As winter turns to spring... and you pull your warm-weather clothes out once again... you may be a bit hesitant to pack away the corduroys and wool slacks.
Those cozy long pants sure provided good cover for something you'd rather not put on display in shorts.
I'm talking about varicose veins!
About a quarter of Americans have these unsightly marks popping out of their legs -- and while they can be embarrassing and even painful, they've generally been considered harmless.
That is, until now.
Because a new study suggests that having varicose veins could make your risk of a dangerous blood clot soar!
In the study, Taiwanese researchers collected health data on 425,000 people, half of whom had varicose veins.
It turned out that compared to those without those "spider" veins, those with them had over FIVE TIMES the risk of developing deep venous thrombosis (DVT), a.k.a. blood clots that form deep in your leg veins.
The clots may then travel from your legs to your lungs (a.k.a. "pulmonary embolism") or heart, where they can obstruct blood flow... and even be DEADLY.
It boils down to this: Varicose veins are a sign of a circulation problem.
You see, your heart has to work against gravity every day to pump blood from your legs back to your upper body. To help it do that, your blood vessels have tiny valves that prevent the backflow of blood.
But over time, the valves can fail... the blood can start to pool in your veins... and the "spider webs" that form mean that circulation has become sluggish.
And studies have shown that any time you reduce the flow of blood through your legs -- like when you sit for hours on a long-haul plane flight -- your risk of clots shoots up.
In fact, another study just published found that those who watched the most TV had a 70 percent higher chance of clots than those who watched the least, EVEN if they were active and physically fit.
All of that couch time really compromises your circulation!
So, if you get a hankering to "binge watch" your favorite show, make sure you get up and move around at least once an hour.
And if you're dealing with varicose veins, you don't have to go under the knife to improve them.
Butcher's broom -- which comes from a Mediterranean shrub -- has been used in Europe for centuries to improve circulation to the extremities, and it shrinks varicose veins naturally.
You can find it in supplement form at health food stores. I typically recommend taking 40 mg twice daily.
Shedding extra pounds and quitting smoking can also make it less likely that you'll develop varicose veins in the first place.