Beat Varicose Veins

CONCERNING up with clothes, cosmetics or a serious sun tan are not your only options when it comes to dealing with varicose and spider veins. Simple lifestyle changes, non-invasive creams and stockings, surgery and even aerospace technology could help.


· Exercise encourages blood circulation.

· Shed the excess kilos which put extra pressure on veins.

· Elevate your feet when sitting down and sleeping.

· Match what you cat. A high-fibre diet with enough fluids encourages regular bowel movements with minimal strain.

A low-fibre diet could cause strain during bowel movements. This increases intra-abdominal pressure and increases pressure on the veins of the lower leg and anal cushion.

· Vacustyler (above, available at Glamour, #O1-34/35, Specialists' Shopping Centre): This machine, which is based on aerospace research and used in cellulite therapy, also claims to promote blood circulation and lymphatic flow, hence relieving varicosities. It alternates negative pressure - when blood and oxygen are aspired towards the legs - and positive pressure - when worn blood and metabolic waste are transported back to filter bodies.

· Mechanical compression: The T.E.D. stocking (left) - an elastic support "hose" - stops blood from pooling in the veins and may relieve discomfort.

However, it has to be made to fit at the pharmacy because if it is too loose, it does not help, and if too tight, it cuts into the skin, preventing blood from flowing into the veins.

· Venatonic creams: These creams, massaged onto the area where the veins are, improves the "tone of the veins' walls, making them stronger so they do not bulge out so much. Tablets that improve venous tone arc also available.

· Surgical options include sclerotherapy, where a special solution is injected into the varicose veins, forcing blood into healthier veins.

· Another option, vein stripping, ties up and removes the vein from the area.

· In a newer method called closure, a catheter is passed up the leg along the length of the vein to be removed.  The leg is bandaged to compress the vein and an electric current is passed through the tip of the catheter.

Collagen breaks down and as the catheter is removed, the vein breaks down.

· Note that while surgery removes the problem vein permanently, it does not prevent new varicose veins from forming.

T.E.B. stockings prevent the
blood from pooling in the veins.

Based on aerospace technology, the Vacustyler can alleviate the problem by promoting blood circulation.