Blue veins (also known as reticular and feeder veins or intradermal varices) are venous blood vessels that are bluish or greenish in color and are stretched out beneath the surface of the skin. Blue veins are bigger in size than spider veins. However, they are not as big as those of the varicose variety. Normally ranging from 1-3mm in diameter, they are generally flatter and less tortuous than a varicose vein (which tends to be more bulged and swollen). These blue blood vessels are most often found on the knees and thighs, and sometimes can be viewed on the face. A blue vein may also be referred to as a feeder vein, because it can become the “feeder” that aids in the development of other vein conditions. For those in the greater Jacksonville area that suffer from blue veins, this condition can be very painful and uncomfortable, as well as unsightly.
The causes for blue or reticular veins are similar to other venous insufficiency problems like varicose and spider veins. The main cause is weak or damaged blood vessels in some part of the body – usually the lower parts like the legs where the deoxygenated blood flows upstream toward the heart. Several factors can contribute to blue veins, including:
- Hormonal Changes
- Geographic Location
Those in the Jacksonville area should be aware that people living in warmer climates with stronger sun exposure can be at greater risk for blue veins, because of the damage the sun’s ultraviolet rays can do to the skin.
Jacksonville area residents can prevent blue or reticular veins to some degree by various lifestyle choices. Among them are:
- Limiting exposure to the sun and/or wearing proper protection
- Avoiding extended periods of standing or sitting
- Keeping your weight under control
- Lift up your legs while resting
- Wearing compression stockings – best purchased through a doctor’s prescription so they can be properly fitted for effective treatment
Reticular veins can be at the very least a cosmetic nightmare, especially when they appear on the legs or face. When it comes to blue veins treatment, Jacksonville residents have access to cutting edge methods that are safe & effective in most cases and very affordable through the vein care professionals at St. Johns. For most who suffer from this condition, liquid or foam sclerotherapy are likely the best forms of treatment.
It should be noted that many suffer from both blue (reticular) and spider veins, with the reticular vein acting as the feeder to the spider vein. In these cases, the sclerotherapy treatment would first be performed on the reticular veins. Successful elimination of the reticular veins will ensure that the spider veins will not recur after they are treated.
For more information about causes, prevention and treatment of blue veins, please contact St. Johns Vein Center’s Jacksonville office today for further questions or to schedule a consultation with Dr. St. George.