If you’ve suddenly noticed a new, web-like arrival on your legs, you’re not alone — varicose and spider veins affect people of all ages, genders, races, religions and more around the world. However, the exact data about whom it affects — and, crucially, why it affects them — is a little harder to come by.

As vein specialists working in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, we know a lot about vein issues and their prevalence. Here’s what we’ve found.

How many people have spider veins?

Spider and varicose veins are far more common than you might think. If you’re living in America and over the age of 50, some sources say there’s a 50/50 chance that you have varicose veins. Those chances increase for women, with women having about 55 percent of all varicose vein cases in comparison to men (who have 45 percent of all cases).

The American Heart Association puts their numbers a little lower, saying that only 23 percent of adults living in the United States have varicose veins. However, if you include other vein-related ailments within that number, such as reticular veins, that total rockets up to as high as 85 percent. 

All told, that means at least 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of vein-related issue, with the actual number probably being much higher.

Why do so many people have spider veins? 

Heredity plays a significant role in the development of spider and varicose veins. About half of all people who currently have varicose veins have some kind of family history with vein issues, and if both of your parents have vein issues, it’s more than likely that you will also develop them at some point. 

Additionally, there are numerous non-hereditary factors that can lead to someone developing vein issues, many of which we’ve covered on this site before. 

Birth sex plays a large role in whether or not one develops varicose veins and other vein issues. Women are more likely to develop vein issues, especially if they become pregnant.

Furthermore, another significant consideration is weight. While BMI is an imperfect measurement, there are strong correlations between high BMI and varicose vein development. Women who have a BMI of 25-29.9, described as “overweight” by the BMI scale, have a 50 percent increased risk of developing varicose veins compared to women with lower BMIs. If a woman’s BMI goes above 30, her risk of developing varicose veins is three times higher than her 18.5-25 BMI counterparts. 

Another major factory is simply inactivity. As much of American work involves labor that can be performed from an office or while sitting down, they tend to live fairly inactive lives without a lot of strenuous exercise. This can have many negative consequences, namely vein issues. Without consistent exercise and movement, vein valves in the legs can fail and trigger the development of varicose or spider veins. 

Luckily, this part is easy to remedy. Simply add more walking, running, bike riding or other basic exercise into your day. For example, if you have a dog, make an effort to walk the dog more or further than you normally would; if you enjoy watching television before you go to sleep, practice simple leg exercises while you catch up on your favorite shows. These are all minor changes, but the impact they have on your life can be major.

What can I do about my spider veins?

If spider veins have already developed, there is unfortunately no way that they will disappear on their own. Instead, you’re going to need treatment — and luckily for you, we’re the best people for the job.

With years of experience and research in the field of vein treatments, our specialists can work with you to ensure you get the exact care you need. Treatments tend to be short with a quick recovery time; in fact, many of our patients can return to work on the same day!

For more information about vein treatment, or if you simply just want to ask a few questions, reach out to us via our contact page.