Author: Texas Endovascular

5 Do-Anywhere Workouts for Veins

Are there workouts for veins that can prevent vein disease? Well, there are so many reasons why you develop varicose and spider veins. In fact, your genes may be upping your risk!  Even so, you can be proactive about prevention. And part of those changes include exercising more.

Now, even a few simple lifestyle changes go a long way towards preventing these veins from developing. Whether you are starting to see the early signs of varicose or spider veins, or you hope to prevent them altogether, certain workouts can promote healthy veins. Why not make these last weeks of 2021 your time to sweat some vein-preventing workouts (and show off those healthy legs with pride!) We’ve even tapped a top fitness trainer for work-out-at-home safety tips, in case you’re too busy to get to the gym!

Walking workouts for veins

Taking a walk or hike is one of the best ways to give your legs a workout and improve circulation in your legs. Walking is a great low-impact exercise that can strengthen your calf muscles and minimize spider or varicose veins.

Try talking a stroll through your neighborhood, find a nearby greenway to walk on, or plan a hike. If you’re wanting a more rigorous workout, a run will also improve circulation and get more blood returning to your heart, which can help prevent varicose veins.

Ride your bike to smoother legs

workouts to prevent veins

Riding a bike is another exercise that works out your legs and promotes healthy veins. Bonus? It doesn’t put too much stress on your joints, and as you pedal, your calf muscles flex, giving your veins a rest and helping circulate blood back to the heart.

You can ride a stationary bike or a regular bike. Don’t have access to either? No problem! You can still mimic this exercise motion, while lying on your back on the floor, a bed or any flat surface. To get all the same benefits as biking, just raise your legs and pretend that you are pedaling. This will still stimulate blood circulation in your legs and help protect your veins.

Try Swimming or Water Workouts for Veins

The buoyancy of water means that swimming and water aerobics don’t put stress on your joints while still providing cardiovascular benefits. The water resistance will also help workout your leg muscles even more and improve circulation.

If you have a pool, try swimming lap. Or seek out a secluded lake or beach where you can take a socially responsible dip in the water.

Squats and Calf Raises

Squats and calf raises both strengthen your leg and thigh muscles. Now, that’s important. Because strong leg muscle produce strong contractions. And strong contractions help get blood out of your legs and back up to your heart. Which means no blood pooling, and a lower risk of varicose veins.

Of course, position is important with these exercises. See out in-depth guide to calf raises here. Then, think about these elements when squatting. Keep weight in your heels. Push your glutes back instead of down, and try to keep your head and chest lifted as you lower your body. In fact, since doing squats improperly can cause pain, it’s best to check your form with a trainer or even your doctor to prevent injury.

Preventing Varicose Veins

Risk factors that increase your chance of suffering from vein disease include:

  • If your family has a history of vein disease
  • If you are over 45
  • If you are a woman
  • If you are pregnant
  • If you are overweight
  • If you sit for the majority of the day or stand for the majority of the day

If any of these apply, you’ll want to get started on a vein-healthy workout routine. Make sure to discuss any changes in your activity routine with a doctor before starting a new exercise program! And check out these safety tips for working out at home!

Safely Transitioning to a Home Workout

With so much time on our hands, but very few gym spaces available, we’re taking workouts to our living rooms, back yards and neighborhood streets. And this is all great, as long as you stay safe. To help protect your health, certified personal trainer Anita Slaughter, owner of A | TRAIN FITNESS, shares her top safety tips for at-home workouts! And feel free to reach out and train with Anita from home. She offers virtual training and Zoom fitness!

Staying safe with in-home exercise

1.       While exercise has numerous health benefits, if you weren’t exercising regularly before the stay at home mandate, you should ease into a fitness program and slowly increase the frequency, duration and intensity.

2.       It is important to add variety to the fitness program you choose.  Working the same muscle groups, the same way, day after day can lead to overuse/repetitive injuries, so mix it up.  Participate in lower body strength training one day, upper body the next and core the following. Throw cardio exercise in the mix, with walks or runs outside for the added Vitamin D benefit.

3.      Without the normal day to day movement we’re getting, even from our homes to our cars, we are far more sedentary right now than we even realize.  So if you don’t have a 45-60 minute block of time, break it up into two to three 15-30 minute segments each day.

4.      If you have underlying health issues (like vein disease) or you’re concerned about safety, consult a professional.  Telehealth is now available if you need to get clearance from a physician or vein specialist.  There are numerous web options for exercise programs so find one that fits your needs and investigate to ensure they’re provided by a professional who is certified by a Nationally Accredited organization.

Sources: NYU Langone Health, Anita Slaughter, CPT

The Danger of Leaky Veins and Vein Disease!

Did you know that untreated vein disease could lead to leaky veins? And, when you have leaky valves or veins, you may develop edema or vascular congestion, a condition that could cause your feet to turn blue due to constriction in the small blood vessels that feed your extremities?

