Don’t Be Vein about Your Veins!

There may have been many changes in your life, but if you are a woman over the age of 40, one of the biggest changes is on the horizon – menopause. The hormonal changes that occur with menopause can affect your mood, sleep, bone mass and even increase your risk for heart and circulatory disease. As we age, our skin loses it protective pigment, becomes thinner, and the walls of the blood vessels become more fragile. It is more common for women to experience bruising and broken veins. Those swollen, bulging and overly visible red and blue veins in the legs that stop many from wearing shorts are not necessarily just a cosmetic issue. Varicose veins and the less protruding spider veins are common circulatory conditions. For some, they can be associated with swelling, considerable discomfort, pain, throbbing, burning sensations, itching and even muscle cramps or fatigue. Symptoms may also include redness around the ankles and on the legs, skin discolorations or hyper-pigmentation, and thickening of the skin. In chronic cases, the condition can progress to leg ulcers and infections, blood clots and other serious health consequences. The natural aging process and the loss of estrogen at menopause also put women at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the number one killer of women in the United States. Before the onset of menopause, women only have one-fifth the rate of heart disease as men of the same age. Within 10 years following natural menopause, the women's rate is equal to their male counterparts. Growing older gracefully and transitioning through menopause is much easier if you follow a few simple rules. Don’t smoke, avoid overexposing yourself to the sun, moisturize, avoid alcohol and caffeine, drink plenty of water, exercise and maintain a relationship with your primary care provider. I am hosting the Red Hot Mamas Seminar on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at Portneuf Medical Center. The event will focus on “Vein Health and Menopause.” Doors open at 6pm; the presentation begins at 6:30. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a seat, call Portneuf Community Education and Events Line at 208-239-1401. Red Hot Mamas monthly seminars are physician-presented and cover a wide range of topics relating to the physical and psychological stresses that can accompany this phase in a woman’s life. To learn more about PMC’s upcoming seminars including Red Hot Mamas, be sure to like Portneuf Medical Center on Facebook. If your veins are causing any discomfort, it is important to consult a physician.