Everything You Need to Know About Reticular Vein Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Along with the more commonly recognized varicose veins and spider veins, reticular veins are part of the spectrum of chronic venous disease. This common health condition, also known as vein disease or venous insufficiency, impacts six to seven million people in the United States.
As you may already know, varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, visible veins that rise above the skin’s surface. Spider veins are tiny, colorful vessels that tend to form in a web-like pattern. Reticular veins are somewhere in between. Similar to varicose veins, they are enlarged, visible, and blue or purple. However, like spider veins, they do not usually rise above the skin’s surface. Reticular veins typically appear on the backs of your knees, on your inner thighs, or near your ankles.
All three types of veins can lead to painful symptoms, placing you at increased risk for dangerous health issues and impacting your quality of life. Below, we discuss what you should know about reticular vein causes, symptoms, and treatments. If you have additional questions, we recommend talking about your condition with a vein specialist.
Reticular Vein Causes
Reticular veins are caused by underlying vein disease. This condition occurs when tiny, one-way vein valves become damaged, causing blood to pool or flow backward. Both genetics and lifestyle factors can lead to the development of reticular veins.
Risk factors for reticular veins and vein disease are similar. They include:
- Genetics: You are at increased risk for venous disease if you have a close relative with varicose, spider, or reticular veins.
- Age: You may be surprised to learn that people of any age can develop reticular veins. However, they are more likely to after age 50.
- Sex: Women are more likely than men to suffer from poor vein health. Results across studies suggest that up to 17% of men versus 40% of women experience chronic venous insufficiency.
- Pregnancy: Due to increased blood volume and hormonal influx, pregnant women are generally more prone to reticular veins and other varicosities. These can affect the legs, pelvic region, and other areas of the body.
- Smoking: This unhealthy habit can damage your veins, leading to vein disease. If you need help quitting smoking, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs.
- Inactivity: If you spend a lot of time standing or sitting, you may develop reticular veins. Moving around frequently during the day, along with exercising regularly, can help reduce your risks.
- Other health conditions: If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you may be at increased risk for reticular veins and other symptoms of venous disease. We suggest working closely with your doctor to manage any underlying health issues.
Common Reticular Vein Symptoms
It is important to understand that reticular vein symptoms can vary widely from person to person. We also want you to know that not all individuals with reticular veins will experience symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they most commonly impact the legs.
Reticular veins tend to develop on the back of the legs or around the ankles and knees. Spider veins often accompany this type of vein. Reticular veins may appear to “feed” or branch off into spider veins. Their presence can also increase the number of visible spider veins.
Early reticular vein symptoms, like occasional leg discomfort or areas of puffiness, can be mild. Eventually, however, patients may begin to suffer from chronic leg pain and swelling. Reticular vein symptoms can sometimes become severe, impacting moving around and performing normal daily tasks.
Reticular vein symptoms may include:
- Pain or discomfort
If you have signs or symptoms of reticular veins, we recommend seeking medical evaluation. Although not generally considered dangerous, reticular veins may place you at risk for serious health conditions like venous ulcers and blood clots.
Venous ulcers are open, non-healing leg wounds that can lead to infection. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a type of blood clot that forms in the deep venous system. DVT can lead to pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition. While all of these issues require prompt medical care, pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency.
Beyond reticular vein symptoms and potential complications, you should also keep an eye out for additional signs of vein disease.
Common symptoms of vein disease include:
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Tired, aching legs
- Burning in the calf or thigh
- Leg pain that feels better when you walk or raise your legs
- Itchy, dry skin
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Difficulty standing for long periods
- Non-healing wounds on your legs
If you experience any of the above issues, contact an experienced vein specialist for help. A vein specialist can quickly provide an accurate diagnosis of your condition and recommend effective treatment options.
How to Treat Reticular Veins at USA Vein Clinics
At USA Vein Clinics, our skilled and empathetic specialists provide vein treatment for a range of venous issues, including varicose veins, spider veins, and reticular veins. If you are avoiding the doctor because you fear painful reticular vein removal surgery, we want you to know that all our treatment options are minimally invasive, outpatient procedures with short recovery times.
Reticular vein treatment can quickly alleviate painful symptoms, improve the appearance of your legs, and enhance your quality of life. For personalized recommendations from one of our leading vein specialists, schedule a consultation online or call us at 888.768.3467 today.