Author: Texas Endovascular

3 Blood Clot Warning Signs & Symptoms

Recently on the blog, we spent some time explaining the science of blood clots: what they are, why they form and what they can do to your health. Today, we’re going to provide some more helpful information: this is how you can tell if you’re developing a blood clot!

How Can I tell if I have a Blood Clot?

The scary answer to this question is: you can’t always tell when you’re developing a blood clot. Sometimes, blood clots form without any obvious symptoms. But sometimes blood clots form and cause a range of other impacts on your body. Many of those symptoms will depend on the location of your blood clot.

As it turns out, women have a higher clotting risk. And one early warning sign may be tingling in your hands. That tingling could even cause temporary numbness. So if either symptom develops, you should see your vein specialist immediately.

If you have DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a clot in the deep veins of your legs) you may develop symptoms including redness at the site of your clot, warm skin, swelling, cramps and pain, without any obvious injury.

When a DVT breaks loose from your legs and travels to your lungs (Pulmonary embolism) you may experience shortness of breath (for no apparent reason), an unexplained cough, chest pain, an increased heart rate and fatigue.

If you’re at increased risk (you’ve just taken a long plane trip, you’re pregnant, or have compromised cardiovascular health) see your doctor for any of these symptoms. A blood clot can quickly become a medical emergency.

Do I Need Treatment?

In theory, your blood clot will self-resolve. That means, your body will naturally break it down and absorb the clot—eventually. But that process could take weeks or even months. And, depending on the location of your clot, waiting that long could pose a major threat to your health.

Why? Here’s the deal: if you have a clot in your artery, your cells won’t get the oxygen-rich blood they need to work. So they’ll stop functioning. If the clot cuts off oxygen to your brain cells, you’ll develop stroke symptoms. If the clot’s in your coronary artery (impacting your heart), you’ll start developing heart attack symptoms.

So, clearly, arterial clots are medical emergencies. But clots in your veins, like DVTS, are also serious. And that’s because they cause their own set of symptoms, but also because of their potential to break free and travel to your lungs.

In other words, while you could wait for your body to heal that clot, doing so could be a fatal mistake. Instead, let’s explore the best way to medically treat your blood clot.

 

How Will You Treat My Clot?

Even if it means a trip to the emergency room, see a doctor at the first sign of a clot. If you do have a clot, you’ll need one of two treatments: medication or interventions involving medical devices.

Oral or intravenous (IV) blood thinners can help manage a blood clot. Alternatively, your doctor may insert a wire or catheter to try and open up your blood vessels. Finally, in certain situations, your healthcare provider may surgically remove the blood clot (thromectomy.)

The good news is: blood clot treatments are fairly effective, especially if they are administered quickly.  But in order to benefit from these treatments, you must be seen before the clot grows or causes additional damage like a heart attack or stroke. For that reason, we can’t emphasize this enough: seek medical attention at the first sign of a suspected blood clot!

Sources: Us News & World Report, KRPC 2 News Houston

Good and Bad Cholesterol, PAD and Your Veins

In recent years, we’ve told healthy eaters  to focus on ‘good cholesterol.’ That good cholesterol is also called HDL. And it’s touted it’s heart health benefits. Popular diet plans, like the Keto diet, focus on high fat intake. These suggest that eating good fats will be good for you!

What’s behind this idea? The thinking is that LDL (bad cholesterol), not HDL,  causes plaque to build up in your arteries. This build up then leads to conditions like peripheral arterial disease (PAD). And when people have PAD,  blood flow from their heart to the rest of their body slows down. In turn, this can lead to pain, cramping, ulcers and blood clots.

According to old beliefs, HDL moved LDL away from arteries and into the liver. That seemed to prevent the kind of plaque build up that leads to PAD. Because of that kind of thinking, people were encouraged to eat foods that were rich in HDL, like olive oil, salmon and avocado. But now, research is turning that kind of thinking around, warning us that too much HDL can be just as ‘bad’ for your body as the other kind of cholesterol.

The Problem with Good Cholesterol

In this Emory University study, researchers followed 6000 people with an average age of 63 to assess their risk of heart attack or death. As we might have expected from previous studies, participants with middling HDL levels (between 41–60 milligrams per decilitre) had the lowest risk of adverse cardiovascular events. People with HDL levels below that range did, in fact, show increased risk of heart attack.

But here’s the shocking part: people with HDL levels ABOVE that range had the highest risk levels. In fact, their risk of cardiovascular events were increased by 50%! Scientists think that this increased risk is because, in high volumes, HDL may change its behavior. Instead of pulling LDL away from the arteries, it may actually transfer the LDL onto the artery walls, increasing people’s risk of vascular diseases like PAD.

