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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

She's Got Legs and She Knows How to Use THem

Hey girlfriends! Or shall I say Bonjour. Here I am in beautiful Montreal just one week shy of finishing my cross-country cycling tour. It really has been magical. The scenery has been perfection; the weather not so bad and my ass fell asleep in Alberta and has yet to wake up.

To top it all off I had two days off in Toronto and rewarded my efforts with an afternoon of shopping on Bay and Bloor. Big love to Gloria at Holt Renfrew who let me try on whatever I wanted and gave me champagne so that everything automatically looked good on me!

It is my firm belief that when one combines intense physical activity with retail therapy and fuzzy alcohol… World peace is not far behind.

I have learned a lot over the past couple of weeks on a bicycle.

I have learned that exercising for 5 hours a day gives one a certain freedom from the guilt of carbohydrate consumption.

I have learned that the right chamois cream (butt butter) is the key to protecting the good china when cycling 100 km or more every day.

I have learned that it is not a bad thing to confine one’s day to just cycling, sleeping and eating.

I have learned that cell phone coverage is a right and not a privilege especially in certain parts of rural Canada.

Most fascinatingly, I have learned that men hate their varicous veins as much as women do.

Allow me to explain….

For the last 16 days, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to check out people’s legs. When much of your day is spent riding in a line with a rider in front of you, there is not really much to look at. You stare at the back wheel of the bike in front of you and in turn the ass of the rider in front of you as well. Apart from the scenery you are looking at the back of someone’s legs and their ass for hours.

This is where you notice people leg composition. Who has hairy legs? Who is well shaved? Many men who cycle seriously do in fact often shave their legs.

It was on one such section of my cross-country ride that I noticed a fellow rider had one hell of a set of varicose veins. I myself do in fact have some serious varicose veins as well. As a kindred “venous spirit” I stared in appreciation. There they were my first set of blue wormy veins on a man.

Make no mistake, I have seen a lot of legs in my time… but these were the first big ass varicosities that I had witnessed on the legs of a man under age 50.

No judgment here my girlfriends as I too have a kick ass varicose vein. It sits on my right leg and begins at the back of my thigh and goes down to the middle of my calf. It is huge. I do not love it or hate it… instead I just accept it. No drama. Besides, I can always wear fabulous heals to offset the big ass vein bulging out of my leg.

Here’s the 411 on varicose veins….

They are more common in women than in men by a ratio of 9:1. They are strongly inherited. In fact one study published in the American Journal of Genetics in 2006 showed that varicose veins have been linked to the FOX2 gene on Chromosome 16.

There are two structural reasons for varicose veins to happen. You see veins themselves really don’t have a muscular wall to them. They drain by gravity and by the muscles around them acting to “pump” blood back to the heart. They do however have various “valves” in sequence along the inside of a vein so that blood only flows one way.

Varicose veins form because of what is called a junctional problem where there is a failure of the valve at the junction of the saphenous vein and the deep venous system. This is like saying there is failure at the stoplight where the TransCanada highway intersects with a city.

This is often why veins are found in the lower part of the thigh and in the calf. That is where the “junctional failure” occurs and where that valve often fails. As a result the blood pools in the vein and its stretches and becomes chronically malformed.

Another cause for varicose veins is as a result of a failure of the of the perforator veins. In other words this is a failure of the stoplights on the side streets in a city.

There you have it my girlfriends…. And now you are systematically inspecting your legs for veins. Understand that varicose veins also have a grading system from small little spider veins all the way up to large ulcerations in chronic varicose veins.

Yes, they can be unsightly but hey… sometimes life is just not pretty. My fellow male cyclist whose calves were full of wormy veins was a fabulous guy and a lot of other great qualities….

I will leave you (and him if he is reading this) this week with a quote from the great Lady Gaga… whose music has been playing over and over along my cross-country cycle thus far…

Rejoice and love yourself today because baby you were born this way.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! I won't worry about my varicose veins anymore and continue to smile at my veiny brothers and sisters when we cross paths!