‘Spider veins’, also known as ‘varicose veins’, are an unattractive and unpleasant type of vein that often appear on the legs, particularly of older women. For those with spider veins, it can be enough to make you not want to show off your otherwise attractive legs and can be a source of embarrassment or discomfort and sometimes pain.
Varicose veins are caused by a build up of blood in your lower legs that cause your veins to swell up and become darker in colour (blood is darker in our veins and blue-ish in colour because it has no access to the oxygen that turns it red). It can occur as a result of poor blood circulation which causes the blood to struggle to travel back up the body to the heart, but also as a result of pressure being placed consistently on the legs which can cause pressure to build up in the veins too, while this pressure also makes it harder again for the blood to circulate. As such varicose veins are also more likely to occur in those who spend a lot of time on their feet – perhaps those who work behind a counter in a superstore, as well as those who are overweight which means there is more weight and thus more pressure on the feet and legs. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to help reduce spider veins:
Promote good circulation with exercise: There is a genetic element to how efficient your circulation is, but exercise can almost always improve it, and particularly cardiovascular exercise. The reason for this is that during cardiovascular exercise our body is forced to pump the blood around our body more in order to supply the muscles with oxygen energy. This then trains the heart and means that it will pump more powerfully in future too.
Lower cholesterol: At the same time trying to lower cholesterol can also help in this pursuit as it will mean that your veins are less clogged up with fatty deposits thus making it easier to pump the blood around the body. You can achieve this by eating less saturated fat and by drinking more water and eating more fibre.
Maintain a good weight: Being overweight drastically increases your chances of developing spider veins as it will mean there is more weight going through your legs. Make sure then that you again exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. In other words then, varicose veins are an excuse to try and improve your health in all the ways you should already be aiming to improve your health.
Sclerotherapy: This is a treatment for varicose veins that injects a solution in order to close the veins in question so that the blood is redirected elsewhere. Once the spider veins have begun to fade, another injection is required to return the veins to normal.
Laser surgery: This uses lasers in order to fade the effected vein, but this is more for cosmetic purposes.
Try to spend less time on your feet: If you are on your feet all day at work then ask if you can use a chair or find another way to regularly take the pressure off – be sure to sit down during your lunch breaks. Hopefully once your employer sees how bad your legs have become, they will make arrangements for you.