They’re called spider veins for a reason: they not only resemble a spider’s web but may have snuck up on you, too.

What Are Spider Veins?

They’re called spider veins for a reason: they not only resemble a spider’s web but may have snuck up on you, too.

Spider veins most often are red or blue and appear on the legs and feet, but they also can creep up on the face.

Wherever you discovered them, there’s no doubt that spider veins can trigger some alarm. But as with any new affliction, it’s wise to educate yourself so that you can be proactive in mitigating both the fear and any discomfort you may feel.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Like many people coming to terms with the presence of spider veins, you might be wondering, “What did I do to cause them?” In all likelihood, the answer is, “Nothing at all.”

Spider veins are a milder form of varicose veins, which is good news right from the start. They can develop as blood circulates in your body, or as arteries carry blood from your heart to your tissues and your veins return blood to your heart and your body.

By virtue of where they’re located, the veins in your legs and feet are placed under additional strain: the veins here must work against gravity to return blood to your heart. The natural acts of standing and walking intensifies this pressure, which is why spider veins most often develop in the legs and feet.

Note the contributing factors

This said, certain factors can exacerbate the presence of spider veins – some of which are beyond your control. They include:

  • Gender – Women are more likely to develop spider veins, especially as they deal with the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause.
  • Age –  Veins often lose their elasticity with age, causing blood that should move toward the heart to flow backward instead.
  • Family history –  Like other ailments, spider veins “run” in family health history charts.

Some contributing factors of spider veins remain with your control, including:

  • Obesity, which places additional pressure on veins.
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time – inducing that “numb” feeling when you finally do stand up or change positions.

Step into action

You can mitigate mild discomfort from spider veins – and slow or prevent the development of varicose veins – by:

  • Shedding excess weight
  • Following a low-salt diet to prevent water retention
  • Exercising, especially walking
  • Changing position frequently to avoid prolonged periods of sitting and standing
  • Elevating your legs above your heart to improve circulation

If you cannot find relief, or your discomfort ratchets up to pain, it’s time to put your care in the best hands possible: The Vascular Experts. They’ve been providing compassionate care to people with both spider and varicose veins throughout southern Connecticut and New York since 2001.


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