SpiderVeins image

The veins near the surface of our skin are called superficial veins.  They are connected with the deep veins which are encased by muscles and tissues. Generally speaking, blood travels from the superficial veins to the deep veins. From there, the blood travels through a network of larger veins back to the heart.  The veins have one-way valves to prevent the blood from back flowing and pooling. Overtime, these valves can fail to close tightly, thus allowing the blood to backflow.    Backflow means blood flowing the wrong way from deep veins to superficial veins through the faulty valves instead of going to the heart causing the superficial veins to bulge and twist resulting in painful unsightly varicose veins.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller and are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like spider webs with their short jagged lines. [1]

Some symptoms of varicose veins are:

  • Pain around the veins
  • Swelling, protruding and  bulging veins
  • Leg aching and feeling heavy
  • Itching and
  • Cramping at night.

Contributing factors of varicose veins may be:

  • Age (People in their second half life would be able to relate to this)
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Hereditary 
  • Prolong standing
  • Prior surgery or trama to the legs
  • Constipation can contribute to varicose veins
  • Female more prone than men due higher estrogen level
  • Sun exposure, which may cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person
How to reduce the risk of spider and varicose veins?
  1. Raise your legs above the level of the heart every half an hour
  2. Wear compression stockings or support stockings; such as Ted Kendall stockings or Jobst stockings#
  3. Avoid alcohol
  4. Avoid tight clothings such as girdles or belts
  5. Do not cross your legs
  6. If you are doing a desk bound job, get up and walk around every half hour
  7. Walk regularly to reduce the symptoms
  8. Yoga is an extremely good exercise especially the inversion poses## because it allows the blood to flow freely from the legs to the heart and ease the veinous reflux
  9. Wear sunscreen on your face
  10. Include high-fiber foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet since. Control your salt-intake. [2]
# This is called external compression therapy and the stockings are designed to reduce swelling in the lower extremities, thereby relieving some of the symptoms of varicose veins.  Compression stockings must fit properly, otherwise they may cause discomfort. [3]

## Inversion poses are those yoga poses that have your legs up and heads down.  Examples are Shoulder Stand, Head Stand and Hand Stand.

Generally, treatment would consist of schelotherapy and laser therapy for spider and smaller varicose veins.  For larger varicose veins that do not respond to schelotherapy, other options include surgery, endovenous laser and radiofrequency ablation may be considered. [4]

Sources:
1. Varicose and Spider Veins, Fequency Asked Questions, WomenHealth.gov
2. Tracee Cornforth, Preventing Varicose/Spider Veins, About.com

3. Howard C. Baron and Barbara A. Ross, Varicose Veins: A Guide to Prevention and Treatment, Facts On File Inc., 1995
4. Spider and Varicose Vein Slideshow: Causes, Before-and-After Treatment Images, WebMD

Disclaimer: This posting is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek qualified health-care professional's assistance before embarking on any health program.

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