5333 McAULEY DRIVE, SUITE 4016 | P.O. BOX 992 | ANN ARBOR, MI 48106 | phone: 734.712.4310

Varicose Vein Questions

Below is a list of questions commonly asked by Restoration Vein Care patients concerning varicose and spider veins.

We are always happy to answer any questions you have; please call us at (734) 712-4310 so we can help. Please browse our site to review treatment options and get more information on how we can help you.

There are also a number of great websites to find additional information.

rethinkvaricoseveins.com

nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/varicoseveins.html

healthyveins.org


Common Questions

What are varicose veins?
What are spider veins?
What causes varicose and spider vein?
Can men have varicose veins?
Can I be cured of my varicose veins?
What may happen if I don't get my veins treated?"
What is a skin ulcer?

What are varicose veins?

Arteries bring blood from the heart to the extremities. Veins, by virtue of one-way valves, channel blood back to the heart. When obstruction is present, or when prolonged pressure is placed on the veins, the vein wall stretches and the valves no longer close properly. The veins in the legs that are close to the surface of the skin enlarge and result in what is commonly called varicose and/or spider veins.

veins normal and poor

Pain in the legs is frequently related to varicose veins in the lower limbs. Symptoms include feelings of fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, itching, and cramping. These symptoms often are accompanied by swelling, which frequently appears after long hours of standing. Vein disorders are not always visible, and diagnostic techniques are important tools in determining the cause and severity of the problem. A physical examination and the use of noninvasive diagnostic tests such as duplex ultrasound scanning (a test which determines how blood is flowing) may be used to evaluate the extent of the disease.
back to top

What are spider veins?

Spider veins, or broken capillaries, are medically referred to as telangiectasias. They are dilated capillary veins less than 2mm in diameter that exist just below the surface of the skin on the legs or face. Spider veins are blue, red, or purplish in color with a web-like or linear appearance. Spider veins often occur in conjunction with varicose veins due to increased venous pressure.
back to top

What causes varicose and spider veins?

Heredity is the number one contributing factor causing varicose and spider veins. Women are more likely than men to suffer from varicose veins. More than 50 percent of American women with varicose veins experience varying degrees of discomfort as a result. Other predisposing factors include advancing age, careers requiring prolonged standing, and obesity.

Other influencing factors such as pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, and estrogen replacement therapy, may contribute to the disease process. As many as 70-80 percent of pregnant women develop varicose veins during the first trimester. Pregnancy causes an increase in hormone levels and blood volume which in turn causes veins to enlarge. In addition, the enlarged uterus causes increased pressure on the veins. Approximately 60-70 percent of varicose veins due to pregnancy will disappear within about three months after delivery

Since females usually have multiple risk factors for the development of varicose veins, about three fourths of the persons who have varicose veins are women and 25% are men. .
back to top

Can men have varicose veins?

Many of the 80 million Americans who suffer from venous insufficiency are men.

man with varicose veinsMost people are aware why women are at risk for varicose veins, but men seem to be forgotten. Some of the major factors leading to varicose veins in men are heredity, age, occupations that require standing for long periods of time and trauma to the leg(s). 43% of men ages 45-64 have symptomatic varicosities. The risk for varicose veins increases with age because there is a loss of tissue tone, a loss of muscle mass, and weakening of the venous walls.

Men with varicose veins are not treated as often as women because women are much more likely to complain of aches and pains in their legs. Bulging varicose veins can be unsightly as well as painful. Men need to be educated regarding the health of their legs and that the treatments available are just as effective for men.

Men can also develop spider veins. Once spider veins develop, there is no way for the body to cure them. Men that have spider veins often do not consider them to be a cosmetic problem because the veins are usually concealed by hair growth on their leg. However, if a man is having symptoms or would like treatment on spider veins sclerotherapy is an effective treatment.
back to top

Can I be cured of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are a problem that can be successfully treated but the disorder cannot be permanently cured. The treatment of the abnormal veins does not remove the original tendency of a patient to develop varicose veins. Therefore, many patients need to return for maintenance treatments after their initial treatment is completed.
back to top

What may happen if I don't get my veins treated?

Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic problem. If left untreated varicose veins may progress to a more serious vein (venous) disease, called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI is a progressive disease that can result in increasingly serious signs and symptoms if not treated, including leg pain, swelling, restlessness, skin damage and ulcers.
back to top

What is a skin ulcer?

A skin ulcer is caused by a venous reflux disorder that is called a venous stasis ulcer. Early signs that a venous stasis ulcer may develop include darkening of the skin also known as hyper-pigmentation.


back to top