For most people, spider veins are not a major medical issue.  However, the contrast between their red, blue, or purple appearance and the skin can become a significant cosmetic problem that robs self-confidence.  In some patients, these blood vessels actually cause discomfort.  Understanding the associated risk factors helps individuals take preventive steps and experience less anxiety about treatment.

What Exactly is a Spider Vein?

Its official designation is a telangiectasia, according to Wake Forest® Baptist Health.  This small, threadlike blood vessel takes its name from a spider’s web.  While these veins are usually small, they can get bigger over time.

Some healthcare providers consider a spider vein a type of varicose vein.  Others indicate they are similar but distinct types of abnormal vessels.  While spider-like veins are typically cosmetic issues on the legs, ankle, thighs, or face, Detroit vein doctors note that in some patients, they cause leg symptoms like aching, throbbing, and itching.

The Cleveland Clinic estimates that up to 50 percent of American adults experience these atypical veins.  They are significantly more prevalent in females than in males and are the result of blood pooling inside a vessel.

What Are the Most Common Risk Factors?

The following are the most frequent spider vein risk factors doctors see in patients who undergo Detroit vein treatment:

  • A family history of vein problems
  • Increasing age
  • Extended periods of sitting or standing
  • Being obese or even overweight
  • Hormonal fluctuations during a pregnancy
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Birth control pills
  • Overly tight clothing
  • Crossing the legs for long periods
  • Prior blood clots
  • Vein injury

Disorders causing increased abdominal pressure like liver disease or heart failure
Less common are:

  • Use of topical steroids
  • Ultraviolet ray exposure
  • Prior vein surgery
  • Skin trauma or injury

Patients with some of these risk factors are able to help prevent the disorder through lifestyle changes such as losing weight.

Treatment Options at a Michigan Vein Clinic

Physicians use two primary types of treatment, according to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Sclerotherapy, the so-called gold standard of treatment for this disorder and also a varicose vein treatment, involves injecting a special solution known as a sclerosing agent into a targeted vein.  The job of this agent, which might be a liquid or a foam, is to irritate the walls of the vein, causing them to seal shut.  The body eventually resorbs the vessel, and healthy neighboring veins take over its workload.

The second type of treatment is the use of laser energy, which eliminates a blood vessel without injuring the patient’s skin.  Both of these therapies are normally outpatient procedures.

In addition to understanding spider vein risk factors, it is important for patients to realize that no treatment can prevent the formation of new abnormal vessels.  For this reason, some individuals schedule periodic treatments.