About 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem. Varicose veins affect half of people 50 years and older.
Source: U.S. Health and Human Services
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Years of spending hours on her feet as a nurse left Paula Lawless with spider veins decorating her legs.
She says they looked like tiny red lines. She had one obvious cluster and some she couldn't see on the back of her leg, too.
Health experts say the veins themselves are relatively harmless. Jamie Fowles of the Cotton-O'Neil Vein Clinic at Topeka's Cotton-O'Neil Heart Center says spider veins are usually small vessels running just under the skin. She says they appear when there is a buildup of pressure in the vein system. Since they're closest to the surface, they appear first. She says many times women will notice they've developed them during pregnancy.
Fowles says, unlike varicose veins, spider veins don't tend to cause pain or swelling. However, they can make people self conscious. A procedure called sclerotherapy can help.
During the procedure, a fine needle is used to inject a special solution into the spider veins. Fowles says these medications change the inside lining of the vein and cause them to close down. With no blood flow, the veins fade and eventually may disappear all together. Fowles says the veins are not vital so there is no harm in shutting them down.
It usually takes three to four treatments to see significant results. Patients leave right away, and need only wear compression stockings for a few weeks.
While spider veins themselves are considered cosmetic, Fowles says they can be a warning you're prone to develop painful varicose veins in the future and should take precautions. She suggests wearing compression stockings when on your feet a lot, elevate legs at night and increase activity, so the contraction of muscles can assist in moving blood out of the legs.
Most insurance won't cover sclerotherapy since it's considered cosmetic.. Treatment is about 150-dollars for 30 minutes.
Learn more by contacting the Cotton-O'Neil Vein Center at 785-290-VEIN. They do consultations in Topeka and Manhattan.