If you’re over 40, you probably see them; those little purple veins that suddenly seem to appear on your legs. Veins return blood from the arms and legs to the heart. Because veins work against the force of gravity, they have valves that allow forward blood flow, but not reverse. Your legs and arms have two major types of veins: superficial and deep. The superficial veins are near the surface of the skin and are often visible. The deep veins are located near the bones and are surrounded by muscle. Contraction (squeezing) of the muscles in the arms and legs with exercise helps blood flow in the veins.
Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging superficial veins. They are usually located on the inside of the calf or thigh and develop due to weakness of the vein wall and loss of valve function. Under the pressure of gravity, they continue to enlarge, and in the course of time, they may become elongated, twisted, pouched, and thickened.
Spider veins are tiny dilated, veins, usually less than one millimeter in diameter, located at the skin surface.
How Common Are Varicose Veins?
Venous problems are among the most common chronic conditions, and occur in as many as 30% of women and 20% of men. It is estimated that at least 20-25 million Americans have varicose veins.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins may be entirely symptom-free and cause no health problems. When symptomatic, varicose veins may cause ankle and leg swelling, heaviness or tension, aching, restlessness, cramps, and itching. After a long time, some people develop skin ulcers.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins and the associated symptoms are most often the result of venous reflux disease, which refers to blood flow going downwards, instead of upwards, in the veins of the leg.
The most important factors leading to the development of varicose veins include:
• Prolonged standing
• Increasing age
• Female gender
• Multiple pregnancies.
How Is Venous Reflux Diagnosed?
An ultrasound examination of the leg veins will find venous reflux. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound if he or she suspects that you have venous reflux disease.
Varicose Veins Treatment Options
New minimally invasive treatments have been developed to reduce the need for surgery. A catheter is threaded into the great saphenous vein at the level of the knee, and passed up to the groin level. Release of radiofrequency or laser energy at the tip of the catheter, as it is shifted from the groin to the knee under ultrasound guidance, results in an effective, long-term closing of the great saphenous vein opening, replacing surgical venous stripping.
Sclerotherapy is an injection of a sclerosing solution into spider veins (telangiectases), reticular, or small varicose veins to block these veins. It is considered a minimally invasive outpatient procedure offering best results in limbs with localized areas of valvular incompetence.
When you look at a magazine cover model, male or female, don’t their teeth look not only straight, but bright and white? Now you look into the mirror at home and see your teeth
––well, they’re pretty straight, but they really look yellow––definitely not white. What can you do about aging yellow and stained teeth?
Good oral hygiene and home care is important to make and keep teeth clean, cavity free and white. However, tooth brushing, flossing and mouth-rinses will only do so much for surface stains.
Some of the special whitening toothpastes, flosses, and mouth-rinses do help if used consistently. Over-the-counter, do-it-yourself home whitening kits are available, but are limited in what they can do.
Even a professional cleaning will only remove superficial staining and hard calculus (tartar) deposits––it doesn’t whiten the teeth.
There are now several ways to whiten teeth that your dentist can prescribe. There are basically two types: take home and in-office. The take home system typically involves trays filled with whitening gel worn one to two hours a day for two to three weeks to achieve the desired whitening.
The in-office system does the same job and usually better, without impressions or trays, in just one hour or less. For quick dramatic results, comfort and convenience, the one hour in-office whitening system is the way to go.
Almost everyone is a candidate for either kind of whitening. Your dentist can decide which is best for you after an exam and consultation regarding your whitening desires and expectations.
Whitening your smile is a fantastic way to improve your appearance painlessly, without surgery, drilling or any kind of damage to your teeth. It’s quick, easy and long lasting.
After whitening you can smile with confidence and not be ashamed of stained or yellow teeth. Decide today to whiten your teeth. Call your family dentist and ask if they offer whitening and make an appointment to change your smile.