Well, it’s true, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why we want you to stick with preventative health care. Being proactive about your vein health can help you avoid a medical emergency. This is something New York City mom Tammy Fried learned the hard way. While she was 28 weeks pregnant!

A Scary COVID Vein Story

Back in May 2020, Tammy told the Today show that she woke up feeling something wasn’t right. Soon, she had a nose bleed, and started coughing blood! She called for a virtual emergency room visit, and luckily, got sent to the real hospital immediately!

Once there, doctors discovered that one of her abnormal blood vessels burst. Now, that leaky vein was spilling blood into her lungs. Fortunately, there was an interventional radiologist on call at the hospital. So, he could plug the hole with minimally invasive treatments. And she could avoid surgery, helping her recover. And, two weeks later, deliver her baby boy, now nicknamed Miracle Max!

Of course, we want our patients to avoid emergency situations like Tammy’s. So, if your legs are tired, heavy or cramping, your may need a diagnostic ultrasound from your vein specialist. If that is the case, you may be wondering: how will an ultrasound uncover what’s going on inside my legs? Isn’t that kind of technology more common in Obstetrics offices?

Well, you’re partially correct: interventional radiologists use a different kind of ultrasound to diagnose conditions like Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD.) The technology we use is known as a Doppler ultrasound. And in this post, we’ll teach you how it helps us detect many different kinds of vein disease.

What conditions can a Doppler ultrasound detect?

Doppler ultrasounds check your blood flow. They help us discover whether you have problems like narrowing or leaky veins or blockages in your blood vessels.

This type of ultrasound uses sound waves to check how well blood flows through your legs. Those waves bounce off your moving blood cells, giving your doctors a better picture of the speed and health of your blood flow. Doppler ultrasounds involve hand-held devices; screenings are pain free and non-invasive.

Using a Doppler ultrasound, vein specialists can detect disruptions in your blood flow, hardening of your arteries and even potentially life threatening conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that develops in the deep veins of your legs that rest well below the skin’s surface.

When should I get a Doppler ultrasound?

We may recommend an ultrasound if there are signs that your blood flow has been reduced. These symptoms can include changes in the appearance of the skin on your legs, leg pain that appears with movement, hair loss on your legs or even wounds that won’t heal.

If you’ve had a blood clot, or we suspect you have one, a Doppler ultrasound can quickly confirm this diagnosis.

We may also recommend a Doppler ultrasound if you’ve recently had a stroke or heart attack. That way, we can determine whether compromised blood flow or clots may be putting you at risk for a repeat problem.

What’s involved in a diagnostic ultrasound for leaky veins?

You’ll typically lie down for your ultrasound. Your ultrasound technician may measure pressure in certain areas of your body by apply blood pressure cuffs at points like your ankles, calves or thighs.

Next, your technician will apply lubricant to the  ultarasound guide (called a transducer). Then he or she will move the device over your skin until we receive a good image of your blood flow.  A Doppler ultrasound typically takes up to 45 minutes. Once it’s done, you are usually free to get up and go back to your daily activities.

When you have an ultrasound in our Houston area vein clinics, your results will be reviewed and delivered to you by one of our highly trained team members. If a problem is detected, we will then take the time to discuss and explain your diagnosis, and walk you through all your possible treatment options.

Sounds like an easy way to prevent medical emergencies, right? That’s because it is! So don’t wait another day, worrying that your damaged veins may leak. Instead, schedule an appointment with our team today. We’ll give you a better picture of your health, and protect you from problems that could already be developing!

 

This is Why you Treat Varicose Veins Quickly

Why should you quickly treat varicose veins? Well, we all know that varicose veins are an unsightly problem. And,  if left untreated, they may cause pain or discomfort. But Reasons for a Vein Evaluationdid you know that leaving your varicose veins untreated can cause you to develop varicose veins in other areas of your body? Unfortunately, it’s true!

According to a study published in The Journal of Venous Diseases, untreated varicose veins in the pelvis can cause women and men to develop the problem in their legs. Previously, the connection between pelvic and leg varicose veins was only established for women. With this new research, however, it becomes clear that men are also at risk.

Treat Problem Veins at their Root

Because 20% of women with varicose veins in their legs also have pelvic varicose veins, vein doctors now strongly recommend treating the pelvic veins before doing anything about women’s legs. Now, men who have testicular varicose veins will be told the same thing: treat your pelvic veins before addressing any problems in your legs. If the legs are treated first, it is highly likely that the varicose veins will reappear.

What does this mean for male patients with varicose veins? Let’s look at how this finding should affect treatment protocols.

A New Approach to Varicose Veins

Leg veins are pretty easy to examine and treat. After all, they’re usually right near the surface of your body. That makes it easy to spot any problems, usually with a simple ultrasound. Pelvic veins, especially in men, are much harder to spot, because they are buried deep within your body.

