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What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins

Women can take steps to control pain and appearance of varicose veins, expert says

SATURDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Your legs may be hidden by snow pants this time of year, but women who have spider or varicose veins know all to well that warmer weather -- and more revealing clothing -- is just around the corner.

"Due to some predisposed conditions, varicose and spider veins may be inevitable for some people," Dr. Robert Weiss, president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, said in a news release from the organization. "However, there are many preventative measures and medical techniques available to diminish the appearance and pain associated with these vein conditions."

Weiss offered the following tips:

  • Listen to your body. Though often more of a cosmetic concern, varicose and spider veins can cause such complications as fatigue, night cramps, leg swelling or itching around certain veins. Contact a dermatologic surgeon if you have any of these symptoms.
  • Stay active. Walking, cycling, swimming and other activities keep blood circulating in the legs, helping to reduce pressure and blood pooling. Long periods of standing or sitting places pressure on the veins. Changing positions or frequently flexing calf muscles can help with circulation.
  • Keep a healthy weight. This will aid in the prevention of varicose and spider veins by eliminating the excess pressure on your legs that cause veins to surface.
  • Wear compression stockings. Support hose keep pressure evenly distributed. But, be careful: Tight clothing around specific body parts, including the waist and groin, might restrict circulation and actually lead to spider and varicose veins.
  • Be cool. Excessive heat associated with baths and hot tubs can increase vein swelling, causing blood to pool.

If you want to seek treatment, visit a dermatologic surgeon to learn what options are best for you. Weiss said to be especially wary of advertisements offering "unique," "permanent" or "painless" solutions.

More information

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery has more about varicose veins.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, news release, January 2009

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