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Ask Dr. Wishnew: Do spider veins get worse with age?

Spider veins that show up on your legs uninvited can be a concern, and we understand! After all, you may not know if they’re going to get worse over time or develop into varicose veins.

At The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates, we love to educate our patients about the venous issues that cause spider veins to develop, as well as how to prevent them and how we can treat them. All so you can get back to living your life! Check out our new series: Ask Dr. Wishnew!

Do spider veins get worse with age?

Here’s what Dr. Jenna Wishnew has to say:

Yes, they do.

Over time, veins dilate due to gravity and repeated stretching, causing the walls to lose their elasticity and strength. Additionally, advancing age causes repeated wear and tear on the valves. Eventually, the walls of the valve can become so stretched that they can no longer close properly. This is when you may begin to notice spider veins just under the surface of your skin. Typically, spider veins show up on the legs, but can also appear on ankles and even faces.

One other factor that plays into the development of spider veins is that, as we age, we often move our bodies less. This decreased level of physical activity reduces the “pumping” action of the calf muscle on the veins, which helps drive blood back to the heart.

How common are spider veins?

Half of women over the age of 65 have them, but they can affect people of all ages. In fact, they can even be hereditary. People who have spider veins in their 20s likely have an inherited predisposition for them. Spider veins present in people in their 30s are more likely the result of pregnancies. For people in their 40s, pregnancy spider veins can be present, but we also see evidence of the beginning of age-related dilation of the vein walls and failure of the valves. Beyond the age of 50, spider veins are most likely related to general vein incompetence.

When should I start worrying about my spider veins?

If your mom has spider veins, developed them early or excessively with pregnancy, you may struggle with spider veins, too. But that doesn’t mean spider veins are inevitable. With proper evaluation by a vein specialist, we can find vein problems early and prevent them from worsening or developing into varicose veins, which are larger than spider veins, rope-like, bulge through the skin and can be painful.

For some, spider veins are little more than a cosmetic concern, but for others, they can signal an underlying vein problem. Although many young people do deal with spider veins, we typically don’t see individuals in The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates until they become symptomatic later in life. Venous symptoms range from swelling in the lower legs or ankles to changes in skin color and texture.

The Vein Center: Treating Spider and Varicose Veins in Dallas, TX

At The Vein Center, we know veins. We are your go-to for helping you fully understand your options, and with guidance from our team of specialists, choose the right treatment for you.

An evaluation at The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates is non-invasive and involves the use of ultrasound to look at the size and flow of the veins. If the underlying vein is the problem, it can be treated first and the spider veins may resolve on their own. If spider veins remain, they can be treated with a minimally-invasive procedure that will close these veins and make them disappear. Other treatments we might recommend may include exercise, compression therapy and weight loss.

Not sure if you should seek treatment? Take our Vein Self-Test to find out!

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Meet Dr. Wishnew

Jenna Wishnew, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon at Lam Vascular & Associates. She has extensive experience in wound care, using this expertise to treat varicose veins, venous insufficiency and associated wounds at The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates.

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Schedule your evaluation at The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates today. Enjoy healthy legs for a healthy life!

The information contained in this website is neither intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate or best care for any given health issue, nor is it intended to be used as a substitute for the independent judgment of a physician for any given health issue. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history. Please seek physician's advice. Like any procedure, it may come with benefits, risks or side effects associated. Click here for additional information.

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