Author: Texas Endovascular

The Best Exercises for Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins Exercise

Varicose veins are veins that become enlarged or stretched out due to blood that pools in the legs. In addition to making your veins bulge, they can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tired, Achy Legs
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Nighttime Leg Cramps
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Ulcers or Sores

Since varicose veins are primarily caused by inactivity in the legs over a long period of time, getting out there and doing some exercises can help prevent and alleviate the symptoms associated with varicose veins.

How Does Exercise Help Prevent Varicose Veins?

While there’s no way to completely prevent varicose veins, regular exercise can help reduce the chances that you’ll get them. Simply changing your sitting or standing position regularly can improve your blood circulation, which helps reduce the amount of blood swelling the veins in your legs.

Exercise can increase your body’s ability to pump blood up the leg back toward the heart. It also helps keep your weight down, which further decreases your chances of getting varicose veins. Walking is a good choice, as are low-impact activities, such as swimming and biking.

What Exercises Prevent Varicose Veins?

If you already have varicose veins, exercise can keep them from getting worse and also help alleviate pain and discomfort. Generally, low-impact exercises are best, and include the following:

Walking or Running biking exercise for varicose veins

Walking just 30 minutes a day for five days a week can yield good benefits. If you run, try to find a grassy surface or synthetic track to minimize the stress on your joints.

Leg Lifts

Sit or lie on your back while sticking your feet straight out. Lift one leg at a time up, holding it in the air. Slowly lower it down and repeat with the other leg.

Bicycling or Bicycle Legs

Riding a bike or stationary bike is also helpful. If you don’t have access to any kind of bike, you can try this bicycle legs exercise. While lying on your back, put your legs in the air, bending them at the knee. Pedal them slowly as if you are bicycling. Try both legs at once, or alternate one at a time.

Lunges

Stand with your legs apart. Step forward slowly, bending your knee and making sure to keep your knee directly above your ankle. Hold it, then slowly straighten your leg and step back to your original position. Repeat with the other leg. While standing with your legs straight, rise up on your tiptoes and then lower back down. Repeat.

Rocking Your Feet

While you’re sitting or standing, rock your feet back and forth from heel to toe. This can be done at any time and is also helpful if health conditions prevent you from trying other forms of exercise.

Other Vein Health Exercises to Consider

When you suffer from chronic vein disease, you are vulnerable to venous leg ulcers: hard-to-heal sores that develop on your legs due to a combination of damaged capillaries and lymphatic ducts, and lack of oxygen in your lower legs. Once they develop, ulcers are hard to heal because, once again, of the shortage of oxygen reaching your lower limbs.

Fortunately, managing your vein disease with doctor-approved exercise can help protect you from developing ulcers. And, if ulcers have already formed, new evidence suggests that certain exercises may speed up your healing process!

Calf Raises and Venous Leg Ulcers calf raise exercise for ulcers

According to Dr. Laura Bolton, a member of the Wounds advisory board, evidence suggests that structured exercise training (SET) can help speed up the healing process for both venous leg wounds and diabetic foot ulcers. Chief among those exercises included in the SET program? Calf raises, thanks to their ability to get the heart pumping and improve circulation to the lower extremities. var

In her study, 77% of patients with venous leg ulcers had completely healed after a 12-week progressive exercise program; only 53% of non-exercisers enjoyed the same result. When it came to diabetic foot wounds, individuals who exercised for just 30 of the 96-day trial window saw a dramatic result in the size of their ulcers.

In revealing her findings, Bolton said: “This suggests that the more patients engage in calf muscle exercise, the more and earlier they improve their chronic VLU or DFU healing…[This could lead to saving] limbs and lives of patients. ”

Calf-Raise Routine for Improved Circulation

While no vein disease patient should engage in a new exercise routine without a doctor’s supervision, it is a good idea to discuss your physical activity once you’ve been diagnosed with vein health issues. Ask your doctor if it is safe to try this calf-raise routine, and you may just enjoy preventative or healing health benefits!

Standing Calf Raises

Position yourself on a staircase, with your hands resting against a wall or a sturdy object for balance and your heels hanging off the back edge of the stair. Raise your heels a few inches above the edge of the step so that you’re on your tiptoes. Hold the position for a moment, and then lower your heels below the platform, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles. That’s one rep; aim for three sets of 10-15 reps each. Please note that you may have to build up to that level of performance.

