Venous insufficiency is one of the most common conditions. It can be caused by genetics, high blood pressure, heart disease, diet, a lack of exercise, congenital defects and countless other sources. The common thread with most manifestations of venous insufficiency is the fact that they deform the veins. They may enlarge them, change the way valves work in the veins and cause changes that can modify how the veins transport blood, water and nutrients through the body.

The most prominent way venous insufficiency can manifest is in the form of two visible conditions: spider veins and varicose veins. While these are both visible manifestations of one condition, they are very different diseases.

Understanding Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large blood vessels that become enlarged due to any number of factors. They are so large that they can both stretch significantly more than other veins in the body, and they can fill with even more blood. This allows them to create raised forms that can be seen and felt along the skin. Areas like the inside of the thigh, the ankle, the arm and the neck tend to be the areas where varicose veins develop due to the large blood vessels present.

When varicose veins manifest in a limb such as a leg, they tend to come with other conditions, such as swollen legs. This happens because a valve becomes deformed, which in turn substantially reduces the amount of blood that flows through a particular vein. Waste, water and blood tend to accumulate in the nearby tissue as a result.

Spider Veins Explained

The chief difference between spider veins and varicose veins is the fact that spider veins are typically smaller capillaries near the surface of the skin. They are not large enough to cause deformation like varicose veins, though extreme cases may present some finer details detectable by touch in certain areas.

Spider veins tend to manifest in the form of “branches” appearing blue, red or purple. The color is determined by where the vein is, and how much oxygen is present in the blood.

Spider veins can be significantly more intrusive than varicose veins. They tend to be more visible, and they tend to form on the face or the legs in more visible areas. This can substantially affect your appearance.

Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

The main difference between spider veins and varicose veins resides in the type of vein they affect. This can make varicose veins more threatening to your health than spider veins, but spider veins may be more of a detriment to your appearance.

Due to the amount of blood they carry, varicose veins may raise your risk of developing a blood clot. This clot could travel to your brain, lungs or another part of your body to create serious problems.

Treatment Options

The good news is that both conditions can be treated relatively easily. Everything from traditional sclerotherapy to laser treatments can eliminate these veins while reducing the negative effects they may have on your health and life. To learn more about your treatment options, make an appointment at the Advanced Vein Center in South Portland. We will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.