What is a Broken Capillary? (Spider Vein Overview)
Broken capillaries are enlarged blood vessels (sometimes on the face), just below the skin’s surface, that create externally visible streaks. Their squiggly shape is the reason people refer to them colloquially as “spider veins.”
When functioning correctly, capillaries expand and contract to accommodate changes in tissue’s demand for oxygen. During exercise, for example, blood vessels dilate to facilitate the transport of oxygen-laded red blood cells. Spider veins occur when the capillary breaks and can no longer serve its function.
They are not a health concern by themselves, but they can make patients feel self-conscious about their appearance. Fortunately, Dr. Vargas and the team offer a range of treatments to treat the condition.
Cause of Broken Capillaries
As with many medical conditions, researchers believe that a combination of hereditary and environmental factors leads to broken capillaries.
Genetics, for instance, appears to play a significant role. Ninety percent of people with spider veins have a family history of the condition.
Being an older woman also appears to increase your risk. As you age, the valves in the blood vessels tend to weaken. When this happens, it affects how blood pools in the veins.
Being pregnant can increase your risk too. Hormonal changes can lead to broken blood vessels, many of which disappear after the baby’s birth.
Those who drink a lot of alcohol are at higher risk of the condition. Wine and beer consumption leads to a reddening of the face and enlargement of blood vessels. Long-term alcohol consumption and binge-drinking both overcome the capacity of blood vessels to repair, causing lasting damage that doesn’t disappear once you sober up.