While full vein scans are not necessary for every patient experiencing varicose veins, looking beyond the legs may be crucial for treating some individuals–especially men and women with recurring problems. In other words, if the varicose veins in your legs keep coming back after treatment, you may have to look beyond the valves and veins in your trunk. According to the new evidence, a pelvic vein scan may be the only way to stop your varicose veins from coming back!

Tattoos and Varicose Veins: A Dangerous Combination

Now here’s a scary idea we want to shoot down. Some people decide to get tattooed on top of their bulging veins. Because, in their minds, covering up is easier than treating varicose veins. But here’s the problem with that plan.

First of all, any time you get a tattoo, you run the risk of infection. And that risk increases when you tattoo over a vein. Because the tattoo needle may puncture your vein–especially if it already bulges. In turn, you’d experience bleeding and leave yourself more vulnerable to invading germs and infections.

Even worse? If that happens, your varicose veins may look worse after the bleeding resolves. So, instead of camouflaging your bulging, twisted veins, this plan could just call more attention to the area.

Want a better plan to improve your vein’s appearance? In our Houston vein clinic, we are prepared to offer comprehensive vein scans. With a careful examination, Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee will get to the root cause of your varicose veins. They will treat you appropriately to prevent your problem from becoming a repeat offender. If you can’t seem to get rid of your varicose veins, and you want to solve the problem for good, contact our office for an immediate consultation.

Sources:  Journal of Venous Diseases

What is CVD?

CVD (Chronic venous disease, also known as chronic venous insufficiency) refers to several vein problems. And all of those problems are chronic. But what does that mean for you? If you have CVD, you may develop varicose veins, spider veins, and/or ulcers on your lower legs.

Now, that’s what can happen with venous disease. But, why does CVD occur? Well, the condition develops when the veins in your legs can’t return blood to your central circulatory system or heart. Ignore the problem, and CVD will get worse. Which could mean pain, damage to your legs, and other medical issues such as blood clots. That’s why it’s important to know the risk factors and warning signs of CVD. So you can receive a diagnosis and treatment plan before you face serious complications.   

What is My Risk Factor for Chronic Venous Disease (CVD)?

Unfortunately, just getting older puts you at higher risk for CVD. As your body ages, the valves in your vein face more stress. And that can prevent your blood from flowing out of your feet and legs, back to your heart.

Gender is another risk factor. Because women get CVD more frequently than men. Why is that the case? Things like hormone replacement therapy, and hormonal birth control can increase your risk. And so can pregnancy, because it adds to hormonal changes and physical stress. Finally, genetics are a risk factor. People with a family history of varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other vascular diseases are more likely to develop CVD.

New Data on Diabetes and CVD

In a recent study, researchers discovered a link between diabetes, muscle mass, grip strength and CVD risk. The data suggest that, at least for diabetic patients, having low muscle mass and a weak grip was associated with a stronger risk for CVD, PAD and even coronary heart disease.

In other words, working on your physical strength can help protect you from vascular problems. And that makes sense, since we know that how you live also makes a difference for your vein health. If you’re obese, sedentary or spend lots of time of standing or sitting, you put pressure on your veins. Then, if you add in insufficient physical activity, you’ll really up your risk for CVD. If any of that sounds familiar, now’s a good time to get exercising. Because staying active will help improve your circulation and keep your body better supplied with oxygen.

What are the Symptoms of CVD?

If you experience any of the following symptoms or have chronic or debilitating leg pain, it is best to seek evaluation and discuss treatment options with a medical professional as soon as possible. Left untreated, these symptoms could worsen, causing more pain or even more serious medical conditions.

  • Leg aches and pains
  • Leg cramping and night gramps
  • Tired or heavy legs
  • Restless legs
  • Rashes, skin darkening, or patches of dry itchy skin on the leg
  • Burning or itching veins in lower extremities
  • Ulcers on the leg that are slow to heal
  • Restless legs
  • Blue, bulging twisted veins (varicose veins or spider veins)
  • Recurrent cellulitis
  • Swollen or tight-feeling ankles
  • Lymphedema (a build-up of fluid underneath the skin)
  • Spontaneous bleeding

Texas Endovascular provides several treatment options for patients with chronic venous disease. Contact us to schedule a consultation if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

Treatment Options for Chronic Venous Disease  

Early detection and treatment can decrease the pain of CVD and reduce the risk of developing additional, more serious medical complications.

Detection and diagnosis of chronic venous disease, as well as arterial disease and blood clots, is done with a diagnostic ultrasound evaluation. This technology enables a sonographer to see inside the body and locate both superficial and deep varicose veins.

We offer wide variety of treatment options for chronic venous disease, including:

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

RFA involves inserting a catheter into the abnormal vein and using heat energy to close it. The procedure takes less than an hour, requires only a local anesthetic and leaves no scar.

Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy

We often use ultrasound guided sclerotherapy to close any residual, non-bulging varicose veins after radiofrequency ablation. The procedure uses ultrasound to access a vein. Using a small needle, a medication combined with carbon dioxide gas is injected into the abnormal vein to close it. The procedure is quick, and patients are able to resume their daily activities immediately afterward. Anti-inflammatory medications and compression stockings may be used to help manage any discomfort following RFA and ultrasound sclerotherapy.

Our additional treatment options for eliminating bulging and spider veins caused by CVD include:

  • Cosmetic sclerotherapy
  • Radiofrequency perforator ablation
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy

Varicose Vein Help in Texas

Dr. William C. Fox and Dr. Eric Hardee of Texas Endovascular specialize in treating patients with chronic venous disease using state-of-the-art technology and minimally invasive procedures. The results provide quick relief from the symptoms of CVD, and patients are typically able to resume their normal, day-to-day activities immediately following treatment.

If you are experiencing symptoms of CVD, don’t wait to seek treatment. Contact our expert physicians today to schedule a consultation.

Diabetes and PAD: How We Prevent Lost Limbs

Diabetes and PAD make a dangerous combination. After all, Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) limits your blood flow. Then, high blood sugar levels can also compromise your blood flow. (And cause nerve damage, which makes you lose feeling in your extremities.) In combination, these factors mean that even small wounds can turn into big infections. At that point, your diabetic ulcer could put you at risk for amputation.

At this point, that possibility is a big problem. According to a new study from Kaiser Health News, this country is facing an epidemic of diabetic foot amputations. In California alone, between 2011 and 2017, 82,000 individuals lost limbs due to diabetic complications.

Limb Loss and Diabetes

As we mentioned, diabetics lose their limbs for a number of reasons.  The disease can raise sugar levels in the bloodstream, which in turn can affect circulation and cause organ damage. Also, according to a new study in the journal Diabetes, the disease damages your red blood cells. Specifically, the disease reduces small molecule microRNA-210 in those cells. And, since those molecules help regulate your vascular function, this may contribute to your risk of diabetic limb loss.

Diabetics also often experience reduced sensation in the extremities (neuropathy), which can threaten limbs in two ways. People with circulatory and nerve damage may not know when they injured their limbs. And, because they have compromised blood circulation, even minor injuries can be slow to heal. Over time, and without routine medical care, these untreated, unhealed injuries become deep wounds (ulcers). Once ulcers develop, diabetics are at immediate risk of losing part of or all of the affected limb. 

Many Amputations are Avoidable

While all the statistics in the study were scary, there’s one fact we, as Houston vein specialists, found particularly scary: many of these amputations would have been avoidable with routine medical care. And, it showed that people who were black or Hispanic were twice as likely to face an amputation, due in large part to inadequate access to care.

So that’s the bad news that we took away from this study, but here’s something that can make you feel more at ease: with proper preventative care, you can keep your diabetes in good control. This can help you prevent devastating complications like amputations.

Cholesterol, Diabetes and PAD

What kind of preventative vein care do we recommend for diabetics? Diabetes can damage your blood vessels (veins, arteries and/or capillaries), causing your body to deposit cholesterol within the vessels in the hopes of preventing further damage.

Now, cholesterol is a waxy substance that occurs naturally in your cells. Your liver also makes cholesterol, or you take in cholesterol from your food. While you may not know this, your body actually needs some cholesterol to function. After all, cholesterol is involved in making vitamin D, your sex hormones, and steroid hormones such as cortisol. Plus, some cholesterol gets converted to bile acids in your body. And you need those acids to absorb vitamins a, d, e and k. In other words, you need a little bit of cholesterol to stay healthy.

But the problems start when your cholesterol levels rise. Because, unfortunately, cholesterol can build up. Then, deposits can clog your arteries, causing a condition known as atherosclerosis. (That’s when your arteries narrow, or harden. It’s what causes PAD, leaving you at risk of heart-related complications.) And that’s where specialists like Drs. Fox, Hardee and Valenson can help: using interventional radiology techniques, we can remove blockages and help restore your blood flow.

Improved blood flow will reduce your risk of ulcers, help heal existing wounds, and go a long way towards preventing limb loss. Plus, it can help relieve other symptoms of PAD, including pain when you walk, hair loss and skin changes. Even better? Choosing minimally invasive PAD treatment can do more to prevent limb loss.

Amputations, PCBs and Peripheral Arteries

A new review from the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery suggests that widening your arteries using paclitaxel-coated balloons (PCBs) ups your risk for major amputation. Fortunately, in our office, we can also treat PAD with stents or atherectomy, so you have your choice of limb-saving options. Which, along with diabetes care, may help you preserve your long-term health.

