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Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
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Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
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Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
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Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
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Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
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Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
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Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
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Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
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Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
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Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
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Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
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Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
Eat Light - Live Longer
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Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
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Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
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Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
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Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
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Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
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Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
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Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- A supposedly harmless condition -- superficial vein thrombosis, or varicose veins that have become swollen and painful -- may herald the presence of a more dangerous problem.

One-quarter of patients with superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) in an Austrian study actually had deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening condition.

"The diagnosis of [SVT] has long been considered to be a benign entity which could be managed in the doctor's office [but] in fact may be the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. Robert Lookstein, an associate professor of radiology and surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

"I think it's a good idea for anybody with [superficial vein thrombosis] to undergo routine ultrasound screening of the deep veins of their legs to exclude this very, very serious diagnosis," Lookstein continued.

This advice does not apply to individuals with "regular" varicose veins, only to those who are experiencing varicose veins that are "quite engorged and firm to the touch," Lookstein said.

Many doctors may already be on the alert.

"This [finding] does not surprise me," said Dr. Robert Rosen, director of vascular intervention at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "They [the study authors] are documenting something that doctors are already doing."

SVT, explained Lookstein, happens when varicose veins in the calves or thighs become filled with blood clots. "They become painful, can become hot and patients can have low-grade fevers," he said. "It's a condition that can be quite uncomfortable."

Unlike SVT, which is visible on the surface of the skin, DVT is a blood clot that forms in veins deeper in the body. Complications can include pulmonary embolism, when a piece of the clot in the leg breaks off and travels to the lung; and post-thrombotic syndrome, in which the clots in the leg never heal, sometimes leading to loss of function of the legs, Lookstein said.

"This can transform somebody who would otherwise be a working member of the community and turn them into somebody unable to work, somebody who is bedbound," he said.

The authors of the new study, from the Medical University of Graz in Austria, looked at 46 patients (32 women and 14 men) who came to the dermatology department with SVT.

One-quarter of the patients had DVT, usually without symptoms. Of these, three-quarters had DVT in the same leg as the superficial vein thrombosis, 9 percent had DVT in the other leg and 18 percent had it in both legs, the researchers said.

Anybody with SVT should undergo routine screening with duplex ultrasound, which can be performed either in a doctor's office or by a vascular specialist, Lookstein said.

The findings were published in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.