Seek Varicose Vein Treatment

Exercise can be helpful when dealing with varicose veins, but you may also need treatment to achieve better results. Texas Endovascular offers minimally invasive, in-office procedures that don’t require general anesthesia or sedation. Several different treatment options are available for varicose veins, and each requires little or no recovery time. In fact, most patients are able to return to work the same day. We’ll choose the procedure that will yield the best results in your particular case, improving your comfort level as well as appearance.

Contact Texas Endovascular at (713) 575-3686 today for more information about the best exercises and treatments for varicose veins and to schedule an appointment!

 

Sources: Azura Vascular Care

Learn the Warning Signs of Varicose Veins

It’s best to treat spider veins and vein disease early. In order to do this, however, you need to know your personal risk factor. Plus, you have to spot problems at their Varicoseonset. So, today, we’ll help you with both those tasks.

Varicose Vein Risk Factors

You can develop varicose veins at any time, but certain factors may elevate your risk. First, you should know that these veins are typically caused by faulty valves that affect the ability of your blood to flow back towards your heart, leaving it to pool in veins that then stretch out over time.) Predisposing factors include:

– Family history
– Sedentary lifestyle
– Carrying extra weight
– Constricting foot wear/high heels
– Pregnancy
Any of these factors can contribute to your likelihood of developing varicose veins. If you have one or more risk factors, it is even more important for you to look out for the earliest warning signs that indicate your veins have been damaged.

Initial Symptoms of Varicose Veins early signs of varicose veins


In order to detect vein disease, you have to actually look at your veins on a somewhat regular basis. People with dark, more visible veins are often more likely to develop a problem.  Individuals whose feet are swollen at the end of the day are also at risk of developing varicose veins, and should talk to their doctors immediately if this symptom persists beyond a day or two.

Light red spots may also appear on your lower legs before the tell-tale swelling and bulging of varicose veins actually appears. These spots may be a sign of a burst blood vessel, or other forms of venous insufficiency. Other symptoms may also include:

– peeling or itching skin
– an unnatural shine on your legs
– unnatural coloring on pigmentation on the surface of the skin

Any one of these symptoms should be sufficient cause for you to undergo a diagnostic vein scan, but in combination, multiple warning signs should send you to your vein doctor immediately.

Of course, varicose veins can also develop without any warning from initial symptoms. Because of this fact, it’s important to undergo regular vein health check-ups, especially if you know that your risk for vein disease is elevated in any way. Just remember, the earlier you catch a vein problem, the simpler it will be to resolve your symptoms. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what everyone wants?

5 Little Known Spider Vein Facts

Know that you’ve got the basics down, you’ll love learning these lesser-known spider vein facts.

1. As gnarled as their skin may look, elephants and other beasts don’t get varicose veins: only humans do. Unlike animals, who typically walk on four legs, the pressure put on human ankle veins from standing on two legs is what often leads to varicose veins.

2) Severe pain is not a symptom of varicose veins (except in rare cases where the veins have become inflamed;) dull aches after standing and itchiness are symptoms. Typically, however, it’s the cosmetic symptoms, not the physical ones, that lead patients to seek treatment.

3) Spider veins are not just your grandma or pregnant friend’s problem: they are way more common than you think. In fact, 30 per cent of all woman and 20 per cent of all men have large varicose veins. Of course, the chance of developing spider veins increases with age: by the age of 60 years, 50 per cent of all individuals have some sort of varicose vein.

4) Most varicose veins don’t require surgical treatment. Many veins can be treated on an outpatient basis with sclerotherapy, a procedure that uses an injection to shrink vessels and improve blood flow; radiofrequency ablation, a treatment in which a catheter is used to deliver heat to a vein, thus shutting it down; or a number of other treatment options that allow you to walk out of the clinic and go home on the same day as your procedure!

5) Treating varicose veins is important. Left untreated, skin damage that may simply start as dry, scaly, itchy skin can progress to form an ulcer, a hard-to-heal lesion that can be both painful and unsightly.

When it comes to your vein health, knowledge is power. The more you know about spider veins, why they develop and how they should be treated, the less likely you are to develop long-term problems as a result of this condition!

Sources: Mayo Clinic

Should I Take Fish Oil Supplements?

