The tiny, web-like veins known as spider veins are especially common in women. They typically show up on the face and legs, and you don’t have to live with them. While spider veins affect many people, male and female, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing them. If you do develop spider veins, effective treatments are available.
While there’s no foolproof way to prevent spider veins, with a few practical tips, you can help keep your circulatory system healthy, lowering the chances that spider veins will appear.
What are spider veins and how do they develop?
Spider veins are the smaller version of varicose veins. These twisted veins, visible through the skin, take on a spider web-like pattern. They often spread across the thighs and legs and sport a bluish, purple color. They occur when the valves that keep blood flowing in the right direction to the heart become damaged and fail to function properly.
Instead of keeping blood flowing one way, these damaged valves allow blood to backflow and pool inside the vein. As pressure builds up, it weakens the artery walls, causing the characteristic twisted appearance. The resulting swelling causes spider veins. Varicose veins occur when the blood vessels are larger and the swelling more prominent.
Spider and varicose veins are not only unsightly, they can sometimes cause circulatory complications. Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk.
Spider veins commonly show up on the legs due to the pressure of the body and gravity. Getting plenty of physical activity strengthens the legs and improves circulation and vein strength. When you engage in regular physical activity, you reduce the chances of developing spider veins.
If you already have spider veins, getting enough exercise can reduce your symptoms and slow the progression, reducing the risk of developing new spider veins.
Talk to your doctor about the best exercise for your situation. For most patients, simply walking offers benefits. Walking increases circulation in the legs, so the veins in your legs function better.
#2: Control your weight
Being overweight puts added pressure on the veins in your legs. This extra burden raises the risk of your veins becoming damaged, paving the way for spider veins to develop. If you’re overweight, weight loss plan to help you bring your weight within a normal range will help reduce your risk of not only spider veins, but various chronic diseases.
Don’t feel discouraged if you have a lot of weight to lose. You can reap health benefits by losing just 10% of your current body weight. That’s just 18 pounds for someone who weighs 180 pounds.
#3: Wear sunscreen
Collagen is a critical component of your skin and other connective tissues. It helps maintain the integrity of your skin so it is the right thickness and flexibility. When collagen levels decline, skin becomes thin and the veins closer to the surface are easily visible. Wearing sunscreen protects your skin from damage by the sun’s harmful rays and helps keep collagen levels healthy, reducing the risk of spider veins.
#4: Avoid standing or sitting for long periods
Did you know that standing for long periods places extra pressure on the veins in your legs? Standing in one position for prolonged periods can damage the veins in your legs. If you have a job that requires standing, you can lessen the pressure on your legs by shifting your weight regularly.
Sitting for extended periods of time can also pose a problem, especially if you sit with your legs crossed. Prolonged sitting can cause blood to pool in your legs. If you must sit for an extended period, take regular breaks to get up and move around. This will help keep your veins strong and functioning properly.
#5: Elevate your legs
When you have the opportunity to rest after a long day, elevating your legs above your heart can help reduce the strain. This helps blood flow out of the legs and back to the heart, taking a bit of the pressure off the veins in the legs.
Regularly elevating your legs while resting, whether you’re reading a book or watching television, can help prevent damage to the veins in your legs and keep your circulatory system healthy.
At Cardiovascular Care Center and Vascular Esthetic Center, your vascular wellness is our number one priority. To learn more about treatment for circulatory issues, including spider and varicose veins, schedule an appointment by calling one of our greater Los Angeles, CA, area offices, or booking online.