If you have a family member with spider veins, you might wonder if you’re destined to develop them too. It’s true that about 90% of individuals with spider veins have a family history of them, but genetics isn’t the only risk factor.
If you have spider veins and don’t like the way they look, our team at Comprehensive Vascular Care can help. Our vascular and endovascular surgeons offer specialized spider vein treatment in Novi and Southfield, Michigan. In addition to treating varicose veins and spider veins, we also want to help you prevent the recurrence of spider veins when possible.
We’ve put together this guide to let you know about the top five risk factors for spider veins and how we can help if you already spot the tell-tale signs of spider veins.
Understanding spider veins
Spider veins are small damaged veins that appear as red, purple, or blue lines through your skin. They typically spread out like a spider web on your face, legs, or ankles — hence the name spider veins.
Spider veins are a type of venous insufficiency that develop if the one-way valves in your veins stop functioning correctly. This is what causes your normally invisible veins to become discolored and visible.
Spider veins don’t cause the lumps and bulges associated with varicose veins. Spider veins may not cause discomfort — although they can sometimes cause achiness or burning sensations — but their appearance can negatively impact your self-confidence.
Factors that increase your risk of developing spider veins
When it comes to spider veins, there are some risk factors that you can avoid and some that are beyond your control. Here are five things that contribute to the development of spider veins.
As you age, the valves in your veins can slowly start to weaken. This causes your blood to leak back through the valves and pool up, leading to those visible webs of blue or purple veins. Not only do your valves weaken, but your calf muscles may also weaken as you age. Your calf muscles play a big role in helping your blood return back up your leg to return to your heart.
2. Your family members have spider veins
If you have family members with spider veins, you have an increased risk of developing them yourself. Spider veins run in families.
3. Hormonal changes
Hormones are essential chemical messengers that help many of your important bodily functions and processes occur, but high levels of certain hormones can have surprising effects on your body. Estrogen, for example, can weaken the valves in your veins.
Because of this, women are more likely to develop spider veins due to hormonal shifts associated with puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking hormones, either in birth control or hormone replacement therapy, can also increase your risk of developing weaker valves and spider veins.
4. A sedentary lifestyle
When your calf muscles move, they help the blood travel up your leg. Sitting for prolonged hours means your calf muscles have to work harder to circulate your blood. For this reason, a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of developing spider veins.
Unlike the previous three risk factors, this is one risk factor you can do something about. If you work at a desk and sit for prolonged hours, take regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around the office. You should also exercise regularly — even a simple walk around the block is good for your veins.
5. Being overweight or obese
Being overweight increases your risk of developing several different serious conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Carrying too much weight also puts added pressure on your veins, which can increase your risk of developing both spider veins and varicose veins. And it’s another risk factor you can control.
What are the treatment options for spider veins?
Even if you do your best to prevent spider veins, it’s possible that they still show up, and if that’s the case for you, the experts at Comprehensive Vascular Care can reduce the appearance of unsightly spider veins with sclerotherapy.
If you’re bothered by visible veins and want to explore your treatment options, call the office nearest to you to schedule an appointment. You can also request an appointment online through our website.