What does all this mean for you? Well, if you have diabetes, make sure you keep up appointments with your regular medical team. (And make sure to address any circulatory problems right away.)  If you’ve got reduced blood flow or atherosclerosis, make an appointment with our team of experts right away. Doing so might just be the decision you make that saves your limbs!

 

Sources: Greatist , Kaiser Health news, diabetes.co.uk

What’s the Right Way to Put On Compression Stockings?

Last week, we shared a blog post about the great reasons to start wearing compression socks. To recap: they could help protect you from deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. Plus, they can slow the progression of vein disease. And today, more than ever, they come in lots of cute styles! So now that you have the “why” when it comes to compression stockings, we’d like to address the “how.” After all, it can sometimes be tricky to work these tightly-fitted compression socks onto your legs. But first, let’s examine 5 early warning signs of deep vein thrombosis.

DVT Warning Signals to Watch For

Wearing compression socks can help prevent DVT. Here are the signs to look for, that can tell you you’re in danger for deep vein thrombosis.

  1. Cramps or throbbing pain in one leg, probably in the thigh or calf.
  2. One leg displays swelling.
  3. The skin around the sore spot on your leg may be warm to the touch.
  4. That skin may also turn red or darken.
  5. Swollen veins that are noticeably hard to the touch.

Got any of these symptoms? We may recommend compression therapy. And, if that’s the case, you’ll need to know the right way to put on compression socks. So we hope this guide can help ease this somewhat complex process.

How to Put on Compression Socks: A Step by Step Guide

First of all, it’s important to remember that compression stockings aren’t like typical pantyhose. So forget the usual

Creating a pocket for your toes is the first step to properly applying compression stockings.

ways you pull on stockings. Before putting on compression stockings, you should take off any jewelry and dry your legs completely. Now you’re ready to begin application.

Step 1: Whatever you do, don’t bunch up the feet of your stockings. This would only concentrate all that pressure in one small area, making it harder to pull your stockings into place. Instead, reach your hand down and through your stocking, and grab hold of the heel. Keep hold of the heel and turn your stocking inside out. This will create a little pocket for your foot!

Step 2: Put your toes in the foot pocket you just created. Pull the stocking up to your heel, then grasp the top layer of fabric, right near the middle of your foot.

Step 3: Keeping hold of the fabric, lift the stocking over your heel and pull upwards until your heel is completely covered.

Step 4: Now, use both hands to grasp the remaining loose fabric. Pull it gently up over your calf. Going slowly, continue sliding the stocking upwards, until it rests over your knee.  Smooth any wrinkles, making sure the stockings are laying properly in place.

Step 5: Repeat on other side, then get dressed and go. You’re ready to start your day with a valuable tool to support your vein health!

Did you know that medical compression socks actually require a prescription to make sure you get the right amount of pressure? Our Houston area vein specialists are here to help you find the right pair to protect your circulation and prevent dangerous clots. So schedule an appointment at one of our Houston area clinics today!

Sources: Sockwell USA, The Mayo Clinic

Check out the Gel and Bandage that Could Cure Leg Ulcers

If you have untreated vascular disease, you could develop leg ulcers. These open sores often develop just above your ankle, on the inside of your leg. But, what causes them to develop? When your veins aren’t functioning well—as is the case if you’ve got varicose veins —the pressure inside those veins can build up rapidly. And, if that pressure isn’t relieved, it can damage your skin, leaving you with open sores. Plus, once those sores develop, they are slower to heal.  Why? The answer lies in your circulation problems.

Without getting enough oxygen-rich blood, the skin on your legs can’t regenerate as well as it should. And this can make it harder for wounds to heal. Which is why, as Houston vein specialists, we’re very excited about a newly developed wound treatment. And a new bandage that can detect wound healing. Want to hear the coolest part? The former is developed from blood! And the latter does its work wirelessly!

Using Blood to Speed Up Wound Healing Fish Oil

According to a study in Advances in Skin and Wound Care, researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a gel, made from blood, that’s speeding up healing times for ulcers. Typically, these ulcers take at least three months to heal but, studies show that for at least 14% of patients, wounds are still a problem one whole year later. And, for others, the wounds just don’t heal, making it necessary to amputate.

For all these reasons, a new, faster wound treatment is a very big deal. So, how does the new gel work? Doctors take a little more than a teaspoon of your own blood and spin it around in a piece of equipment called a centrifuge.

While your blood spins, your plasma gets separated from the other parts of your blood. Plasma is rich in platelets, and platelet are full of ‘growth factors’ that boost your body’s healing. Once your plasma has been isolated, it gets mixed with a few other compounds, and, in about 30 seconds, it takes on a gel form. Your doctor puts that gel on your wound right away, and then covers the area with a bandage to help your wound heal faster.

