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Things to Know about Varicose and Spider Veins

Author: Amitava Sarkar
by Amitava Sarkar
Posted: Jul 15, 2015

When the weather begins to warm, many women, and even men, begin to feel the strain to have attractive legs. For some, this may not be a possibility due to many underlying issues; health concerns, scars or weight issues can cause some to dread these warmer months. Those suffering with vein conditions will often wait as long as possible to finally put on shorts or skirts, as a way to hide any discoloration or misshapen veins. But varicose or spider veins are much more than unsightly problem; in fact, they reveal underlying health conditions. Over 80 million adults suffer with this condition, with 3 million cases presenting each year. Although there are many medical ways to manage this disorder, many sufferers will ignore the early signs and as a result, the risks increase. You don’t have to suffer with varicose or spider veins on your own. It’s best to talk with a specialist at the first sign of the condition to find a treatment designed to either reduce the appearance or to stop its growth. Understanding the condition will help you to decipher facts from myths to get it under control.

Myths and Real Causes

Most people can relate to the story of hearing a parent or relative chide crossing legs as a cause of varicose veins. Most children relented and uncrossed the legs, but there’s actually no truth to the claim. Wearing high heels also won’t contribute to developing the condition. Those who are experiencing the pooling of blood in their limbs, most commonly in their legs, developed the condition from sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time. Weight, certain types of birth control, smoking and a lack of daily exercise are also known causes for varicose and spider veins. Additionally, the condition is not merely cosmetic. Most sufferers have this impression, and, as a result, don’t seek medical help when the veins begin to appear. Although there are times when varicose veins aren’t a medical concern, you need to confirm this with a doctor to ensure you aren’t ignoring a more serious health issue. Varicose veins cause legs to feel tired, along with discomfort and swelling. Lastly, varicose veins may also contribute to deep vein thrombosis, circulation troubles and blood clots; all of which are major health risks.


People over the age of 50 are more likely than their younger counterparts to develop varicose veins. In fact, half of the senior population will suffer with some form of varicose or spider veins. Additionally, women are more likely to develop the condition than men. Statistically, 50 to 55 per cent of women will develop a vein disorder, in comparison to only 40 to 45 per cent of men. The reason that age plays such a factor in the development is due to faulty or damaged valves in the affected region. With age, our bodies begin to deteriorate, including the veins. When veins that help direct blood flow back to the heart are damaged, they cannot complete their task and the blood begins to pool. As this occurs, the veins weaken and swell, thus causing varicose and spider veins.

Varicose Versus Spider Veins

Although they are often grouped together, varicose veins aren’t the same as spider veins. Spider veins are thin blue vessels that can be seen under the skin and are usually just a cosmetic issue. The cause of spider veins is most often poor circulation and the formation of varicose veins. Wherein, varicose veins are much more severe. There are veins with a stretched out, rope-like appearance. These occur where blood has begun to pool due to faulty valves, therefore causing veins to protrude from the affected area. Commonly, sufferers of varicose veins are also plagued with spider veins.


Remaining active throughout your life is the best way to prevent the formation of varicose veins. The more active you are, while eating healthy food, the less likely you will be to develop the condition. The reason is that exercise promotes healthy circulation, while a healthy diet will keep off pounds. Climbing stairs, walking and swimming are some of the best exercises designed to maintain a healthy vascular system. For those already seeing smaller spider veins, simple toe-raises throughout the day can strengthen your calf muscles and veins. As excessive weight is a contributor to the development of the condition, losing weight will help to reduce their appearance and delay the formation of newly affected areas. Make sure to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time, as well. Your doctor may even recommend compression socks for more severe cases.

About the Author: Beth A. Stevens is a contributing author and former medical assistant. For over 20 years, she worked side-by-side with doctors in the vascular field. When she experienced varicose veins after retirement, she visited with the specialists at; they had the most experienced team in the area.

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Author: Amitava Sarkar

Amitava Sarkar

Member since: Nov 28, 2014
Published articles: 354

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