A Word with the DOCTOR
by Dr John Winsor
The Sunday Times of Malta

VARICOSE VEINS affect millions of people, mostly women. Although, to non-sufferers, they may seem a trivial problem, they can cause a tremendous amount of pain and embarrassment.

Consisting simply of swollen veins in the legs, it is commonly thought that the only answer for varicose veins is an operation. That's not true. There are many things that a varicose vein sufferer can do to ease the problem.

Anyone who has varicose veins and wants to know how to deal with the discomfort should read through this check list - and follow the instructions I've provided.

Anyone who wants to avoid developing varicose veins would be well advised to read this advice, too.

1. Avoid getting constipated. Eat plenty of fibre-rich foods such as fresh vegetables and wholemeal bread.

2. If you're overweight, then go on a slimming diet straight away. Carrying around extra weight makes it more likely that you'll develop varicose veins - or that if you have varicose veins they'll become a problem.

3. Don't wear tight garters, belts, corsets or girdles. Any of these items may constrict your circulation and contribute to the development of varicose, veins.

4. Try to ensure that you always wear comfortable shoes. High-heeled shoes put an extra strain on your leg muscles.

5. When you sit down, try to get into a position where you can keep your feet flat on the floor. Don't cross your legs (because that constricts the veins and makes it difficult for blood to get back through the constricted vessels), and avoid sitting with your legs hanging freely over the edge of a chair. (Don't sit on the edge of the table, for example. It compresses the underside of your thighs and stops the circulation).

6. Do regular but gentle exercises. The best types of exercise are walking, swimming and cycling. Don't exercise until you are exhausted or in pain.
But do try to make sure that you take some exercise every day.