But, you may be wondering, just how effective is the gel? Forty-eight percent of patients treated with gel had full wound healing, compared to 30% of patients treated with other methods. And, even more exciting news: the healing time was cut in half! Wounds had shrunk by 50% in 21 days for patients using the gel. Patients not using the gel had to wait 42 days to get that same result.

While the gel is still being studied, the results are certainly exciting. We can’t wait to learn more about this therapy, which harnesses your own body’s potential to self-heal!

Detecting Wound Healing with a Wireless Bandage

Scientists at the National University of Singapore just developed a wearable sensor that wirelessly assesses your wound through an app. It can test the temperature, pH, bacteria type and inflammation levels in your ulcer. And it can do so in just 15 minutes, meaning you get fast accurate results. Without disturbing the wound dressing!  Or, in many cases, without forcing you to make the long trip into your doctor’s office.

Changing the Game

Wireless wound assessment reflects a major treatment turning point. Right now, we have to visually inspect ulcers, often collecting fluid from your wounds to help decide the most effective treatment options. The process takes a few days. And it means we need to dress and undress your open sore, which can slow the healing process since it disturbs the sensitive tissue.

But with VeCare, this new bandage, we’d dress your ulcer with one layer that touches your wound. Then, a breathable barrier covers that layer, with an electronic chip, a fluid collector and a flexible immunosensor forming the top layer. The combination allows us to quickly track your wound’s healing and drive treatment choices. All without leaving you open to infection.

Currently, this bandage isn’t available for mass distribution. But the research team is working on rolling their bandage out to the public. And our team of Houston vein specialists will keep you posted when it becomes available.

Leg Ulcers care in Houston, TX

For now, know that our team of vein specialists offers the latest in personalized wound care. Even better, we offer preventative vein treatments, so you never develop leg ulcers in the first place. Ready to take control of your vein health? Schedule a consultation at one of our vein centers today, with locations in Houston, Katy, Clear Lake, Sugar Land and the Woodlands!

 

 

 

 

Heart Month Update: Is PAD in Men and Women Different?

This February, we want to tell you about PAD in men and women. Because its the month we mark American Heart month by raising awareness for heart disease. And PAD is just that.

Remember: peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) occurs when plaque in your arteries slows the flow of blood from your heart to the rest of your body. That ‘plaque’ is mostly composed of cholesterol, calcium, fibrin, and fatty substances. As it collects in your arteries, they narrow and harden (Atherosclerosis). And, as the rest of your body gets limited blood flow, they aren’t able to function optimally.  Some people with PAD will experience symptoms right away. Others won’t know they have a problem in the early stages of this disease. And, even when PAD does cause symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose, since these symptoms often mimic those of other conditions. Of course, there’s one more issue that can make it difficult to treat diagnose PAD: the disease may look different in men than in women. Let’s take a closer look.

What are the Symptoms of PAD?

As we mentioned, you could have PAD and not experience any symptoms. Still, all of the following are considered PAD symptoms. If you experience one or more of these issues, you should talk to your vein specialists right away. Symptoms of PAD include coldness or numbness of the legs and feet, discoloration in the legs, cramping of the hips, thighs, or calf muscles and difficulty in healing from minor wounds of the legs or feet.

You may also notice burning or aching sensations of the feet, poor toenail growth, pain while or soon after walking, slowed hair growth on the legs. In men, you may even see erectile dysfunction,

Now that we’ve reviewed PAD presentations for both genders, let’s explore some of the different ways the disease manifests by gender.

What Does PAD Look Like for Men vs. Women?

Men seem to develop PAD symptoms earlier than women, although that is not always the case. As a result, male PAD patients may see their doctors sooner, allowing for earlier interventions and improved treatment outcomes.

Because women with PAD tend to get later PAD diagnoses, they also appear to develop more simultaneous chronic conditions (comorbidities). Also, according to new research, body fat and menopause can increase women’s PAD risk. Specifically, upper body fat seems to increase your post-menopause PAD risk. But lower body fat appears to have the opposite effect.

And regardless of body fat distribution, in patients with PAD and diabetes, male patients are more likely to face limb loss due to amputation.

Why is PAD so Dangerous?

Since your arteries are narrowed by PAD, and your blood isn’t flowing as it should, a blood clot can form on the surface of your plaque build-up, creating a potentially life-threatening situation if that clot travels to your lungs. It’s also possible for a piece of plaque to break off and completely cut off your blood flow, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

But wait, there’s still more: because PAD affects blood flow to your limbs, if PAD goes untreated long enough, you may develop gangrene in one or more of your limbs (gangrene is the term for the death of body tissue due to lack of blood flow or serious infection.)[i] And if you develop gangrene, you will face partial or full limb amputation. Clearly, treating PAD is crucial to your long-term health.

How Can I Treat PAD?

