Abnormal veins are a common problem
Approximately 80 million Americans suffer from abnormal leg veins. The diagnosis of venous disorder encompasses a wide clinical spectrum from small broken blood vessels called spider veins or "telangiectasias" to large, sometimes painful bulging veins called varicose veins.
The mildest form of venous disease is spider veins or "telangiectasias." These red to red-purple veins of very small diameter most commonly occur on the lower legs but may also be present on the thighs and occasionally other areas of the body. If no other obvious signs of venous disease is present, spider veins are quite amenable to treatment with sclerotherapy
Factors leading to Spider Veins, Varicose Veins, and Venous Disease
Venous disease has a strong genetic component but other noninherited factors play a role in the formation of spider veins and varicose veins. Hormone therapy, pregnancy, prolonged standing or sitting, as well as blunt trauma can lead to the appearance of these abnormal vessels.
Symptoms associated with Spider Veins and Varicose Veins
Symptoms often accompany the presence of spider veins and varicose veins. Aching, leg "heaviness," pain, itching, lower leg swelling, skin pigmentation, and even skin ulcers may accompany visible abnormal veins. Bulging varicose veins are often symptomatic. They may sometimes be treated with injection sclerotherapy. An ultrasound evaluation may be advised in individuals with significant vein disease. Bulging veins may require surgical treatment using endovenous laser ablation
, to close off dysfunctional and abnormal sections of affected leg veins.
The Importance of Compression Therapy
Graduated compression therapy is an important mainstay of continued treatment in significant vein disease. This is especially important in individuals that must endure prolonged standing on a regular basis, or long period of inactivity (such as long plane flights or car rides).