Causes of spider veinsThe appearance of unattractive red, purple or blue web-like formations on your legs, commonly referred to as spider veins, is the result of deteriorating blood vessels caused by weak connective and circulatory tissue. More than 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men in the U.S. suffer from vein disease. While age and family history are the most common causes of spider veins, other factors play a role.

Lack of movement

Our circulatory system relies on the aid of muscles to push oxygen-depleted blood from the feet back to the heart. The constant pressure from prolonged sitting and standing can cause vein walls to become stretched or distended. As a result, valves may no longer close properly, allowing blood to flow back down to the lower extremities. Poor circulation, leg pain and permanent vein damage are possible.

If you have a job that requires long periods of sitting or standing, doctors recommend taking frequent breaks to increase circulation by stretching, walking and elevating your legs.

Diabetes damage to blood vessels

Diabetes can negatively impact your health by causing damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your legs. Because diabetics cannot process glucose properly, glucose can build up in the bloodstream. This excess glucose may lead to a buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, weakening veins and artery walls. Constant uncontrolled high blood sugars have a detrimental effect on the circulatory system, so veins and their valves can, over time, become debilitated by high sugars. If you have varicose or spider veins and diabetes, it’s even more important that you get proper vein health check-ups and treatment at an early stage.

Pregnancy and hormones

During pregnancy, blood volume increases by 20 to 40 percent, and your veins have to work harder to keep up with the flow. The growing uterus places additional pressure on the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the legs and feet to the heart. This makes it even harder for blood to return to the heart and lungs for re-oxygenation.

Both the amount of blood in a pregnant woman’s body and the increased amount of progesterone can lead to the development of spider and varicose veins. Progesterone is the hormone that causes ligaments to loosen. It also causes other tissues to relax, including the walls of blood vessels. This can cause veins to enlarge.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, taking birth control pills may contribute to the formation of varicose or spider veins. Medications containing estrogen can affect the way blood clots form and can put some women at an increased risk for clot formation and other vein health issues.

Extra weight strains veins

Being overweight may lead to various health problems and put extra pressure on your veins. Too much pressure causes the veins to work harder to circulate the blood. While you may initially experience superficial spider veins, larger veins will start to bulge as the blood pools in the veins due to insufficient valves made worse by the extra weight.

While some varicose veins are simply cosmetic concerns, most are caused from vein disease.  Painful symptoms in the legs including aching, swelling and itching may occur. If neglected, varicose veins can have major implications for your health.

Symptoms of vein disease and treatment

The primary symptoms of vein disease are highly visible, twisted veins most commonly on the legs, which may cause pain, heaviness, swelling and achiness. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek treatment.

The vein specialists at VeinInnovations can ease the pain and appearance of your spider and varicose veins. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.