Thursday, February 23, 2017

5 Options for Getting Rid of Varicose/Spider Veins

A woman who has varicose veins on her legs.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Although similar, varicose veins and spider veins are slightly different. Varicose veins are often considered the more unsightly of the two only because they bulge. Spider veins, on the other hand, are smooth to the touch. They are red, purple, or bluish veins that branch out almost like a tree. Neither one of them are particularly attractive, which is why I wanted to offer some solutions for getting rid of them. 

But before I go through my list of treatment options, I wanted to talk a little bit about the cause of varicose/spider veins. Lack of blood circulation is mostly to blame. Malfunctioning valves cause blood to flow backwards into the vein, which results in vein enlargement and discoloration. Fortunately, there are solutions available.

1. Exercise

If you catch it early enough, you may be able to prevent these veins from forming by getting plenty of exercise. Cardio in particular helps improve blood flow circulation, which can help alleviate some of the aches and cramps that are associated with malfunctioning valves.

2. Sclerotherapy

This is only an option for spider veins and small varicose veins. The procedure involves injecting a small amount of sclerosing solution into the vein. This causes the lining of the vein to seal shut, which eradicates the vein.

3. Ambulatory Phlebectomy

The best part about ambulatory phlebectomy is that it is minimally invasive and doesn’t require any stitches. Doctors put patients undergo local anesthesia and remove the veins through tiny slit-like incisions.  

4. Endovenous laser treatment 

This is by far the quickest of all the treatment options as it can be performed in less than an hour. A laser is used to close the vein entirely. Don’t worry, this doesn't pose any health risks. Blood is simply rerouted through other, healthier veins. 

5. Compression therapy

In addition to exercise, using a pump or getting massages can help stimulate blood flow in the affected area. Although it is one of the cheaper solutions, it’s not the most effective.
I hope this helps any of you out there who are struggling with this issue. 

Trust me, I feel your pain! I have some spider veins forming in my legs. I’m writing this post because I’m looking into treatment options myself!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Signs That You May Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder

An animated woman standing in front of a mirror. Her reflection shows a much larger "fatter" version of herself.
Image credit: Shutterstock
Today, I want talk about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

BDD is a serious mental health condition that affects 1.7% to 2.4% of the population, or about 1 in 50 people. While many people associate the disorder with low self-esteem or insecurities related to one’s appearance, it’s actually a lot more serious than that. Allow me to explain.

While everyone has physical insecurities, most of us don’t allow that to interfere with our daily lives. For example, while we may find that our nose is a little crooked, we still go to work every morning, still pick up the kids from school, still attend social events, and still go shopping. That’s not the case for people with BDD.

In fact, one of the signs of BDD is frequently skipping school, work, social events, or other daily activities due to issues related to one’s appearance. In other words, BDD actually hinders a person’s ability to complete day-to-day responsibilities.

But that’s not the only sign. Due to obsessing over one’s perceived flaws, people with BDD often suffer from anxiety and/or depression. It’s not uncommon for the mental and emotional stress to become so overwhelming to where the affected person begins to contemplate suicide.

Other signs may include compulsively checking mirrors, or completely avoiding mirrors all together. People with BDD also tend to excessively groom themselves. And finally, those with BDD may take a keen interest in cosmetic surgery.

Treatment options for the disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-depressant medications. For those who aren’t able to afford these options, there are several informative and helpful books written on the subject matter. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends the following publications:
  • Feeling Good About the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Dysmorphic Disorder, by Sabine Wilhelm, PhD (Guilford Press, 2006)
  • The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder, by Katharine Phillips, MD (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder, by Katharine Phillips, MD (Oxford University Press, 2009) 
As always, I offer myself up as a resource if anyone needs someone to talk to. You can reach out to me via the comments below or on Twitter @SunshineNDaisy. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Heart Health Month: What You Need to Know

Tiny red hearts juxtaposed against a black background.
Image courtesy of clogsilk at Flickr Creative Commons
Hello, all! In honor of Heart Health Month, I want to share some important statistics and information with you. Before I begin, let me remind you that it’s National Wear Red Day. You might have noticed that #GoRedForWomen is trending on Twitter right now. This is done in effort to raise awareness about women’s heart health.
While heart health is equally as important for men, the public is specifically focused on women right now due to the fact that cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one killer of women in the United States. The problem is so rampant that it kills an estimated one in three American women.
This has to stop. That’s why I’m doing my part to help educate you on what you can do to prevent cardiovascular disease.
The first thing you should know is that cardiovascular disease is preventable. While there are hereditary factors that can significantly increase your risk of developing CVD, the vast majority of CVD cases can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.
According to the World Heart Federation, some of the biggest risk factors for developing heart disease are: smoking, physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet, and excessive consumption of alcohol. Notice that all four of these factors are within your control.
Even if you’ve never experienced any of the symptoms of heart disease, you should still be wary. Heart disease can start developing years before symptoms arise.
This is serious stuff, guys. I hope you don’t think that I’m preaching at you or judging you for your lifestyle choices. I only write about this because it is an issue that’s dear to my heart.
A couple of years ago, my grandmother passed away from CVD at the age of 72. She was a long-term smoker, and doctors believe that smoking was the main cause of her condition.
I would have killed to have her around even if just for a few years longer. Nobody should lose a loved one due to a disease that is largely preventable. So please, please, please take this blog post seriously and take good care of your body.