Spider veins or varicose veins is a common problem among men and women. These are the lumpy, dark-looking veins usually appearing in green or purple in color that is visible at the back of the knees, hands, and feet. Varicose and spider veins look almost the same with slight differences. Spider veins are finer and smaller. They are less likely to cause discomfort and are typically visible on the surface of the skin. Varicose are larger and may cause pain on affected areas of the body.
The Department of Health Human Sciences estimates that about 55 percent of women and 45 percent of men suffer from varicose veins especially those aged 50 and above. Pregnant women are also vulnerable to developing spider veins due to hormonal imbalance. Varicose veins become annoying and uncomfortable.
Understanding Varicose and Spider Veins
Spider and varicose veins appear bluish or reddish in color due to the presence of deoxygenated blood. Aside from older people and pregnant women, teens who are in their puberty stage are most likely to have this condition.
Genetics is also a contributing factor why some people have spider veins and others do not. Varicose and spider veins become more noticeable to people with fair skin or those with problems in melanin supply. You can opt for conservative, less invasive, and non-invasive ways to get rid of them.
Regular exercise. People living sedentary lifestyles or those with poor posture are likely to develop spider veins. It is important for blood to circulate properly throughout the body to prevent inflammation. The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute says that abnormal postures like the head leaning forward or standing for extended periods of time constrict the blood flow.
It becomes difficult for the body to pump blood back to the heart, lungs, and other parts of the body if you stay inactive for a long time. Physical activities help normalize hormone levels. It also lowers blood pressure and can reduce weight dramatically. Overweight people are more prone to developing spider veins.
Specific routines that help get rid of varicose veins are leg lifts, side lunges, calf raises, and cycling. Walking and swimming relieve pressure on the feet; thus, reducing the appearance of varicose veins. Remember not to rush whenever you are cycling or walking as it will lead to muscle cramps. Apply cold compress on stiff or sore muscles every after workout. Compression stockings ensure proper blood flow even when you are in strenuous activities.
Prevent obesity. Overweight people are more vulnerable to develop varicose veins. Unlike in individuals with a healthy weight, varicose veins are less visible among obese people. Treatment becomes difficult because spider veins tend to grow up to four or five centimeters before it becomes noticeable. Effective weight management prevents constriction of blood flow because there are not excess fats compressing the muscles together.
Modify your diet. Sugar, caffeine, and processed foods contribute to poor blood circulation, hormonal imbalance, and unhealthy weight gain. A high-sodium diet can be dehydrating that can worsen the formation of varicose or spider veins. Choose an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and fruits like strawberries, cherries, and oranges.
Consume at least 30 to 40 grams of fiber daily to prevent constipation, bloating, and blood constriction. Vegetables, chia, flaxseed, legumes, and whole grains are packed with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E help prevent inflammation, strengthen the veins, and improve overall health status. Additionally, natural diuretics like fresh herbs, cucumber, celery, and asparagus help increase urination frequency and address retention of excess water in the body.
Pamper yourself with regular massages. Another way to improve blood circulation is through regular massage. Be careful though not to overdo massage therapies because it might cause more harm than good. People suffering from arterial blockage or even arthritis are advised to consider alternative treatments like acupuncture and massage. However, these should be regarded as treatments, but a means to relieve pain only.
Do an apple cider vinegar regimen. A lot of positive reviews have been given to the actual benefits of apple cider vinegar. Whether or not it has a direct effect on curing diseases is still debatable. You can apply cider vinegar for 30 minutes daily on the affected area to reduce the appearance of the varicose or spider veins.
Getting Rid of Spider Veins
- Be modest on alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol intake can cause the veins to dilate that lead to the formation of spider veins.
- Do not prolong crossing your legs when seating. Crossing your legs for prolonged periods of time prevent the blood from flowing freely.
- Stop smoking. Clinical studies have shown that people who smoke are likely to develop spider or varicose veins.
- Do not wear high heels all the time. Not only that it puts pressure on the legs, but you are also likely to develop bunions. Bunions are biologically present in everyone, but they get bigger through improper posture and severe pressure on the feet.
- Use sunscreen to reduce the appearance of spider veins. Exposing yourself to UVA and UVB can make the spider veins appear darker.
Aside from the conservative non-invasive measures discussed above, you can get rid of varicose or spider veins through the following medical procedures:
- Sclerotherapy. It is one of the most widely used treatment for varicose and spider veins because of accessibility and affordability. A saline solution or a particular detergent solution is injected directly into the vein. Changes take place in a span of three to six weeks, though it varies depending on the severity of the condition.
- Endovenous laser treatment. A slightly invasive procedure where a small laser tube is inserted into the vein. Laser pulses cause the vein to collapse. Local anesthesia is applied to manage pain.
- Radiofrequency occlusion. Similar to endovenous laser treatment only that this procedure uses a catheter. It delivers radiofrequency energies into the vein causing it to collapse and seal. This process only takes a while and can be done in an outpatient clinic that administers local anesthesia.
Also read: Best Curling Iron for Long Hair