Are you taking fish oil? It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acid, and many doctors suggest taking approximately 1 gram per day. We often talk about fatty acids like miracle supplements, improving your heart health among other benefits. But, as it turns out, fish oil might not be so beneficial. This is what we know right now.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil Recommendations

Currently, physicians suggest that omega-3 supplements help prevent heart disease. Specifically, they should decrease the risk strokes or coronary heart disease.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Current studies show that fish oil may not be so effective. That’s why, today, we’ll look closely at all the evidence. First, however, let’s define a few terms.

  • Coronary artery disease narrows your arteries with built up plaque.
  • Symptoms of coronary heart disease include chest discomfort, tightness or pain. You may also experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea or even sudden death.
  • Strokes occur when a blood vessel running to your brain is blocked. Symptoms can include weakness, and drooping of one side of your face or mouth. Your speech may slur, and you can lose strength and co-ordination.

We do know that inflammation plays a role in heart disease. What isn’t so clear? Whether fish oil can truly make a difference in your risk.

Does Taking Fish Oil Help Prevent Heart Attacks?

To give a balanced answer to this question, we had to dig deep. So we looked at 10 studies of almost 78,000 high-risk patients who took omega-3 supplements for about 4 years. The purpose? To see if Omega-3 supplements helped decrease their risk of both fatal and non-fatal heart attacks. We also explored risk for other catastrophic events such as strokes, and the need for heart surgery related to heart disease.

The results of the ten studies, unfortunately, weren’t great. The patients showed no significant reduction in fatal or nonfatal heart attacks. Or any other heart disease related events, for that matter. Even further, after looking at the included patients with diabetes and high cholesterol; those taking cholesterol lower medication (statin); and people who already had heart disease; fish oil didn’t improve their health at all.

Now, why are we telling you all this? We want to get to the overall take-home point: based on the best current data, there is no evidence that taking fish oil supplements at the currently recommended dose (1 g/d) will decrease your risk of heart attack, death from a heart attack, or other significant events caused by heart disease.

Sadly, this study isn’t our only evidence for that conclusion. The US Agency for Healthcare Research, and Quality reported similar results in 2016: people taking omega-3 supplements showed no signs of reduced heart health risks.

The Future of Fish Oil Supplements

Still, you don’t need to toss out your fish oil supplements just yet. We need further studies to determine whether high doses of fish oil, combinations of fish oil and other treatments such as diet and lifestyle interventions, or statin use can decrease the risk of heart disease. Current studies looking at whether 3-4 grams of fish oil per day may provide benefit are in progress.

In the meantime, however, protecting your vein health and improving your circulation can minimize your risk for certain circulatory conditions, including Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD.) To learn more about your current health situation, and to help lower your risk for heart disease, come in for a diagnostic vein scan. We can identify your current risk factors and formulate a treatment protocol that will lower your risk for dangerous complications.

Sources: National Library of Medicine, JAMA Cardiology

What are Minimally Invasive Vein Treatments?

The doctors in our practice offer minimally invasive vein treatments. But, so often, we get asked about our medical specialty: what is an interventional radiologist? At the most basic level, it means we treat medical conditions such as spider veins  and peripheral arterial disease with minimally invasive techniques.

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to perform more invasive procedures. After all, the doctors at our Houston area vein clinics attended four years of medical school. Next, they completed four-year diagnostic radiology residencies and Interventional Radiology fellowships.

So, what’s the difference between our specialty and those of other doctors? Our goal as interventional radiologists is to offer less expensive, less invasive alternatives to surgery. And our procedures come with shorter recovery periods, less pain and lower risks of complications.

But what does an interventional radiology procedure look like? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a minimally invasive vein treatment?

During an IR procedure, your interventional radiologist is guided by an image, such as that from an ultrasound. This gives us a live picture of less accessible parts of your body. Making just a small incision, we guide that image to  the remote location in your body using a catheter. And that’s why your treatments don’t require major surgical incisions!

Interventional radiology procedures include:

  • Varicose vein ablation: this out-patient procedure sends heat to malfunctioning veins. The high temperature permanently closes up the problem vein, eliminating its appearance on your skin and preventing vein disease progression.
  • Uterine fibroid embolization, a non-surgical procedure that effectively kills these tumors without an overnight hospital stay!
  • Sclerotherapy: a great option for varicose veins that don’t look great, but aren’t showing signs that you’ve got serious vein disease. Essentially, this is a great cosmetic option.
  • Phlembectomy … this is a surgical procedure, but it’s still minimally invasive. Basically, when your bulging veins are located right under your skin, we can use local anesthetic, then make several tiny incisions in your leg. Through those incisions, we remove your bulging vein and, because the slits were so small, you won’t need stitches and any scarring will be minimal. Plus, six months after your procedure, any marks should disappear entirely!

