Thread Veins: Cases, Symptoms and Treatment
Thread veins are also known as spider veins, and broken veins are medically known as telangiectasia. They are made of small blood vessels that are close to the surface of the skin. Thread veins tend to look like thin, squiggly lines and are sometimes blue, red or purple in colour. They tend to be more visible on the face and legs.
There are still no clear causes known for thread veins, but it’s clear that they appear more often as people age because skin loses its elasticity. Women tend to be more prone to thread veins because of hormones released during pregnancy and menopause, but men can also get them. Some people inherit a tendency to get thread veins. Other known causes are: exposure to extreme climates, too much tanning, radiotherapy, medicines that contain steroids, sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight. People who work in jobs that require long periods of standing may find that their thread veins get worse, but these jobs do not actually cause the problem. Using birth control pills or a history of conditions that put a lot of pressure on the stomach, such as using girdles, constipation, and tumours, can also cause thread veins to appear.
Though thread veins are not a dangerous health condition, the number of veins increases with age and it’s far easier to treat them when patients are younger. The condition is most common in the legs because the veins there work harder to get blood to the heart. Legs also have to carry most of the bodies weight and as such, are under the most pressure.
Common symptoms of thread veins are:
- Restless legs
- Pain that gets worse after standing for long time periods
- A rash that causes irritation and/or itching
Thread veins may also cause or increase the risk of other more serious health problems, such as:
- Deep vein thrombosis: A blood clot in the vein. This causes a feeling of pulling on the calf, redness, swelling, excess warmth, and pain.
- Bleeding: When veins get too big the skin around them may become thinner. If there is an injury in that area blood loss will be more significant.
- Skin ulcers or sores: Long-term blood back-up turns into sores and skin sores that are hard to heal. At times reparation of the vein is required to ensure the problem is reversed.
- Superficial thrombophlebitis: A clot of blood forms under the skin. This may cause swelling and pain, redness in the skin, tenderness, and warmness.
Advanced Dermatology has several treatment options and advice available for patients who want to deal with their thread veins. These include:
- Elevate your legs: It helps to lift your legs as you sit so that thread veins are prevented. However, this is only a small prevention mechanism.
- Compression therapy: compression stockings are available that help apply pressure around areas affected by thread veins. These help people with minor problems deal with thread veins deal with the problem and use lifestyle changes to their advantage.
- Laser treatment: this is especially helpful if you don’t get desired results even when you lift your legs or use compression therapy. A qualified physician performs laser treatment by using a handheld device that emits a laser to close up the unhealthy veins. This will cause blood to flow via healthier veins. Generally patients require 2-3 treatments to get desired results and they must keep up with lifestyle changes that will prevent thread veins from forming in the healthier veins. Advanced Dermatology uses Syneron’s system to safely treat thread veins that cause lesions.