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Alexandrite a Gem for Kings

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Spider Veins

Sunday, 14 February 2010

spider veinsOur skin is the first barrier blocking a variety of harmful environmental influences. Therefore every day our skin loses dozens or even hundreds of thousands of cells. Obviously, such losses need to be rapidly recovered or compensated for. That's why, owing to the intelligent self-regenerating mechanism provided by the wise Mother Nature, our skin has the natural potential for rapid self-renewal, and one of the factors ensuring smooth and continuous operation of this mechanism is an adequate blood flow to the skin.

Owing to this mechanism, our skin receives oxygen and nutrients needed to build new cells. The high level of blood vessels branching in the skin is proved by the fact that its arterial and venous blood vessels (including the so-called «reserved» blood vessels) can contain up to 50% of the total blood volume, which is not less than 2.5 liters. That said, there are no large blood vessels in the skin, only capillaries. However, sometimes these small capillaries can cause a real big problem. This occurs when small blood vessels near the surface of the skin or mucous membranes are dilated, forming so called «spider veins». They can develop anywhere on the body but are commonly seen on the face around the nose, cheeks, and chin. They can also develop on the legs, specifically on the upper thigh, below the knee joint, and around the ankles. The spider veins can be of different sizes (usually measuring between 0.5 and 1 millimeter in diameter) and take many odd shapes, ranging from tiny bright-red «spiders» with thickened «paws» to massive tree-shaped telangiectasias («angio» is a Greek word for «vessel», and «ectasia» means «dilation»).

So, what are the causes of the spider veins and how to treat them? This defect can develop in any person at any age, even at a very young age, and cause great inconvenience, especially in women who are at a higher risk of developing spider veins than men. The fair sex is particularly distressed by the fact that the main «targets» of the spider veins are face and legs which are the greatest female assets. The causes for the development the spider veins are still disputed. Some often relate them to the presence of venous hypertension within underlying varicose veins. Flow abnormalities within the medium sized veins of the leg can also lead to the development of spider veins. Factors that predispose to the development of telangiectatic leg veins include age (the development of spider veins may occur at any age but usually occurs between 18 and 35 years, and peaks between 50 and 60 years), gender (women are affected approximately four to one to men), pregnancy, and lifestyle/occupation (people who are involved with prolonged sitting or standing in their daily activities have an increased risk of developing spider veins as the weight of the blood continuously pressing against the closed valves causes them to fail, leading to vein distention). Others believe that the main culprit behind the spider veins is the hormonal changes in the body, as proved by an increase in the percentage of patients with this condition among pregnant and post-menopausal women. However, it is evident that all of the above factors contribute to the development of spider veins which can therefore be considered to be pluricausal pathology, i.e. a pathology that has multiple causes.

The present-day medicine offers only surgical methods for spider veins treatment, as the pathological vasodilatation occurs as a result of vascular walls degradation which cannot be treated with conventional non-invasive methods. The only solution is to separate the dilated vessel from the circulatory system. This can be achieved, for example, with the laser therapy. Laser therapy uses a light beam that is pulsed onto the veins in order to seal them off, causing them to dissolve. This light-based treatment requires adequate heating of the veins. These treatments can result in the destruction of sweat glands, the risk increases with the number of treatments. Another method of treatment is the injection of specific sealant material in the affected blood vessel, so it hardens and eventually shrinks away. The area may be tender for a few days and it may bruise, but bruising should fade over a few weeks. Sclerotherapy may require multiple treatments. The injections can be slightly painful.

Spider veins are not harmful to the overall health. If you are self-conscious about your spider veins, or they become painful or tender, see your doctor about the possibility of treatment. If you decide on cosmetic treatment for your spider veins, you can expect a 50% to 90% improvement. You may need several treatment sessions to achieve the desired result. After treatment, a slight discoloration of the skin may remain for weeks or even as long as a year before fading. In many cases, spider veins disappear entirely, but they can return.

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