There are so many more ways we can address your vein health challenges without invasive surgery.  But we want you to understand why that’s such a big deal for your overall health. So please keep reading to find out why you should explore minimally invasive vein treatments.

Interventional Radiology vs. Surgery: What’s the Benefit?

As we mentioned, IR procedures hurt less than surgeries. They are less likely to leave a scar and, thanks to image guidance, are often more precise than surgical procedures.

Many times, they can be performed with no overnight hospital stays. And no hospital stay means less out-of-pocket expenses for most patients!

So, does less pain, less cost, less risk and more accuracy sounds like what you’re looking for in a vein treatment? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Simply schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained Interventional Radiologists to learn if you are a good candidate for our treatment protocols.

Sources: Radiology Info

Pregnancy and Varicose Veins: What You Need to Know

Varicose Veins & Pregnancy

When you first get pregnant, people will prepare you for a lot of things. From nausea and cravings to fatigue and mood swings, chances are you probably think you’ve heard it all. If only that were true.

For as many as 70% of expectant mothers, varicose veins can come as a somewhat frightening surprise. After all, the last thing you want to see during your pregnancy are unexpected (and unwanted) surprises on your body! However, there’s no need to worry: while varicose veins may be uncomfortable, they are not dangerous for you or your pregnancy. Learn more about what causes varicose veins during pregnancy, and what you can do to solve the problem safely.

Why Do Pregnant Women get Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins around the legs, breasts, rectum, and vulva are a very common side effect of pregnancy. Because it now has another being to support, your body produces more blood during pregnancy, which can result in added pressure on your blood vessels. This effect is particularly pronounced near your lower body, as your legs are responsible for working against gravity to deliver the extra blood to your heart. This blood also moves more slowly than normal, increasing the pressure placed on the veins and causing them to bulge. In addition to bulging veins, the extra blood has been known to cause hemorrhoids and swollen vulva. Increased production of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy is also a contributing factor to the development of varicose veins.

Addressing Leg Swelling

Of course, varicose veins aren’t the only troubling pregnancy side effect. So many women also develop swollen legs and ankles. In fact, the two symptoms often go hand-in-hand. And they’re triggered by the same problem: extra weight puts more pressure on your lower extremities. That pressure makes it harder for blood, and other fluids, to leave your legs and return to your heart, so your veins and legs often swell from the extra fluid.

Fortunately, there’s one common solution to both these issues: compression socks. When you wear compression socks while you’re pregnant, they can offer pain relief by encouraging proper blood flow. These compression socks can also help prevent edema (swelling) as well as varicose veins. But what if you’ve already noticed these pesky veins popping up? Just keep reading to find out your next best steps.

Treating Varicose Veins in Pregnancy compression socks and pregnancy

While your varicose veins pose no risk to you or your child during pregnancy, they are unsightly and can be somewhat painful. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe, all-natural options for alleviating discomfort until they recede naturally.

  • Elevate Your Legs: When you have some time to lie down and relax, try to elevate your legs above your heart for about 15 minutes. This will help the blood recirculate appropriately, and is most effective if done at least three or four times a day. To maintain results, consider wearing compression stockings during the day.
  • Stay Mobile: While being pregnant can zap your energy, staying active is essential to preventing and alleviating varicose veins. Hardcore gym trips aren’t necessary; simply work in a few walks or some light cardio each day to promote stronger circulation during pregnancy.
  • Sleep On Your Left Side: While it might take some getting used to, sleeping on your left side comes with a number of health benefits, including the reduction of varicose veins and an increase in blood flow to the fetus. Sleeping on your left side reduces the amount of pressure put on the vena cava, your body’s largest vein, which is located on the right side of your body.
  • Take Your Vitamins: A healthy diet rich in vitamin C can work wonders for improving vein health during pregnancy, by providing your body with the tools it needs to generate collagen and repair damaged blood vessels.

