Are Spider Veins a Health Risk?

Apr 12, 2023
Are Spider Veins a Health Risk?
Spider veins can be more than a cosmetic problem. In fact, they can cause uncomfortable symptoms, and sometimes, they can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Learn what spider veins could be saying about your health and how we can treat them.

Spider veins are a common issue for both women and men. In fact, research shows that nearly everyone will have at least a few of these tiny, threadlike veins at some point during their lifetime.

Spider veins can certainly make you look older than you’d like, and many people tend to think of them as a cosmetic issue rather than a medical problem. However, spider veins aren’t always “just” about aesthetics. In fact, they can indicate more serious issues that need to be treated medically.

At Vein Specialists Institute in Palm Desert and La Quinta, California, Ken Jesser, MD, offers advanced treatments for spider veins. In this post, Dr. Jesser offers a brief overview of spider veins, including the potential health risks associated with them.

Quick facts about spider veins

Spider veins occur when tiny veins near the surface of the skin swell and dilate, which produces a weblike pattern of purplish, bluish veins that appear most frequently on the face or legs. While spider veins can form at any age, they tend to be more common among people ages 30-50

Aside from age, there are other risk factors that also increase your risk of developing these tiny veins, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Being pregnant
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Using hormonal contraceptives
  • Having a history of sun exposure or sun damage

Spider veins also tend to run in families, and they occur in women about twice as often as in men.

Unlike larger varicose veins, spider veins may not cause any symptoms. Sometimes, though, they can cause aching, itching, or other uncomfortable symptoms.

Spider veins and your health

While most spider veins aren’t dangerous to your health, they can cause symptoms that affect your quality of life. These symptoms can include:

  • Leg cramps
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Itching sensations
  • Burning sensations
  • Aching legs
  • Swelling or skin irritation
  • Leg fatigue when walking

In these instances, treatment is recommended to restore normal circulation and help you feel better.

Other times, spider veins can be a sign of a more serious circulation problem, such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This condition affects the way blood circulates in the limbs, typically the legs. 

Over time, CVI can lead to changes in your skin, which can make it more prone to cuts and sores. Because circulation is impaired in the area, these sores can take longer to heal, which can significantly increase your risk of developing serious infections. In this instance, having spider veins evaluated can help identify the underlying cause, so it can be treated before more serious complications develop.

Treating spider veins

Dr. Jesser offers several methods for spider vein treatment, including sclerotherapy and laser-based treatments. 


With sclerotherapy, Dr. Jesser injects a special chemical solution into the vein, which causes it to collapse. Once this happens, blood reroutes to neighboring veins, and the body absorbs the treated vein and gets rid of it. Injections are quick and performed right in the office.

Laser-based treatment

With laser-based spider vein therapy, Dr. Jesser applies a special light to the surface of your skin. The light’s heat energy penetrates your skin and seals off the spider vein. Over the next few weeks, your body absorbs the vein and disposes of it. This is usually the preferred method for spider veins that appear on the face.

To learn what’s causing your spider veins and how we can help treat them, request an appointment online or over the phone with Vein Specialists Institute today.