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What is the Difference Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Some people use the terms spider veins and varicose veins interchangeably. This is because they may not know the difference between these two very different conditions. To help you understand the key differences between spider veins and varicose veins, we’ve created this informative blog post.

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What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small red, purple, and blue vessels that twist and turn. In most cases, they are less than 1 mm in diameter and look like a spider web or branches. They are easily visible through the skin and are often found on the legs and face.

Fortunately, spider veins are usually painless and do not cause serious symptoms or lead to health complications. While you do not have to treat spider veins, you may do so for cosmetic reasons.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are large, swollen blood vessels that also twist and turn. They typically develop in the legs and can be seen through the skin as well. If you have varicose veins, you may experience symptoms such as feelings of heaviness, swelling, or discomfort in the legs.

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These veins arise when the valves and walls of your veins become weak and blood pools into your veins. The pooling raises the pressure of them and causes them to enlarge. You’ll likely require treatment to prevent your varicose veins from worsening and improve your symptoms and overall quality of life.

Causes of Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

While spider veins are usually the result of genetics, hormones, prolonged sitting or standing, and obesity can contribute to them as well. Varicose veins are typically the result of malfunctioning valves. While men and women can both develop these conditions, they are more common in women.

Should I Seek Treatment?

If you’re living with varicose veins, it’s a good idea to treat them in order to find relief from the pain and discomfort they are causing. If you have spider veins, however, you do not have to treat them but can do so if they make you feel insecure and you would feel more confident without them.


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Read from real patients about their experiences with Dr. Schwartz and his team at Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz.

Take the Next Step

If you have further questions about the difference between spider veins and varicose veins, we encourage you to schedule a Free Vein Screening* with Dr. Craig Schwartz at Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz. Call us at (913) 451-8346 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to meeting you!

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