After-Baby Solutions

In most cases, varicose veins fade on their own once pregnancy has ended…but sometimes, that just isn’t the case. While surgical vein treatments are not safe during pregnancy, they could be your best option for removing varicose veins after you’ve welcomed your child.

If you’re ready to fight back against varicose veins, Texas Endovascular offers a number of varicose treatment options to ensure that you receive the right results for your exact needs. Our procedures are minimally invasive, require only local anesthesia, and can be performed conveniently in-office. Discover what Texas Endovascular can do for your post-pregnancy body, and schedule your consultation today.

Sources: Baby Gaga, American Pregnancy Association

5 Reasons to Rock Compression Socks

For many people, the words “compression socks” bring to mind images of your grandmother’s awful stockings. It may make you want to run for your fashion life, directly in the opposite direction. But here’s the thing: compression stockings are very useful medical tools when it comes to managing your vein health. So it’s important to wear them when your doctors suggests it. So, in case you need a little extra push toward the compression stocking aisle, here are three great reasons to wear these most useful articles of clothing!

5 Compelling Reasons to Wear Compression Socks

Especially in the hot summer months, we know compression socks may seem unpleasant. But they have important jobs to do, so just give them a chance. Need more convincing? Here are the reasons why wearing compression socks is so important!

Choosing The Right Compression Therapy
Compression stockings don’t have to look like this anymore…there are many patterns and colors to choose from!
  1. They could save your life.

    Compression stockings put pressure on your leg, and that pressure pushes blood from the bottom of your legs into the deep venous system, helping blood return to your heart. Because of this, compression stockings are great tools for managing many types of vein disease. They can reduce or even eliminate edemas (swelling of the leg, ankles or feet) and can help reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a potentially deadly condition that often develops without any warning signs.)

  2. They can keep varicose veins from getting worse.

    Varicose veins emerge when valves in your veins fail, allowing blood to pool. This pooling blood can cause your veins to bulge or darken in color, which is the point at which they become visible through your skin. Because compression stockings promote the return of blood from your legs to your heart, they can help prevent blood pooling and prevent new varicose veins from developing, or existing ones from getting worse.

  3. Compression Socks speed up blood flow.

    Even if you don’t have vein disease, boosting blood flow is beneficial. These socks do their job by mimicking the natural movement your body makes when pump blood from your legs into the upper parts of your body. With this help, your body can work more efficiently. Which may translate to more energy in your body…and that’s always a good thing!

  4. Get help for all day standing and sitting.

    What’s one common complaint among people who spend all day on their feet? Swollen legs (edema.) And compression socks can help with this area as well. How? If you need to stand or sit for hours at a time, fluid can build up in your legs. And that’s when you may notice swelling.  At first, this may not seem like a big problem. But if you don’t address fluid buildup, the extra pressure could burst your veins, leaving you with open sores (ulcers) or infection. If that sounds scary, well…good. It is! Thankfully, however, wearing compression socks will minimize your risk by pushing fluid out of your legs while they work on your blood flow. 

  5.  

    These days, compression stockings are so cute!

    Back in your grandmother’s day, compression stockings were, admittedly, unattractive. In 2019, however, compression stockings come in an array of colors, sizes and prints. Basically, there’s a pair to fit every person’s individual style AND medical needs. So, basically, using the “ugly” excuse to avid compression stockings is no longer an option.

Vein disease can make your legs less attractive, but compression stockings can manage your symptoms AND help you look cute while doing so! Looking for a recommendation on a great pair of stockings? We’ve got so many options in our Houston area offices. Stop on by and check them out!

 

Sources: Web MD, Rite Aid, Explosion

Try This Vein Health Diet Now

Do you need to work on your vein health diet? We know that stress eating is a real problem, especially in this pandemic-driven summer, but it’s not too late to star a diet that will protect your veins–and the rest of you!

And here’s the best part: it’s not so hard. In fact, with just a few careful food decisions, you can keep your veins performing optimally as we ride out the rest of this crazy summer! First step: let’s limit those salty snack.

Sodium Intake in your Vein Health Dietsodium hurts vein health

Salty foods make your body hold onto fluid. Excess fluid puts pressure on your veins. By limiting your sodium intake, you can help your body flush out excess fluids and give your veins a bit of a break.

Some of the worst offenders to avoid? Steer clear of canned foods, deli meats, bacon, packaged meats like carne asada, pizza, soy sauce, olives, pickles, condiments, and other highly processed foods.

