Spider veins are damaged veins that often appear just below the surface of the skin on the face or legs. As the name suggests, they resemble the web of a spider and can usually appear purple, blue, or red. When a vein is healthy, it opens and closes to allow blood to flow through and never backward. Spider veins are characterized by damaged or weakened valves that compromise normal blood flow. And while they are not always painful, they can signify a more serious underlying problem. This is especially true when they are accompanied by symptoms like tenderness, redness, swelling, and warmth. Below, we review the importance of getting these symptoms evaluated by an Aventura spider veins specialist.
Blood Clots and Pulmonary Embolisms
According to recent studies, spider and varicose veins are connected to blood clots. Research suggests that people with these conditions are at a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Unlike spider veins, DVT is not superficial and can be very dangerous. It raises your risk of a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot that travels to the lungs after breaking loose from the affected vein. If not treated promptly, a pulmonary embolism can be fatal. This is why you should always discuss problematic spider veins with a specialist immediately.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Spider veins can sometimes be a precursor to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This is an ongoing condition characterized by compromised vein function in the legs. Typically, the valves fail to work properly, preventing or limiting blood flow to the heart. The blood then flows backward, causing stasis or blood pooling. If this condition is not addressed, blood pressure in the affected veins increases, further weakening the valves and walls. This is why CVI is a chronic condition.
The tell-tale discoloration of spider veins is caused by the rupture of blood capillaries and blood pooling. These capillaries usually heal, preventing you from losing too much blood. However, in some instances, the capillaries may rupture and fail to heal. They can then form open sores or ulcers that can be very painful and cause swelling. This swelling can then increase your risk of ulcers, creating a vicious cycle. In the event ulcers get infected, you may develop a serious disease called cellulitis.
As mentioned, the compromised blood flow in spider veins can cause pressure buildup in the veins. This pressure can cause your capillaries to rupture, leading to discoloration. And while this form of internal bleeding is often minor, it can damage surrounding tissue and cause inflammation. This can make your skin, which is just above the capillaries, very fragile to injury. If you get injured in this state, you may bruise or bleed more readily than usual, leading to excessive blood loss.
Problematic spider veins can be painful – so much so that they prevent you from engaging in everyday activities. Over time, you may find yourself moving your legs differently or avoiding certain motions. This can limit your mobility, change your posture or gait, and more.
Schedule a Leg Veins Screening Today
According to statistics, about 4 in every 10 women and 2 in every 10 people will develop spider veins or varicose veins at some point in their lives. Spider veins are often a cosmetic problem – they look bad and can appear in unflattering areas of the body. However, in some cases, they can indicate a serious complication. This is why it is important to schedule a regular screening. Your vein specialist can help you diagnose and treat possible problems before they endanger your life.