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Varicose Veins

Varicose veins, those lumpy blue veins that can be seen just underneath the skin, are not only unpleasant to look at, but can be uncomfortable and painful, too.

Typically, if a guy's going to get them, they don't pop up until middle age, but that's not always the case – especially if habits and lifestyle put excessive pressure on our legs.  It's estimated that 50% of middle age Americans have some varicose veins, with the majority being women, but there are still many men who suffer with them, also.

Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging bluish veins that often throb, itch, and cause dull aches and pain.  A feeling of heaviness in the legs, in addition to swelling, cramping, and leg sores are typical characteristics of this condition.  They occur due to the malfunctioning of the valves inside the veins.  The heart pulsates red, oxygen rich blood through the arteries, which goes out to every part of our body, supplying oxygen to our tissues.  The oxygen depleted blue blood is then returned to the heart through the veins to be refreshed with oxygen, and the process begins all over again.  Unlike arteries, veins have valves in them to keep the blood moving forward towards the heart, which prevents the blood from flowing backwards.  If the values do not work properly, blood accumulates in the veins, which causes them to stretch and enlarge.

Poor circulation is the main cause of varicose veins, which puts pressure on the legs and invites varicose veins to develop.  Sitting and standing in one place for prolonged periods of time, frequently sitting with legs crossed, and lack of exercise all contribute to impaired circulation – another good reason to exercise daily, especially if you're stuck at a desk all day.  Being overweight and frequently lifting heavy objects puts additional pressure on legs, which increase the chances of developing varicose veins.  Bodybuilders with low subcutaneous body fat often have prominent veins.  This is known as "vascularity", and is not the same condition as varicose veins.  Other causes of varicose veins include decreased heart function, liver disease, and even constipation – basically anything that reduces circulation or puts pressure on legs.  If you don't fit into one of these categories, it may be due to genetics, since varicose veins tend to run in families.

The nutritional perspective is the varicose vein sufferer is in need of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, in addition to possible lifestyle changes.  A deficiency in these two nutrients can weaken the structure of the vein walls, causing them to lose their strength and integrity; resulting in varicose veins.  Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can be found in supplement form, either in one combined supplement or separately.  In nature, the two go hand in hand, so eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should help give you what you need.

Most varicose veins do not pose a serious threat, and can be managed with simple measures like compression stockings, which support and compress blood vessels and increase circulation, and keeping legs elevated as much as possible.  However, if they ever become worse or too uncomfortable, see a doctor, since serious complications can arise.  There are newer technologies that offer successful treatment other than stripping, such as Endovenous Laser Treatment or ELT, Ambulatory Phlebectomy, and Sclerotherapy for spider veins (a less serious form of varicose veins that commonly appear on legs, nose, chin, and cheeks).  The type doctor to see is a general surgeon or vascular doctor; however, many dermatologist (skin doctors) perform Sclerotherapy and ELT.  You can always start with your family doctor who will point you in the right direction for treatment.

The reality is varicose veins aren't always visible, so if you ever experience unexplained leg pain or unusual heaviness, see a doctor.  Varicose veins are usually the result of poor lifestyle choices, which means they can be avoided.  Steer clear of this unfortunate condition by making healthy choices early in life, so you won't be one of the many mid-lifers with roadmaps on your legs.

by Aaron Marino


Past Topics

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Do you have a skin problem? Seeing a dermatologist for skin conditions is imperative since they are professionals. Aaron Marino of alpha m. discusses using Google searching for skin information if you don't want to visit a dermatologist. However, if your problem is serious, don't waste time. Make an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible. Read More»
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I've gotten quite a few emails from guys struggling with back acne, asking for advice on how to treat it.  I wish there was a magic solution to this age old problem, but there's not.  Instead, I'm going to talk about what I know and suggest a few things to help manage breakouts.  Hopefully, they'll help. Acne is acne, no matter where it pops up on our body.  The most common areas are the face,Read More»
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