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Ask Dr. Gott 8/9

Treat varicose veins before they worsen

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 72-year-old male and have just noticed the beginnings of varicose veins on both sides of my right leg below the knee. Is there anything that can be done to halt (or even reverse) their progress and spread? And will varicose veins contribute to or cause other health problems, such as high blood pressure, poor circulation, etc.?
    I am reasonably healthy for an old guy, so it kind of disappoints me to see these ugly blue scrawly things beginning to form on my leg. If there is a preventive course of action you can recommend, it will be very much appreciated.
    DEAR READER: Varicose veins are worsened by gravity. Therefore, I suggest the following:
- Purchase elastic stockings and wear them during the day. These stockings will compress your leg veins, counteract gravity and markedly improve the venous outflow.
- Avoid prolonged standing.
- Elevate your legs when possible, such as when you are reading or watching television.
- Remain active.
- Follow up with your doctor, because a more aggressive approach might be necessary in the future.
    As a general rule, varicose veins are unsightly but are not associated with significant health issues.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Blood -- Donations and Disorders." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have an occasional episode that has mystified my doctors. It begins as a pain in my neck on the right side, and I then begin to become very tired. Then everything becomes very bright and colors fade out. At this point, I am really exhausted and need to stop whatever I'm doing. When I have been able to check my blood pressure, it is usually in the range of 90/60 and my pulse is about 110. My normal blood pressure is about 130/80 and pulse about 60. I've had a carotid test and, although slightly blocked, it appears basically normal. This has happened about four to five times in the past 12 months. I am 72. I would appreciate your thoughts.
    DEAR READER: I suspect the pain and fatigue you suffer in "episodes" is caused by inadequate circulation to your brain that is caused by low blood pressure. I'd choose to focus first on your heart and circulation. You need a stress test and a cardiac work-up. Address this problem with your primary care physician, who may arrange for you to see a cardiologist. Your symptoms should not be ignored. Let me know the outcome.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Coronary Artery Disease." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

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