We can easily diagnose PAD in our office, using a bedside test called an Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI). During this procedure, we use ultrasound and blood pressure cuffs to evaluate the circulation in your arms and legs. If your results aren’t what we want to see, we may order further imaging tests such as Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) or Computed Tomography (CT) to determine the extent of your problem and to help us plan your treatment.

At Texas Endovascular Associates, we are passionate about treating patients who suffer from PAD. We use the most up to date, state of the art equipment available to treat your disease. Now, in the early stages, you can try to boost circulation to your feet. Moving more is a great way to boost blood flow to your feet. That’s why we share weekly exercise tips to help your circulation and vein health.

You can also change your diet to improve vein health and circulation. Be sure to avoid circulation busting culprits like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. (Or any other items your specialist says to steer clear of.) You could also score some pairs of compression socks, possibly even prescription ones. These now-stylish wardrobe staples really improve blood flow to your feet.

Specialized Care for PAD in Men and Women

Sometimes, though, these at-home efforts won’t be enough. And that’s when our vein specialists will discuss other treatment options. But don’t be scared.

Using minimally invasive procedures that do not require an overnight hospital stay, our team provides treatments such as Angioplasty, Stenting, and Atherectomy. In that way, we’re often able to spare you from more invasive, open surgeries. In fact, many of our PAD patients get discharged the same day as their procedure, facing minimal recovery time once they get home!

If you’re experiencing PAD symptoms, don’t wait for a consultation. We can even begin your treatment process via Telemedicine, although you will have to come to the office for a final diagnosis. And, if you’ve already been diagnosed with PAD, it is important that you not delay treatment. Doing so can allow your disease to progress, raising your risk of fatal complications.

 

Sources: Mayoclinic.org, MDmag.com

[i] Mayoclinic.org. “Gangrene.”

The Scary Truth about PAD and Limb Loss

PAD is one of the top causes of limb loss in this country. And that’s a big deal, since over 2 million people in the United States are living with limb loss. If those statistics sound scary, consider this: by the year 2050, an estimated 3.6 million people will have a lost limb.

Now, vascular conditions are responsible for the most amputations in this country. But they aren’t the only problem. Other causes of limb loss include trauma, cancers and birth defects.

PAD Limb Loss Statistics

A year-long study by the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America uncovered frightening stats.

  • Diabetics have a 10 times higher risk of amputation than anyone else.
  • Among diabetics, those of African American, Hispanic, and Native Americans backgrounds have an even higher risk of lower limb loss.
  • 82% of amputations in the U.S. are the result of vascular disease. We expect this percentage to rise as more Americans develop diabetes and PAD.

Diabetes, PAD and Limb Loss PAD causes leg pain and limb loss

What’s the connection between these big three problems? Let’s take a closer look. Diabetes is a condition in which your body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired.

When diabetes is poorly controlled, glucose can build up in the blood stream and contribute to the development of plaque, a substance that can narrow your arteries and reduce blood flow, usually to your legs and feet.

PAD and Cholesterol

Built-up glucose isn’t all that contributes to plaque. High cholesterol levels are also part of the problem. Your liver produces cholesterol to help regulate your metabolism. But when it produces too much of this waxy substance, cholesterol can combine with glucose and other substances to create plaque buildup. And that’s when your blood flow can be affected.

One of the earliest signs of a problem is when your toenail growth slows down. Brittle toenails can also be a problem, along with loss of leg hair, shrunken muscles, or even erectile dysfunction in men. But all of these are merely symptoms of the main problem–reduced blood flow to your extremities.

In fact, that’s the definition of PAD—a condition that sets in when blood vessels develop atherosclerosis (built up plaque) inside the vessel walls. The plaque narrows the vessels narrower, slowing blood flow. If a blockage hardens it is more likely to burst and cause a blood clot to develop. A clot may completely block your artery, which cuts off blood flow to your legs and feet. If that occurs, a few things could happen.

Because of the reduction in blood flow that comes with PAD, the vascular condition is a risk factor for foot ulcers (deep wounds that just won’t heal), and foot ulcers frequently lead to foot and lower limb amputations, especially in diabetic patients. In severe instances, where all blood flow to the legs and feet is blocked, gangrene can take hold in your limbs and lead to an amputation before you even see an ulcer or any other warning sign.

Are you starting to get the picture? Each condition feeds into the next, putting individuals at major risk of losing vital limbs.

Who’s At Risk for PAD?

  • Anyone over the age of 50
  • Diabetics
  • Obese or sedentary individuals
  • Smokers
  • People with high cholesterol or high blood pressure

PAD Treatment Options

We have to diagnose your PAD before offering treatment. Because, without a comprehensive vascular exam, available in our Houston vein clinic, it’s difficult to spot PAD—because symptoms can imitate other problems, PAD is often misdiagnosed or not caught at all!

Currently, doctors are exploring new PAD treatments. One of these experimental ideas involves standing on a pulsating plate for half an hour.  Called Revitive, the UK’s NHS (National Health Service) hope this therapy will improve your blood flow, helping relieve PAD pain.