Fried Food

Fried treats like our favorite bucket of KFC are delicious, but also a problem. Not only are they high in sodium (see above) they also have high fat contents. Combine that with little to no fiber content, and those french fries can trigger fatty build-ups in your arteries. This may pave the way for Peripheral Arterial Disease. But, more immediately, they can also trigger constipation. Now, this may not seem like a vein heath problem, but here’s the deal: when you’re constipated, you have to strain in the bathroom. And that puts a strain on the veins in your rectum, as well as others in your lower body.  So limit fried treats to keep your blood (and everything else) flowing smoothly through your body. And stay away from dairy, red meat and starchy foods or white breads. These, too can all be constipating, contributing to strain-related varicose veins. 

Skip the Booze

We’ve already talked about the danger of retaining water. Which is why you should avoid sodium. But now let’s talk about flushing water out of your body too quickly. When you eat or drink something with diuretic properties (like alcohol) it makes you pee more often. And this can contribute to dehydration, which can impact blood flow, forcing your body to work harder at circulation. This, in turn, ups the pressure on your veins, potentially causing or worsening existing varicose veins. So, now that you now some foods to avoid, let’s get done with the bad news and focus on the good: food that help support your vein health!

Eat the Rainbow and Drink Up that Water

Colorful fruits like these berries can help support vein health at the holidays and all year round!

Whatever else you put in your body this holiday season, work to sneak in those colorful fruits and veggies–the brighter, the better! Not only do they contain plenty of antioxidants that will help stimulate blood flow, they also have lots of fiber, which will help you feel fuller, eat less and avoid weight gain (another factor that can contribute to vein health issues.)

Just as sodium makes your body hold on to fluid, drinking lots of water will help flush liquids out of your system. And, once again, it will make you feel more full, which means you’ll eat less of what’s going to harm your health.

Sources: San Diego Vein Institute

 

5 Ways to Prevent Spider Veins

So many things contribute to your risk of developing spider veins: your age, your family history and your weight can all play a role. So, while it may not be possible to prevent spider veins from ever forming, there are certainly things you can do to delay the process, or to prevent existing veins from worsening. leg exercise

Now, with that being said, here are our top hacks for preventing the type of vein damage which can lead to spider veins on your legs.

Preventing Vein Damage and Varicose Veins

As we mentioned, sometimes vein disease will develop no matter what you do. It’s simply part of your genetic code. And, if you have a family history of vein disease, you should certainly come in for a diagnostic vein scan to assess your risk. But, other times, you can help support vein damage and prevent or delay the appearance of those spider veins.

  1. Protect your skin from the sun

    We all know that sunscreen can protect you from burns, sun spots and wrinkles. But did you know that it’s also crucial for your vein health? As it turns out, sun damage, especially on your legs, may contribute to spider vein development. So lather up to say goodbye to those unsightly, bulging leg veins.

  2. Don’t stand or sit for extended periods

    Spending a long time in any one position—whether it’s up or down—can make your spider veins worse. Why? When you stop moving, blood can start to pool in the bottom of your legs. If your job requires you to sit a lot, try taking frequent walking breaks or do some stationary leg exercises under your desk. If you have to stand up on the job, sneak in sitting breaks throughout the day, ideally elevating your feet during that downtime.

  3. Wear compression socks or hose

    Compressions stockings can help your valves stay in the proper position, improving your circulation and reducing discomfort. We offer several different sizes and styles of compression socks in our Houston vein clinic, so you can pick the pair that suits your mood.

  4. Make overall health your priority

    By eating a balanced diet, avoiding excessive alcohol and staying well hydrated, you’re already on the right path towards protecting your vein health. And don’t feel like you have t do everything all at once: even a small change, like adding more fruits and veggies to your diet, can give you an extra boost of fiber and potassium—both of which help support healthy veins!

  5. Get sweaty on the regular

    Exercising is crucial in preventing the progression of varicose veins because it helps protect and improve your circulation. Don’t worry—you don’t need to start training for a marathon to enjoy the benefits of exercise. If you’re new to fitness, start with walking: it gets you active without putting too much pressure on your body. Bonus: it costs you nothing, you don’t need any equipment, and you can make it into a social opportunity! If walking isn’t your speed, give yoga a chance. Not only will it help your circulation, it can also tone and strengthen the leg muscles that support your most vulnerable veins!

