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Have you got pandemic thread veins?

Has inactivity during the pandemic left you with thread veins?

With so much time spent at home indoors, most of us are sitting more than ever, and you may have noticed that your legs have become a lot more colourful too. While it may look like you’ve used a biro to adorn your legs with wiggly purple, red, blue and green lines, these are actually your veins seemingly vying for your attention.

What are thread veins?

Telangiectasia aka thread veins on the legs are smaller blood vessels that have become dilated and visible. They develop when the valves inside the vessels weaken and stop pushing blood in one direction towards the heart, leading blood to accumulate within the vein – putting pressure on the vein causing it to dilate and become visible under the skin.  

They range in colour starting off red and as they grow transitioning to purple and then finally to green and you might be surprised to know that this condition affects up to 88 per cent of women and 79 per cent of men. Causes can be genetic, so if relatives have a propensity towards them your risk of developing thread veins is much higher.

And while sunlight injury and hormonal changes like during pregnancy can lead to visible veins, many of us – irrespective of age – simply get them from sitting or standing for long periods of time over many weeks and months, cue pandemic veins.

Once your veins become visible there’s more than simply a change in appearance to contend with, as they can be incredibly uncomfortable. Aching, cramping, tingling and throbbing are typical experiences and can get worse when you sit or stand for long periods of time without moving.

Make your veins vanish

There are a number of ways to treat thread veins. At home, its best to keep legs elevated whenever possible and wear support stockings, and never stay seated or standing for longer than 30 minutes at a time. These help reduce the symptoms of thread veins like swelling, and prevent the formation of new thread veins by getting the blood moving. Lifestyle changes are important too. Keeping a healthy weight and active lifestyle will also be beneficial.

Mixing these practices with in clinic treatments is where you’re likely to see the most improvement. Sclerotherapy, makes veins disappear by injecting them with saline solution. Laser treatments use intense pulsed light  to heat the veins causing them to collapse in on themselves and then vanish, sometimes immediately or at least one to three months later. Radio frequency treatments also work in the same way.

It’s always best to consult an expert as soon as thread veins start to appear because interestingly 89 percent of women who think they only have thread veins actually have underlying varicose veins feeding them, and 40 percent of those with hidden varicose veins can end up with other problems in the future like ulcers and non healing sores.

To learn more about your thread veins and what the best course of treatment is for you, visit our practitioner finder and book a consultation with one of our Etre Vous experts.

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