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Health & Spirit

Avoiding and managing varicose veins

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

On an episode of "Friends," the gang arrives late to Monica and Chandler's for dinner. "I bet that vein on Monica's forehead is popping like crazy," says Phoebe when Monica won't let them in. When Rachel suggests eating leftovers instead, Monica warns, "You touch that, and you will be sorry!"

"Guys, I'd listen to her," says Chandler. "The vein is bigger than I've ever seen it."

Bulging veins in comedy go back to Sid Caesar in the 1950s, but varicose veins are a different story. They can be painful and disfiguring.

Veins carry blood back to the heart after oxygen is delivered to your cells. They accomplish their mission by using valves that open and close, keeping blood headed in the right direction. But if those valves weaken, blood can back up and pool, causing swollen, twisted veins. If you notice them on your calves or thighs, there are ways to ease the pain and stop them from getting worse:

--Exercise regularly to strengthen vessel walls and move blood through your veins.

--Don't sit for long periods of time; elevate legs when resting.

--Maintaining a healthy weight relieves pressure on veins.

--Avoid tight clothes around the groin and thighs.

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--Wear compression stockings (the right compression pressure!) and put them on correctly, if prescribed.

--Talk to your doc about routine aspirin use.

--If VVs become painful or a clot forms, medical interventions include chemical injections (sclerotherapy); laser therapy (for small VVs); endovenous ablation (heat-sealing of veins); for severe cases, surgery.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

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