Varicose veins can be unsightly and painful, so if you have one or more risk factors, taking preventative steps like these are always a good idea. It’s also smart to get regular vein health check-ups: the sooner you catch a potential problem, the sooner you can begin treatment and avoid further complications!

Sources: verywellhealth.com, viavascular.com, American Academy of Dermatology

The Power of Everyday Stretching and PAD

There’s a brand new way to address PAD: stretching! Remember when you thought cardiovascular exercise like walking was the only way to help your Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)? Well, a new study from the University of Milan is turning that idea on its head. Researchers revealed that 12 weeks of passive stretching can also improve your blood flow and support your vascular health. This could drastically alter exercise recommendations for PAD patients.

PAD is a painful condition triggered by narrow, hardened arteries. When you feel PAD pain in your legs, it’s because reduced blood flow to your legs means they don’t receive enough oxygen to support your movement.

Typically, vein specialists recommend a walking program to help boost blood flow to your legs. Even though the walking will hurt at first, over time, most PAD patients see symptom improvement. Especially when they walk in combination with other treatment protocols.

For some, however, that initial pain is overwhelming. Which is why this new Italian research is very ing exciting.

Dynamic, Active and Passive Stretching  Passive stretching can improve blood flow and PAD

Before turning to the research findings, a word on stretching. There are three types: dynamic stretching, which involves loosening your body while you’re on the move. Think gentle walking lunges, arm twists and leg swings. Dynamic stretching is a great warm up for active workouts like jogs and runs.

Next comes active stretching, where you get into a stretched position, such as lifting your leg in the air in front of you. And then you hold that position without the assistance of your hands, or anything else. Associated with workouts like yoga flows, these stretches increase your flexibility and build muscle. But they’re not the type of stretch we’re talking about today.

The stretching format included in our study is passive stretching. It involves assuming a stretch position and holding your body in that pose with the help of your hands or another external force, like a yoga strap. Now, apparently, we know that passive stretching can improve your blood flow. Let’s take a closer look.

Blood Flow, Stretching and PAD Study

To start, researchers gathered 39 healthy men and women, splitting then them into two groups. One group engaged in leg stretches five times a week for 12 weeks. The second group didn’t stretch.

At the end of the study period, the stretching group showed evidence improved vascular health. heart attack and stroke. The study authors wrote: “Blood pressure was decreased, central and peripheral arterial stiffness was reduced, and vascular function was increased after 12 weeks of passive stretching training.”

In other words, regular passive stretching minimized factors that contribute to PAD. All of which suggests that, in addition to walking and other forms of cardio, you may want to discuss a stretching program with your vein specialist.

Now, it’s important to note that stretching doesn’t produce the same level of blood flow improvement as cardiovascular exercise. But for those who can’t walk, or who are able to combine stretching and walking programs, the findings show a lot of promise.

Preventing and Treating PAD

As we noted earlier, stiff, hard arteries contribute to PAD symptoms. So, keeping your arteries healthy can help prevent this condition. But how can you protect your arterial health?

You need to maintain their flexibility, since they must expand and contract in order to allow for proper blood flow. And, to keep your arteries flexible, you should maintain a healthy weight, engage in cardio exercise and address high blood pressure if that’s a personal concern.

If, however, you’ve already developed plaque and atherosclerosis, it’s time to explore PAD treatment. At our Houston area arterial care clinics, we treat PAD with minimally invasive procedures such as Angioplasty, Stenting, and Atherectomy. In most cases, we’re able to resolve your symptoms without large incisions or open surgery, so we’re typically able to send you home the same day as your procedure.

But what does that procedure look like? One of our expert interventional radiologists inserts a small IV and wire through your groin. Once we access your blood vessel, we use imaging to guide the wire into position past your affected artery. From here, we’ll determine the best treatment option based on your disease progression. We’ll either use a balloon to widen your vessel (angioplasty) or carefully place a stent that will hold the vessel open permanently to increase blood flow.

If you have PAD symptoms such as pain when you walk, numb or cold feet, reduced leg hair or toenail growth, or wounds that just won’t heal, it’s time to come in for a visit. We’ll get you scheduled for an Ankle-Brachial Index test that will determine the extent of your PAD progression.

 

Sources: MIT.edu, The Journal of Physiology

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