Spider veins are small, thin lines often red, blue, or purple. They are typically flat but may be slightly raised. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are usually painless, though some people report minor itching or pain. Spider veins are more of a cosmetic issue that is treated through sclerotherapy.
It’s important to differentiate between varicose veins and spider veins. Varicose veins pose serious health risks, so you should speak with your physician if you think you may suffer from a vein condition. Read more about the difference here.
Many wonder if there is a connection between weight loss and spider veins. To look at that relationship, it’s essential to understand how spider veins form.
How do spider veins form?
Typically seen in the legs, hand, or face, spider veins are caused by unhealthy valves inside feeder veins. Instead of flowing upwards towards the heart, blood flows backward, which leads to backed-up blood or blood pooling in the vein.
Some causes of spider veins are unknown. However, certain factors can lead to spider veins. When women are pregnant, they have increased blood moving through the body and extra weight from the fetus, putting more pressure on leg veins. Genetics also plays a role; those who have family members who suffer from spider veins at an increased risk of developing them. Age is another risk factor as the valves in veins weaken over time. Hormonal treatment that includes estrogen can cause spider veins, and they are typically found more often in women. Other risk factors include sitting or standing for long periods and a previous blood clot.
Does being overweight cause spider veins?
Spider veins can occur because of a person’s weight. Extra body weight puts more pressure on the leg veins, which can cause them to weaken. Unfortunately, once a spider vein appears, losing weight cannot make it go away. However, losing weight can help prevent the formation of new spider veins, which is why your physician may advise weight loss if you have vein conditions.
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