What are Varicose and Spider Vein Disease?

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large, bulging, and dilated veins that protrude out of the skin’s surface. They often look like large masses of twisted, knotted, and tangled ropes or branches, and they might be blue, green, purple, or skin-colored. Varicose veins are essentially unhealthy blood vessels with excessive blood, usually caused by an underlying circulatory disorder called “chronic venous insufficiency.”

If you have varicose veins, you must consult our vein doctors in Long Island for diagnosis and treatment. Varicose veins may occur due to numerous factors, such as genetic predisposition, pregnancy, hormone changes, age, and more. However, genetics is the leading risk factor for varicose veins and vein disease. If your mother and father have a history of vein problems, you have a high probability of varicose veins.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are unhealthy blood vessels that appear just underneath the skin’s surface. They look like dense clusters of red, blue, or purple blood vessels spreading outwards from a central position, similar to spider webs. The official medical terminology for spider veins is “telangiectasias.”

Spider veins are often symptomatic of an underlying medical condition called “chronic venous insufficiency.” This is a circulatory disorder wherein the collapse of vein valves deeper within the legs leads to the accumulation of blood in the leg veins, which, over time, leads to spider veins and varicose veins. Spider veins usually appear on the lower extremities, such as the legs and thighs, but they can also appear on other parts of the body.

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Vein Disease Symptoms

Rеѕtlеѕѕ lеgѕ ѕуndrоmе (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome is a condition wherein your legs feel itchy, jumpy, shaky, and you have an incessant desire to move them. This can prevent you from sleeping comfortably and also interfere with your day-to-day activities. Over time, persistent restlessness can also lead to anxiety, chronic discomfort, and insomnia. 

Restless legs syndrome is often symptomatic of chronic venous insufficiency, an underlying condition wherein blood accumulates in your leg veins due to malfunctioning vein valves. As such, the symptoms of restless leg syndrome can worsen with inactivity. Our spider vein and varicose vein centers in Long Island always diagnose the underlying root cause to provide long-lasting relief from restless leg syndrome.

LEG CRAMPS

Leg cramps are painful, involuntary contractions of the muscles in your legs, specially the thighs and calves. A painful leg cramp originating in the calves is known as a “charley horse.” While most people experience leg cramps occasionally, frequent leg cramps are often symptomatic of other factors, such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, or vein problems.

If you drink enough water and eat a diet with sufficient potassium and magnesium, your frequent leg cramps are probably symptomatic of chronic venous insufficiency. Furthermore, you can identify leg cramps caused by vein disease if they worsen at the end of the day or wake you up in the middle of the night. Our vein centers in Long Island will determine if you have underlying vein disease and recommend the ideal treatment for leg cramps.

LEG HEAVINESS

Leg heaviness is a condition wherein your legs feel extremely heavy, especially at the end of the day. Exercising might improve the symptoms, but the heaviness returns soon after. Chronic venous insufficiency, a condition wherein blood accumulates in your leg veins, is often responsible for leg heaviness, especially if your symptoms worsen at the end of the day or while sitting still for long periods.

If you’re suffering from leg heaviness, you might also have spider veins and varicose veins. If you identify the signs and symptoms of leg heaviness and vein disease, please consult our Harvard-trained vein doctors in Long Island. We’ll diagnose and treat the root cause of your leg heaviness, ensuring long-lasting relief.

LEG SWELLING

Leg swelling is a condition wherein your legs appear swollen. This can be caused by numerous underlying factors, such as high salt intake, heart failure, kidney failure, and vein problems. Chronic venous insufficiency, a condition wherein blood accumulates in your leg veins, is one of the most common root causes of leg swelling (besides high salt intake). 

Leg swelling caused by vein disease often worsens at the end of the day or after long periods of sitting or standing still. Leg swelling is also associated with tightness and discomfort in your legs. It can also cause hyperpigmentation, chronic skin discoloration, and hair loss. Our spider vein and varicose vein centers in Long Island identify and treat the root cause of leg swelling to ensure long-lasting relief.

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Causes of Vein Disease

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency is an extremely common (and extremely underdiagnosed) circulatory disorder. The leg veins contain valves that act as one-way doors, allowing blood to flow towards the heart but not backward due to gravity. When your vein valves malfunction or weaken (due to age, hormonal changes, and other factors), blood flows backward and accumulates in the leg veins due to gravity.

Over time, blood accumulates in the leg veins and prevents optimal blood circulation to the heart. The increased pressure of blood against the vein walls leads to vascular dilation, which, in turn, leads to spider veins and varicose veins. Other symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include leg heaviness, leg swelling, leg cramps, and restless leg syndrome.

Risk Factors for Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Numerous factors increase your likelihood of spider veins and varicose veins. Genetic predisposition is one of the leading risk factors for spider veins. If your mom and dad have a history of vein problems, you’re likely to get spider veins at some point. Additionally, estrogen and progesterone (female hormones) are more likely to cause spider veins. As such, you’re more likely to get spider veins if you’re female, especially if you’re also pregnant or undergoing hormonal changes. The risk of spider veins also increases if you have an occupation that involves long periods of sitting or standing for long periods, such as a desk job, teaching, nursing, driving, etc.

Varicose veins have similar risk factors as spider veins, especially since both are symptomatic of chronic venous insufficiency. If your mother and father have a history of vein problems, you have a high risk of varicose veins. If you have a job that involves sitting or standing still for long periods, you have a high risk of varicose veins. You also have a higher risk of varicose veins if you’re female, taking birth control pills, or undergoing hormone therapy. All of these factors increase the risk of vein problems. If you notice spider veins or varicose veins, please schedule an appointment at our spider vein and varicose vein centers in Long Island. Our vein doctors will diagnose and treat the root cause of your vein problems.

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