Start thinking now about those beach-ready legs

Vascular surgeon explains how to handle varicose, spider veins

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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It's February so putting on a swimsuit is probably the last thing on your mind, but now is actually a great time to think about getting your legs beach-ready, especially if you're battling varicose or spider veins.

Dr. George Anton is a vascular surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. He says thick, blue varicose veins are not only unsightly, but they can be painful, too.

"They can cause aching, they can cause itching believe it or not. Most people have discrete pain where the veins are. Sometimes they can clot of course, sometimes they can actually ulcerate and bleed," explained Anton.

Varicose and spider veins can occur anywhere on the body but usually pop up on the lower extremities. They're more common in women and have been reported to affect 30% to 50% of adults.

According to Anton, most spider and varicose veins are pressure-related.
family history, increasing age, obesity and pregnancy all increase your odds of developing them. Another risk factor could be your job.

"People who tend to stand on their feet long hours at a time, butchers, bakers, bartenders, tool and die makers, machinists, hairdressers, women in retail, those are the types of jobs that would predispose to it," said Anton.

If you're bothered by veins on your legs, there are several different options that may provide relief ranging from wearing compression stockings to having the vein surgically removed, so talk to your doctor to determine what's best.

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