While the evidence is clear in suggesting that high HDL levels increase your risk of heart attack, it is not yet proven that too much good cholesterol is the actual cause of this increased risk. At the same time, it is fact that the ‘right’ amount of HDL can protect your heart health. Given these facts, our Houston vein specialists do not yet recommend changing your diet. Instead we suggest eating heart-healthy fats in moderation. That, combined with a sensible diet and exercise, should keep you in the proven ‘safe’ zone for cholesterol.

Early Warnings about High Good and Bad Cholesterol

Here’s what else we’ve learned about cholesterol and PAD. Once, we didn’t worry about high cholesterol levels in young people. We thought they had plenty of time to turn the ship around, and take back control of their heart health. But now, a study from the Journal of American Cardiology has a dire warning. According to these findings, having high cholesterol in your teens and 20s is a major risk factor for PAD and other forms of heart disease.

What’s behind these findings? It goes back to bad cholesterol, or LDL levels. Apparently,. the damage LDL causes to your arteries is irreversible. In other words, even if you bring down your bad cholesterol levels in your 30s, you may not be able to prevent hardening of the arteries. Given these findings, treating high cholesterol is critical at any age. Like vein treatments, delaying cholesterol interventions can lead to worse health conditions. Which means you must seek therapy at the first sign of a good and bad cholesterol problem.

Ready to take control of your cholesterol, vein and arterial health? We’re here to help, and we suggest starting with a diagnostic ultrasound. With this tool, we can detect if cholesterol has caused any problems, and get you started on appropriate health care.

Sources: European Society of Cardiology, Science Daily, Journal of the American College of Cardiology

5 Reasons Why Fall is Varicose Vein Treatment Season

Have you been thinking about varicose vein treatment? That is perfect, because now’s a great time! While it may not have cooled down much outside, fall is here. And, with its arrival comes a new item to put on your to-do list: treat those varicose veins! Here are the top five reasons why fall is the right time to treat those bulging, twisted signs of venous insufficiency.

Why is Fall a Great Time for Varicose Vein Treatment?

1. You have more time Varicose Veins Exercise

Between the constant activity and summer break and the holidays, fall is the perfect time to follow post-treatment restriction on exercise and strenuous movement. Sending the kids to school each day can also allow you the opportunity to lie down and put your legs up following treatment.

2. Insurance is easier

By the time fall comes around, many people have already met most or all of their insurance deductibles. But, October and November is not so late in the calendar year that you won’t have time to secure a vein treatment pre-authorization, if that’s what your insurance carrier requires. And our Houston vein specialists accept most insurance plans, so you should be in the clear by this time of year.

3. The clothing and compression won’t be as much of a problem.

After spider-vein treatment, you will likely need to wear compression stockings for up to a month to minimize any bruising, pain or swelling and to help improve blood flow in your legs. It’s a lot more comfortable to wear these stockings after the heat of summer has passed, especially if you also want to cover them up with long pants.

4. The sun is less prominent

Did you know that UV rays can contribute to the development of varicose veins? And, even after undergoing treatment, sun exposure can slow down your recovery process or cause the skin in your healing legs to become discolored? That’s why you will need to avoid direct sun exposure for up to a month following vein treatment, and it’s why the fall is a much smarter time to begin the vein-treatment process.

5. You’ll be ready for the holidays.

Once Thanksgiving comes, you’ll be facing a mad rush of shopping and celebrating. That will be the case, even if the holidays look a little different this year. Now, if you seek varicose vein treatment earlier in the fall, here’s the best news we can offer. By the time you hit the holiday season, you should be mostly done with your recovery process. Which means that you can sit, stand and celebrate your way through the festivities. All without worrying about the look or feelings coming from those twisted, painful, varicose veins!

Sources: La Jolla Light

 

New Tips for Treating Leg Ulcers

Leg ulcers are open wounds that are hard to heal. That’s why treating leg ulcers is so tricky. And why new treatment studies and technology are so important. Today, we’ll explore two of those factors. The first is a new study related to the timing of treating leg ulcers. The second is a new technology for treating leg ulcers. Launched by FeelTect, an Irish startup, this ‘Tight Alright’ technology is intended for use in a new medical device. It will sense pressure to help with detecting and treating leg ulcers. But to understand why and how these treatments will work, we must first explore what causes venous leg ulcers.

What are Venous Leg Ulcers and Why Do They Form?

person wearing compression stockings
In conjunction with compression therapy, this new technology could help speed up the healing of ulcers

Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that develop because of venous insufficiency, a condition in which your body can’t circulate blood from your lower limbs. Venous insufficiency sets in when tiny valves in your veins stop working well. Instead of forcing blood back up towards the heart, it pools your legs. Then, your veins get stretched out and fluid builds up in your lower limbs.

