February 24


Do Spider Veins become Varicose Veins?

By Dr. Edward Mackay

February 24, 2020

Do Spider Veins Become Varicose Veins

Spider veins versus varicose veins. Do spider veins become varicose veins, since these are both veins? Does one type of vein disease cause the other? Even though both are veins that are usually seen in the legs, there are quite a few differences between the two types of veins. Find out in this blog post by Dr. Mackay.

To learn more about vascular surgery, contact Dr. Mackay at 1-727-261-0047 or fill out an appointment request form.

How Varicose Veins Can Cause Spider Veins

Varicose veins can cause spider veins due to pressure in the legs. With varicose veins the blood accumulates in the larger veins, creating pressure in the legs. This pressure increases along with the excess blood is pushed back into small veins, causing spider veins. However, the alternative is not true, in that spider veins do not cause varicose veins. 

"Spider veins do not cause or become varicose veins. Varicose veins develop deep in the leg, while spider veins develop near the surface of the skin." - Dr. Edward Mackay

If you have spider veins and then develop varicose veins, it is only related to the progressive nature of venous disease and the genetic predisposition to develop varicose veins instead of a physiologic cause for spider veins to lead to varicose veins. In short, spider veins do not cause varicose veins.

About Spider Veins

  • Small veins in the skin that supply blood to the skin. 
  • Usually appear as a violet or red spiculated area on the legs. 
  • Do not cause pain and are of concern for their appearance and the fear that they may lead to more spider veins and the eventual development of varicose veins. 
  • Easily treatable, but new veins can appear even after treatment. 
  • Do not cause spider veins

Video: Spider Vein Prevention

Get great tips on how to prevent spider veins in the legs.

About Varicose Veins

  • Larger veins that are deeper in the leg, with the Saphenous vein being a main culprit. 
  • They are caused by excess blood in the vein that is unable to return to the heart from valves that leak, are unable to close properly, or reflux of blood back down the leg with closure of the valve. 
  • Are painful with swelling, cramping, and aching. 
  • Are visible on the skin surface as gnarled, swollen veins that become worse with standing or any pressure in the legs. 
  • Can cause non healing ulcers of the skin from small abrasions or damage to the skin, as proteins from the pooled blood leaks into surrounding tissue, preventing appropriate nutrients from reaching the skin level and a delay in healing. 

Cause of Vascular Disease

Venous disease is progressive and is widely due to genetic causes, which we cannot change. Other causes are obesity, lack of exercise, and static standing or sitting positions.

To learn more about vascular surgery, contact Dr. Mackay at 1-727-261-0047 or fill out an appointment request form.

Treatments for Spider Veins & Varicose Veins

Fortunately, there are treatments available for both spider and varicose veins, which can include veins stripping, sclerotherapy, laser light therapy, and endovascular laser therapy. Even though there are treatments, there is not an optimal way to prevent either from occurring due to the highly genetic reasons for developing venous disease.

Video: Sclerotherapy for Varicose Vein Treatment

Learn all about varicose veins treatment with sclerotherapy.

How to Prevent or Delay Venous Disease 

The best way to try and prevent or slow the progression of venous disease is to exercise regularly, particularly with swimming, walking, or biking, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining an appropriate weight. This may not be a full proof way to stop venous disease, but it may delay progression of venous disease.    

Video: Meet Dr. Mackay

Meet one of Tampa Bay's most trusted vascular surgeons. Dr. Edward Mackay has been helping clients prevent and treat vascular diseases. Click here to learn more about this board certified vascular surgeon.

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The Trusted Vein Expert in Tampa