How to Treat Varicose Veins

Varicose veins may be unsightly, in addition to causing pain. There are ways to improve their appearance, though, as well as reduce the discomfort.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels just below the surface of the skin. They are seen most often in the legs, but they can also be found in other parts of the body. The veins may look lumpy, winding and blue or purple. They form when valves in the veins, which keep blood flowing toward the heart, become weak or leaky. Blood gets trapped and pools in the vein. This stretches the vessel wall and prix cialis creates a varicose or spider vein.

Varicose veins rarely cause serious medical problems. But sometimes they can:

Cause pain, aching, heaviness, cramps, burning and itching

Lead to more serious conditions, such as open sores (ulcers) or blood clots

Spider veins are small varicose veins that occur closer to the surface of the skin. They may look like spider webs or branches, and they often appear on the legs or face. Although they may be a cosmetic concern, they do not cause medical problems.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins occur when veins weaken and stretch, becoming less elastic. This can come with age, increased pressure from weight gain or increased blood volume during pregnancy.

Other causes of varicose veins are:

Prolonged standing

Thrombophlebitis or blood clots

A congenital weakness in blood vessels

Self-care tips for treating varicose veins Wear compression stockings. These keep pressure on the veins in your leg, which helps blood return to your heart and keeps your legs from swelling. Wear them all day, and take them off only when you sleep at night.

Get off your feet. If you have to stand for a long time, take breaks and sit down as often as you can.

Stay a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight puts pressure on the veins in your legs. If you are overweight, losing weight can help improve varicose veins.

Be active. Walking, running, and biking strengthen the muscles in your legs, which helps blood move more easily through your veins. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program or increase your activity.

Keep your legs up when you are sitting, sleeping or resting. If you are lying down, put your legs up on some pillows above the level of your heart.

Don’t wear tight clothes. Clothes that are tight in your waist, groin or legs can cause varicose veins or make them worse.

What about more serious treatment?

You may need treatment if your varicose veins keep you from your daily activities, or if they cause:

Pain

Skin ulcers (sores) or other skin conditions

Blood clots (thrombophlebitis)

Surgery (ligation and stripping) was once the only way to get rid of varicose veins. Today there are other procedures, including laser treatment viagra homme and injection therapy (sclerotherapy). These can be done in your doctor’s office. Talk to your doctor to find out if one is right for you.

Should You Decaffeinate?

The amount of caffeine consumed by the average American is 200 mg a day. That’s about two 8-ounce cups of coffee, four 8-ounce cups of tea or three cans of caffeinated soda. We also get caffeine, in lesser amounts, in over-the-counter and prescription medications and in foods like chocolate.

If so many of us take in caffeine, can it be that bad? The answer is not clear. Studies throughout the years have looked at:

High blood pressure

Heart disease

Osteoporosis

Birth defects

Cancer

Ulcers and heartburn

No one can say that caffeine is directly related to any of these conditions. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says healthy adults can continue to consume caffeine in moderate amounts – that is, the equivalent of two cups of coffee per day.

High amounts of caffeine every day may increase your risk for heart disease, including abnormal heart rhythms. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor. You may be told not to have any caffeine.

Caffeine has only a very small effect on calcium absorption. Caffeine does increase the amount of calcium eliminated from your body (through urine, sweat, etc.) and slightly decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium. However, it’s estimated that just one cup of coffee causes a loss of just 2 mg to 3 mg of calcium. That is the amount in less than one teaspoon of milk. So, it’s not much to be concerned about.

How do you know if you’re getting too much caffeine? Pay attention to how you feel.

Signs include:

Anxiety

Excitability

Restlessness

Dizziness

Irritability

Problems concentrating

Stomachaches

Headaches

Trouble sleeping

Make no mistake. Caffeine is addictive. It is a drug, after all.

Caffeine affects the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical in the brain that affects your ability to feel pleasure. This may help fuel your addiction to caffeine. Caffeine also blocks a chemical that helps promote sleep in the body.

