Women account for approximately 85-90% of varicose vein cases that are treated each year, mainly because of the unique additional risk factors for females, including estrogen levels and pregnancy. Women are particularly afflicted with reticular veins. These light blue veins usually appear in a lattice framework, giving a marbled appearance to the skin. They are harmless looking veins, but may be symptomatic. Reticular veins can be associated with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) in women. When these veins are effectively treated, the discomfort may diminish.
In men, the pathophysiology is similar, but instead of reticular veins, the culprits are multiple, small-branching varices and “high pressured small vein disease” (hpsvd). The varices, unfortunately, are often mistaken for “cosmetic” telangiectasia (spider veins). The difference is important because the treatment is different. The association between RLS and vein disease has been overlooked, most likely because of the innocent appearance of the reticular veins.