Other PAD treatments may involve surgery to transplant healthy veins from somewhere else in your body.

But in our office, we try to help you find relief in the safest way possible. Once you know that you have PAD, we can determine a treatment plan: interventions may be as simple as recommending lifestyle changes like a better diet and exercises. Depending on the progression of the disease, our vein doctor may recommend unblocking your arteries through one of our minimally invasive interventional radiology treatments.

Our goal as vein doctors is to protect your vein health and your limbs. Know the risks of PAD and, if you believe you may have this condition, come in for a consultation. One simple exam could keep you from becoming part of this country’s growing group of limb loss victims.

Sources: https://www.sciencedirect.com, NHS Health Research Authority

Are Standing Desks Good or Bad for Your Veins?

Have you thought about getting a standing desk for your home office? Did all your co-workers have them before? These days, so many nine-to-fivers are opting to switch out traditional work stations for Standing Deskstanding desks. (BTW, these are desks that can be raised or lowered. They give you the option of standing or sitting throughout the day.)

These standing desks became popular for a reason. So many people in this country struggle with their weight. And that’s partly because of their lack of activity.

That’s why many people thought standing desks were great. They could solve the problem of all-day sitting. But, unfortunately, standing desks bring individuals a whole new set of problems. Because, as it turns out, standing desks are linked  to increases in foot and back pain. They can also increase your risk of developing varicose veins. To better understand the risks of a standing desk, let’s explore the pros and cons of each desk option.

Why Sitting All Day is Dangerous

Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking? That’s right, some health experts have said that it’s worse for your health to sit all day than to smoke a pack of cigarettes. Extended periods of sitting have been linked to an increased risk of both heart and kidney disease. Not surprisingly, sitting has also been shown to increase the odds of gaining weight. And, as we already know, being overweight contributes to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Some researchers even suggest that increasing your exercise level won’t completely combat the effects of entire days spent sitting. That’s why people started falling for standing desks.

Dangers of Standing All Day

Here’s some unwanted news. Even if you get your boss to approve a standing desk, or spring for one on your own, your health woes may not be over.  Standing desks have been known to cause back and foot pain. And that’s not all. Extended periods of standing can leave you feeling tired and less able to concentrate.

Plus, getting to the point of this blog, standing desks increase your risk of DVTs (deep vein thrombosis) and those lovely, bulging varicose veins we all love to hate. Why is that the case? Standing all day overworks your back, leg and feet muscles as you struggle to maintain one position. And, to find out why all day standing can cause spider veins, just keep reading!

Standing Leads to Spider Veins

The veins in your lower legs have to fight gravity to get your blood to flow up your body to your heart. As you age, or when you put too much pressure on those veins, they can weaken or sustain damage. That already makes it harder for blood to get moving.

As a result, blood pools in your veins and the vessels swell. This is when you usually notice spider veins.  Your varicose vein risk increases when it becomes harder for your blood to flow to your heart. Weight gain, tight clothes and—you guessed it—long periods on your feet—make it harder for blood to flow. That’s why standing desks, and jobs like construction work or nursing that keep you on your feet, make you more likely to develop spider veins.

Should you Choose a Standing Desk?

Since neither option is perfect, a standing desk is still a great choice. Because it moves up and down, you can alternate between periods of sitting and time spent standing. But how often should you switch positions?

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on this front. Experts recommend changing positions anywhere between every 20, 30 or 60 minutes. And some get more specific about standing desks. They say you should not stand up to work for more than 10 minutes out of every hour. You can also invest in an anti-fatigue mat to use when you’re standing up at your desk. This can help take some pressure off your lower legs and feet.

If you follow these guidelines, you can minimize your risk of standing or sitting too much. It’s also a great idea to step away from your desk for quick walking breaks throughout the day. Even small bursts of movement can help keep your blood flowing as it should.

When you’re not at work, make sure to exercise regularly. Workouts like walking or yoga can boost your blood flow, encouraging circulation out of your legs. At home and on the job, choose your clothes carefully. Avoid outfits that are tight at the waist or legs, like Spanx.

If you’re carrying extra weight, losing a few pounds can help boost your circulation. If you’re a smoker, now’s the time to quit. Finally, if your standing desk is triggering your spider veins, consider wearing compressions socks. And at the end of the day, be sure to elevate your feet for at least 15 minutes, to help get blood flowing out of your legs.

Making the switch to a standing desk can be life changing—as long as you know the risks and take the appropriate precautions. Still with proper care, you can almost certainly enjoy this innovative office feature without the fear of destroying your vein health. And if you have concerns about sitting, standing and your vein health, come in for a diagnostic vein scan. We’ll let you know if that standing desk is a good idea or not!

Sources: The Mountaineer

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