As caffeine wears off, you start feeling tired. To get yourself feeling good again, you need more caffeine. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Caffeine does not build up in your bloodstream or remain in your body. It may take your body five to seven hours to process caffeine and flush it out through your urine.

If you want to kick the caffeine habit, you should do so gradually. You are likely to start feeling withdrawal as soon as 12 hours after your last caffeinated beverage, and it usually peaks at 20 hours to 48 hours. The more caffeine you normally consume, the more severe withdrawal can be. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

Depressed mood

Headache

Trouble sleeping

Nervousness

Trouble concentrating

You can wean yourself by replacing half of your cup of coffee or tea or half of your glass of soda with decaffeinated versions. You can also try consuming a little less caffeine every day. By gradually reducing your caffeine intake, you can avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Health Benefits and Information on Black, Green and Oolong Tea

Did you know that aside from water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world? About half of all Americans drink tea daily. That adds up to 2.2 billion gallons of tea each year!

Besides being warm and tasty, tea has been used for centuries as a medicinal drink. But will drinking several cups of tea a day really provide health benefits? Scientists have been “brewing” over this very question for decades.

Types of tea

Caffeinated teas are often grouped into four main types: white, green, black and oolong. All four are produced from the leaves of a plant known as Camellia sinensis. Their flavor and properties vary depending on how the leaves are processed.

Green tea leaves are withered, steamed and then dried, with minimal processing. White tea is simply steamed and dried, and is made from young leaves that have not matured. Both tend to have a grassy flavor.

Black and oolong teas are made from mature leaves that are dried, crushed and fermented. This gives it a slightly stronger, fuller taste.

Herbal teas are not derived from the leaves of the Camellia plant. Most herbal teas in the market are not tea at all. They are simply infusions made with herbs, flowers, roots, spices or other parts of some plants.

The secret is in the leaves

Tea leaves contain several powerful antioxidants. These are compounds that protect cells against the damaging effects of aging and the environment. They are thought to contribute to the prevention of many chronic diseases.

Flavonoids, also known as polyphenols, are types of antioxidants found in tea. Flavonoids can also be found in many fruits, vegetables and other beverages like red wine and some fruit drinks.

Black and green teas have different types of flavonoids than fruits and vegetables. Green tea contains high amounts of the popular catechin flavonoid, known as EGCG. Researchers are also studying thearubigins now, a lesser known flavonoid in black tea.

Tea for two?

Although not ironclad, research is mounting that tea may be good for your health. Below is a summary of the findings:

Cardiovascular. There’s some evidence that regularly drinking green tea may reduce heart attack risk or atherosclerosis. Further studies are needed to clarify this, and also to see whether it might have a positive long-term effect on cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

Cancer. It’s still not known whether drinking black tea regularly can protect against cancer. Early lab tests with white tea show it may help to prevent colon cancer in particular, but more studies are needed. A large study from Japan in 2006 did not find that drinking green tea prevented cancer death. Some other smaller studies, though, suggest that drinking green tea over time reduces the severe effects of sun damage to skin, but this hasn’t been proven.

Diabetes. Research on rodents has shown that tea helped to improve glucose control with the antioxidant EGCG. Other findings have indicated that ECGC may slow the development of type 1 diabetes. But again, more research is needed to see if this is true in humans.

Arthritis. Early research suggests that green tea may help to reduce inflammation and joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis. Other data indicate that regular tea drinking might improve bone mineral density in older women. More studies are needed.

Memory. Limited studies have shown that green and black teas may help slow the course of Alzheimer’s disease, and may help improve mental alertness. Larger studies could help sort out whether either of these claims are true.

Drink to your health

Excessive polyphenols from large amounts of tea may reduce absorption of certain medicines and iron supplements. Always tell your doctor and pharmacists about any herbs and supplements you are taking.

