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Vascular Surgery

Vein health

12/10/2004

Question:

I just want to know is there any way to make your veins larger or healthier? My sister 35 year old sister has severe raynaud`s , and high blood pressure. We both have extremely small lower legs and wrist. I have alwys been the healthy one at 41 now I do take medicine for high cholestral and have had a few high b/p readings. I have given blood 24 times in my life and the last 3 times I`ve had to give in my right arm because a vein in my left couldn`t be readily found. Then when I went to thave my cholestrol took the other day they ended up having to take it from my hand. The nurse said my veins were just relly small. Is there anything I can do to improve this- should I stop giving blood? Am I damaging my veins the more I give?Our mother died of a sudden heart attack at 39 and I just want to stay healthy.

Answer:

The size on one's veins, while a problem when trying to give blood or have it removed, is generally not a medical concern. In your case, family history of premature atherosclerosis - "hardening of the arteries" - is something you unfortunately can not change. What you can do is NEVER smoke, keep your blood pressure less than 140/80, keep your cholesterol under 200 and exercise on a regular basis. I would suggest you have your family doctor check into all of these issues and pay particular attention to your vascular exam, i.e., any sign of plaque in your carotid arteries? Are your pulses normal in your feet?

Donating blood is up to you. No medical reason you can't based on what you have told me thus far.

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated