Archive for May, 2011

Originally published on May 21, 2010:

Okay, I just had a bath and I noticed that the veins in my legs, particularly my thighs, are more blue and pronounced. I had noticed this with my pregnancy (which I lost in December, 2009) and it never seemed to go away. It looks like it got worse recently. Hmm, can’t find any information on the web about this correlation, but I have a hard time finding another cause for it! I remember reading something about increase blood volume in Graves patients,  which could put a strain on one’s veins,…hmm, surprises around every corner with this disease. No shorts this summer!

To read more about the onset and how confusing it was, click here:

I now think the cause was my cortisol levels (adrenal surge and then adrenal insufficiency). Too much cortisol causes vasoconstriction. Too little, or adrenal insufficiency, causes widespread vasodilation!

Note that after the flare up I had bright, blue and slightly swollen veins, which were also tender to touch (felt bruised ) in my thighs, chest, hands and feet. All doctors said they were nothing to worry about because there was no redness or bulging. I knew it was not normal. I also noticed mild swelling in these areas too. My ring finger would often be too swollen to wear my ring (this has never happened before).

Updated June 29, 2011

Unbelievable, but I now think I have officially solved the mystery of the big, blue veins! B12 deficiency and anemia!  I got a call from my doctor yesterday telling me that the results of my last blood test showed that I am:

  • B12 deficient
  • Anemic (low ferritin, low hemoglobin, macrocytic)
  • hypocalcemia

From what I’ve read, some people get big, blue veins when they’re anemic (B12 specifically, which results in anemia). I have swelling in my arms, face, legs, stomach, back, ankles… Apparently, when blood levels are low in protein (hemoglobin?), some process of osmosis draws fluids from your muscles – resulting in swelling, or edema. My upper arms felt heavy, watery, jiggly.  I don’t know how I could have these symptoms for 6 months, and be 5 months pregnant and not have this diagnosed sooner. I had read all about I didn’t bring it up to the doctor because this seemed like a first line of defence answer – simple blood test could have ruled it out months ago. They tested for lupus but not this?!

Update July 24, 2011

Blue veins are a by-product of b12 deficiency, which leads to an increase in homocysteine levels.
Tingling? B12 deficiency symptoms commonly ignored by doctors

Vitamin B12 assists circulatory lowering concentrations of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid. When homocysteine levels build up in the bloodstream, they interfere with the methylation reactions that remove toxic levels of homocysteine. High homocysteine levels hurt the heart. Some scientists even believe that high homocysteine levels may be even more damaging than high cholesterol levels.

High homocysteine levels decrease vascular elasticity, resulting in veins losing their elasticity, making it harder for them to dilate, and damaging their inner lining – leading to atherosclerotic plaques (cholesterol, collegen, and calcium).

Result: puts you at risk for coronary artery disease, heart attacks, strokes, “mini strokes” (transient eschemic attacks, or TIAs), blood clots (pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis), carotid and renal artery stenosis (narrowing), or aneurysms (ballooning of damaged blood vessels). It also promotes abnormal blood clotting.


  • high doses of B vitamins: folate, B6 and B12.
  • Vitamin B12 helps the body convert harmful homocysteine into harmless methionine.

When vitamin B 12 goes through its own methylation reaction it becomes methylcobalamin. This form of B12 is superior to other forms of the item in that it does not have to be activated before it starts its work.

Methylcobalamin is a super nutrient for the brain. It protects the brain from the ill effects of aspartame, glutamate, and nitric oxide. It also saves the brain form the damaging effects of poor circulation and hypoglycemia.

Glutamate and nitric oxide toxicity are hallmarks of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Poor circulation and the resulting low levels of oxygenation is a chronic problem after heart attack or stroke. Low blood sugar is a constant risk in well-treated diabetes.

Methylcobalamin also protects myelin, the “insulation” for cells throughout the central nervous system. Degeneration of the myelin layer is implicated in most cases of memory loss and progressive diseases like multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and degeneration of the spinal cord. The information on vitamin B12 recently discovered by French scientists is that the methylcobalamin form of the nutrient promotes regeneration of the insulating myelin and slows the progression of these diseases.




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