Experts vary on how much tea you should drink, but most recommend at least three cups a day to reap any benefits.

Brew tea using 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried tea in a cup of boiling water. Or steep a tea bag for 3 to 15 minutes.

Do not drink tea if your doctor has restricted your caffeine intake. All types of tea, green, white, black and oolong, have caffeine. But it’s fine to drink decaf, which has nearly all the benefits of caffeinated tea.

Stick with cups of tea, versus supplements. There’s no proof that supplements will provide the same potential benefits as drinking tea.

Beware of bottled tea beverages that claim to help with weight loss. There is no evidence that tea can help burn calories. Also, instant iced tea has no health benefits.

More conclusive research is still needed, but there is no known downside to drinking tea in moderation. Enjoy this calorie-free, antioxidant-rich drink to your heart’s content. Just watch the sugar and whole milk, or don’t add them at all.

Movie Night And Popcorn

I finally got around to making homemade popcorn! I have been meaning to do this for a long time now. Hold on…before you roll your eyes and wonder why I didn’t just throw a bag into the microwave and press the “popcorn” button, turns out this was a really fun, quick, and super easy project and, more importantly, it didn’t involve any of the really toxic chemicals that microwave popcorn has been proven to contain. Here are a few scary pieces of information:

1.       Diacetyl is a chemical used in artificial butter flavoring found in microwavable popcorn that is extremely toxic – it’s the cause for sickening hundreds of popcorn factory workers and even killing a few of them. The condition is called popcorn lungor, more scientifically, bronchiolitis obliterans which, if it doesn’t kill you, requires you to get a double lung transplant.

2.       Even though many leading microwave popcorn companies have since replaced diacteyl with “newer, safer, butter substitutes”, they can be as toxic as the one they replaced, according to health investigators.

3.       The material coating of the microwaveable bags has been found to contain a toxin called perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA.

4.       Toxicologists estimate that microwave popcorn could account for about 20% of the PFOA levels measured in a person consuming just 10 bags a year. PFOA exposure has been associated with birth defects, increased cancer rates, and changes to lipid levels, the immune system and liver function.

Still want to curl up with that bag of microwaveable popcorn?  I can literally smell the cancer-causing artificial ingredients emanating from the bag. I am not judging – up until tonight, I have made only microwaveable popcorn myself. But, when I read the article where I got my facts from (http://ethicalnag.org/2010/01/09/micro-popcorn/), I decided, enough was enough and finally busted out the popcorn kernels that have been sitting in my pantry. I would show the kids how it was done “back when I was a kid”. (Crap…did I just really say that?)

The whole project took less than 10 minutes – and that was considering it was my virgin attempt.  Next time will take way less!

Here’s the “recipe” I followed:

Ingredients:

1.       1 Tbsp canola oil

2.       1/3 cup of popcorn kernels

3.       Salt

4.       1 tbsp butter

Preparation:

1.       Heat the oil in a medium or large sauce pan over medium high heat.

2.       Add 3 kernels. When they all pop, add the rest of the kernels and shake the pot to coat the kernels with oil

3.       Quickly cover the pot (hopefully you have a glass cover so your kids can watch the popping action – it’s not a deal breaker but it’s definitely an added bonus!).

4.       Continue gently shaking the pot as the kernels pop – it should sound just like the microwaveable variety does. The popping should happen virtually all at once – I think it took mine about a minute to all pop, give or take.

5.       When you hear the popping slow down significantly (like 1-2 real seconds in between pops), remove the pot from the heat, remove the lid, and pour into a bowl immediately.

6.       Melt the butter and pour that over the popcorn.

7.       Add salt to taste.

The popcorn was delicious! It was light and airy and didn’t have any artificial nastiness! As my 2 year old very eloquently stated…and I quote…”Mommy, this not yellow pahcorn – this white pahcorn. I love white pahcorn better.”

ENJOY! I know my kids did!