous blood clots can create long-lasting damage that will inhibit the blood vessels' ability to manage the passing of blood through the body.
Symptoms to look out for
As previously mentioned, spider veins are at a much lower risk of causing extreme symptoms, as they do not pose as much of a threat as varicose veins. The main sign of spider veins is simply the appearance of the clustered blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Conversely, varicose veins can come with a variety of symptoms that worsen or change over time.
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The presence of varicose veins often creates problems that are much more concerning than their prominent appearance. Sufferers may experience swelling, throbbing, and aching as blood is pumped from the heart in an attempt to pass through to the rest of the body. The presence of a large varicose vein could cause leg cramps or a feeling of heaviness in the legs. Serious cases may also lead to a condition known as venous stasis dermatitis, which occurs when the blood vessels leak excess blood through the skin. The inflammation associated with this condition often leads to a feeling of burning or itching around the affected area. Serious cases may also lead to skin ulcers or a deep brown colour on the skin.
Potential health complications
Although spider and varicose veins are incredibly common among adults, this does not mean that they can be ignored. The presence of a blood vessel condition can sometimes develop into more serious conditions including, but not limited to blood clots, external bleeding, and soft tissue infections. The aforementioned skin condition (venous stasis dermatitis) can result in open wounds on the legs in serious cases. Wherever there is an open wound, there is potential for high levels of blood loss and infection due to bacteria. Blood clots are caused by blood pooling in the veins, which can be fatal in some instances. If you are suffering from one of these conditions, contact our medical professionals immediately for varicose vein treatment in Guildford.
What to expect during consultation
If you suffer from one of these blood vessel-related conditions, you will need to know what is involved in the consultation and examination process. In order to provide an accurate diagnosis, we will conduct a detailed interview, examination and a Doppler ultrasound scan to map out all of the patient’s venous system (superficial as well as deep). The initial consultation will provide the patient with an explanation of the condition, the variety of treatments available, outline of the procedure and answer all questions relating to the condition and its treatment.
This scan usually takes about an hour and following a review of the results, a suitable treatment plan will be offered which is specific to individual patients – there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
There will be follow-up consultation after the procedure/treatment to review and assess the treatment and address any additional queries and questions.
Spider and varicose vein treatment options in Guildford
At all our London, Bristol and Guildford clinics, we offer some of the most advanced technology used to treat spider and varicose veins. Whether you are looking for a solution to health complications brought on by the abnormal structure of your blood vessels, or you are simply interested in removing spider veins for cosmetic reasons, Dr. Omar Abu-Bakr is happy to help. Below are five treatment options available to patients in the Guildford area:
1. High-Intensity Ultrasound
Dr. Omar Abu-Bakr is one of the first vein treatment specialists to use this cutting-edge, non-invasive method. Using ultrasound energy, this method kills the cells inside the blood vessel, closing this pathway as the body absorbs the remains.
2. Tran3sluminal Occlusion of the Perforators
This technique closes the perforators between deep and superficial veins by using a laser system administered via needle and guided by an ultrasound.
3. Ablation of the veins
Microwave and laser methods are used to destroy venous tissue from the inside. These methods are fairly non-invasive, simply requiring a local anesthetic.
In this method, superficial veins are removed surgically by making a small incision. This is primarily used to treat cosmetic cases.
5. Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy and Microsclerotherapy
This treatment uses a foam mixture of chemicals that are injected into the affected area and kill the cells over time.
Are you looking for a way to safely treat spider or varicose veins in Guildford? Regardless of the severity and stage of your condition, Dr Omar, The Veins Doctor will meet with you for a consultation and walk you through the most suitable treatment options based on your specific case. We are committed to maintaining a COVID-19 safe facility. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information about our services and treatment options.
Dr Omar Abu-Bakr has excellent reviews on leading review sites – Doctify, Top Doctors and Trust Pilot.