regular-article-logo Tuesday, 30 May 2023

The why and how of varicose veins

If nothing works, then you may require surgery

Dr Gita Mathai Published 12.04.23, 05:00 AM


Both my legs are swollen in the evenings. There are bluish bumps in several places, which are compressible. My doctor says I have varicose veins. Not only is it ugly, but also my legs ache if I stand for a few hours. Do I need surgery?

Varicose veins occur because of a lack of competency of the valves in the veins. Blood automatically tends to flow down due to gravity. These valves should prevent the backflow of blood in the veins of the leg.


In the early stages, it may be possible to control this by doing pumping exercises of the calf muscles, wearing varicose veins stockings, and taking some medication. Also, lie with your legs straight up several times a day for two minutes at a time. Whenever you lie down, keep your legs elevated on pillows. If nothing works, then you may require surgery.

Sore tongue

I am 60 years old and diabetic. My tongue is sore and red all the time. I am unable to eat or enjoy any food.

Your tongue may be sore because of a deficiency of the B group of vitamins, or iron and zinc. This is a common condition in older people, especially if they are on medications and a restricted diet. In addition, there may be a secondary fungal infection.

You could take supplements to correct this. Also, try applying antifungal mouth paint to your tongue three times a day after food.

Sour taste

I wake up every morning with an acidic taste in my mouth. I also have burning feeling in the centre of my chest.

You may be having gastrointestinal reflux (GERD). Doctors often prescribe tablets for this. To complement the medication, you can try eating your last meal an hour before lying down. Take a short 10-minute walk before sleeping. Take 30ml of homemade curd on an empty stomach in the morning. Please do an endoscopy to see if there is any other problem; or if you have H. pylori infection.

Swollen feet

I find that my feet are slightly swollen in the evening. My sandals become tight. The left foot feels uncomfortable after a few days whenever I buy shoes.

Nobody has two feet of the same size. One foot or the other is slightly larger. Feet also tend to get slightly swollen as we sit and stand through the day. To offset this, always buy shoes in the evening; try the shoes on both feet. Walk a few steps to see if both feet are comfortable. Sometimes people buy two pairs of shoes, in different sizes, because there is such a marked difference in the size of two feet.

Vaccine fail?

I have had three doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine but still developed jaundice. I was very sick.

Hepatitis can be caused by viruses Hepatitis A, C, D and E as well as B. Hepatitis B immunisations specifically protect only against the infection and jaundice caused by the Hepatitis B virus. Other organisms like Leptospira, typhoid and gallbladder infections can also cause jaundice. All jaundice is not due to infections. Non-infectious forms of jaundice can be due to liver damage with toxins, poisons, alcohol or fat deposition in the liver (fatty liver). Therefore, you may have had some other type of hepatitis and jaundice, not Hepatitis B, against which you are adequately immunised.

Walk in slippers

Can I wear slippers for my morning walk?

Slippers are usually made of soft material. They do not provide arch support or sufficient traction. Slippers may be slippery and unstable. It is better and safer to find shoes with good arch support for walking.

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