Indian Summer issue 2013

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health, wellness & business ~ Brigham and Women's Hospital Varicose Veins: it's not just about looks Thirty percent of adults will, at some point in their life, develop varicose veins. Through a variety of causes, these swollen and twisted blood vessels develop just below the surface of the legs and thighs. Not only are varicose veins aesthetically unpleasing, but left untreated, they also can cause a lifetime of physical discomfort. But despite the prevalence of this condition, many people are still unsure about its causes and health implications. To help raise awareness, Dr. Susan O'Horo, a Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) board-certified interventional radiologist and vein care specialist who practices in West Bridgewater and Foxborough, offers the following important information about varicose veins and helps dispel some common misconceptions.  Not just cosmetic Varicose veins are often seen as a condition of concern for cosmetic reasons, an unglamorous body issue that we do our best to disguise. This may be true, but varicose veins also can cause aching, pain, itching, a heavy feeling in the legs, and even greater health implications. It is quite common for patients to seek an evaluation solely for cosmetic 40 reasons, but then be told that they also have underlying vein problems that could impact their physical health. With this in mind, it is always wise for patients with varicose veins to undergo a thorough examination, particularly if they are experiencing any of the symptoms described above. An ageless problem Although your risk increases as you get older, it is a common misconception that varicose veins only affect the elderly. In fact, this is a condition that can affect people of all ages, even those in their mid- to late-teens. Gender neutral Although women are more likely to develop varicose veins, up to 25 percent of men eventually experience the condition. Avoid crossing your legs Crossing your legs restricts your circulation and can cause varicose veins. Stay hydrated Staying hydrated is certainly a healthy thing to do, but a lack of hydration does not cause or aggravate varicose veins.

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