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How do spider veins change over time?

This question was asked in Lenexa, Kansas and has 7 answer(s) as of 08/12/2013.
Do spider veins continue to spread? How high should I elevate my legs?


Doctors Answers (7)

Spider veins are a sign of vein disease. Over time you can develop more of them as well as deeper varicose veins. It is best to get evaluated and treated before it gets worse and more difficult to treat.

People who inherit spider veins continue to develop new ones during their lifetime. Leg elevation won't stop them from developing but may provide relief from discomfort; elevate so that the legs are at least level with the heart.

Spider veins are small fine red to purple colored surface veins that are the result of small injuries or repeat traumas (normal wear and tear) and increased venous pressures. Over time the spider veins may be stable and unchanging or they can continue to accumulate with increasing numbers of spider veins, often over areas of the lateral thigh, knees and shin. Walking and exercise is beneficial while prolonged standing and wearing higher heeled shoes will add to vein problems. If you have to stand for prolonged periods in your everyday routine, consider wearing light weight compression hose at work, which will help prevent spider veins and improve leg circulation. Elevation of the legs is helpful for symptoms of fluid retention or leg swelling (edema) and will quickly decrease vein pressure (after prolonged standing) but is not going to effect the spider veins.

Spider veins vary from person to person. In some people (men and women) they may develop a small cluster or a few scattered vein which never change. In others, depending upon their heredity, they may spread, becoming larger and more dense. In people with extensive spider veins, we typically perform an ultrasound examination to rule out any underlying vein insufficiency. This can be with or without symptoms, with or without varicose veins. If you are in a job where you stand a lot, we recommend some sort of compression hose - these are not your grandmother's stockings. They can look like dress knee highs, sheer hose or athletic socks. They can slow down the development of new veins but won't prevent them and you have less tired legs and more energy at the end of the day.

They are a chronic problem that can be slowed by appropriate treatment and treatment plan. Elevating legs are only a part of helping alleviate symptoms caused by spider veins. If you have symptoms, insurance will pay for evaluation and treatment of underlying problems associated with chronic venous problems.

Over time, spider veins tend to spread or increase in size. Some factors you can control and some you can't. Elevating your legs has a very modest effect on the spread of spider veins.

Spider veins typically will spread over time. They can not only spread, but the veins you have can get bigger with time also. The best way to stop the progression of spider veins is the use of graduated compression stockings and exercise. Elevation can help when you are sitting but we can not live our life with our legs elevated. There are many good treatment options for spider veins and if they are bothering you, a consultation with a vein specialist would be beneficial.

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