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The veins in our bodies carry oxygenated blood from our heart to every part of our body. After the oxygenated blood cells release their oxygen, they are pumped through more veins back to the heart, from the heart to the lungs, back to the heart, and the cycle continues. At different points in our life, we may experience a backup of blood flow during this cycle, resulting in varicose or spider veins. While many think that varicose and spider veins are the same, they are in fact very different.

Both types of vein abnormalities are commonly found on the legs of men and women and are the result of a backup of blood flow inside the veins. After the heart delivers blood to the legs, the muscles in the legs actually help return the blood back to the heart. Inside the veins are tiny, flexible valves whose purpose is to allow the blood to only flow in one direction. If these valves become weak and do not close fully, blood moving from the legs up to the heart can seep back down, causing it to back up like a traffic jam on the freeway.

When the blood backs up, it causes the vein to bulge. When your veins become enlarged from this, they take on the thick rope-like appearance of varicose veins. They may also appear as skin-tone, blue, or red. Varicose veins can be a symptom of a problem such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot in a vein. However, the best way to be certain whether you need corrective procedures done is to contact a vein specialist or vascular center. It is especially critical to contact them if you are noticing leg heaviness, pain, or tender, bulging veins.

Spider veins are considerably smaller than varicose veins. They acquired their name from the red or blue tendrils visible on the skin, because they can look like spider legs. Spider veins can also be a result of hormonal changes, injuries, and even sun exposure. Spider veins are generally less threatening to your health than varicose veins.

Varicose and spider veins can occur for a multitude of reasons, but they are more common in people who are older, especially above 50 years old. They are common during pregnancy, but usually subside within 3 months after giving birth. Obese people and those who are not active or sit down a lot are at risk of developing varicose veins because the blood tends to pool, especially in the legs, with inactivity. Exercise can reduce the likelihood of developing these issues, but should you need treatment, the vein specialists in Houston area such as Premier Vein can help revitalize your legs and bring back your confidence.