You may be at risk for venous leg ulcers if you have a high Body Mass Index (BMI). Living a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk. As can high blood pressure. Finally, if your veins are insufficient, you have deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or a family history of these conditions, you’re more likely to develop an ulcer. 

Treating Venous Leg Ulcers

Compression therapy is a great first treatment for leg ulcers. The pressure placed on the veins in your lower legs can help get pooling blood out of the area, taking the pressure off your bulging veins and making the excess fluid less likely to contribute to existing ulcers, or to allow new ones to develop.

Now, compression therapy isn’t perfect. If doctors apply too much pressure, it can cut off all circulation to your limbs. Not enough pressure, and the treatment will be wholly ineffective. And, since compression devices cover the area being treated, it can be tough for doctors to determine just how much pressure is being delivered to your veins.

The Tight Alright device is intended to work in conjunction with compression therapy. Using wireless technology, the device measures and monitors the amount of pressure being delivered to your leg beneath the compression bandages.

Alternative Treatments for Leg Ulcers

Clearly, compression therapy isn’t perfect. And while new technology can help, changing treatment protocols may make a bigger difference. According to a new study in JAMA Surgery, compression therapy may not be the best first course of action.

In a clinical trial, 450 leg ulcer patients were instead treated with early interventions. And the results were astounding: patients healed faster. And had a lower risk of repeat problems with ulcers. Their outcomes were better than for those patients who first tried treating leg ulcers with compression therapy. And then turned to other interventions.

As vein specialists in the Houston area, we watching tall the developments when it comes to treating leg ulcers. That way we can always deliver the most up-to-date care for all our patients who are living with vein disease. Ready to explore your leg ulcer treatment options? Schedule an appointment with our specialists today!

Sources: Feeltect.com, JAMA Surgery

The Dos and Don’ts of Exercise and Varicose Veins

Let’s talk about exercise and varicose veins. We all know that exercise is good for your general health. But when vein disease gives you varicose veins, some exercises will help you, while others can hurt your condition. Usually, exercising more will make your veins bigger. That’s because they have to send all that pumping blood back to your heart. And, evidence suggests that the more you exercise, the healthier your veins will be as well. Basically, exercise gets your blood pumping, so it flows up your vein faster. That creates “shear stress” on your vein wall. Which causes vein wall cells to secrete nitric oxide. This is a chemical that preserves your vein wall health. So, for the most part, exercise is key to improving your vein health.

In certain cases, however, exercises may cause vein problems. Especially if you already have varicose veins. Want to get your veins healthy the right way? Read on for our ‘dos’ and don’ts’ of exercising with varicose veins. Please note that we recognize many readers will currently be avoiding the gym, so we’ve included recommendations for great, at-home exercise options.

The Best Exercises for Varicose Vein Sufferers

First things first: if you have vein disease, talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise programs. (If you’re planning to start a new routine right now, we can help get you cleared in office or with a Telemedicine appointment on the secure Doxy platform.) Once you’re cleared for activity, our Houston area vein specialists recommend starting with low-impact workouts like walking, bicycling or swimming.

Why are these great choices? First of all, you can try any of these activities while following social distancing guidelines. Plus, we like vein disease sufferers to use their legs. When you do, you strengthen those muscles, making them contract harder  and helping push blood out of your legs and back up to your heart.

In other words, stronger calf muscles make for better circulation. And that means you’re likely to experience pooling blood and other complications associated with venous insufficiency.

And, in addition to circulatory benefits, you can expect to see other positive effects:  your will likely lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels and keep your blood pressure down, helping improve your vein health—and keeping the rest of your body in tip-top shape.

Varicose Vein Warnings for Cyclists

While bicycling is a good vein health exercise, be careful about extended cycling routines. Serious bicyclists are more vulnerable to a kind of varicose vein known as a perforator vein. Perforator veins take blood through your muscles to your deep veins, where it goes back up to your heart. Your legs have about 150 perforator veins, and their valves come under pressure when you bike. Why?biking exercise for varicose veins

Serious cycling puts lots of pressure on your calf muscles. It starts when you push pedals. Then, it causes huge pressure in your leg, which should cause your blood to push back to your heart. That’s why vein specialists often recommend bike riding as a good exercise for varicose veins.

Unfortunately, in some cases that pressure is too much for your valves, causing them to fail. While we don’t know exactly why this happens, studies suggest it could be a result of hunched postures or other contributing factors.

Want to prevent cycling complications? Just use caution when you bike ride. Try to practice good posture, and don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you already have varicose veins. After all, studies still suggest that your potential vein benefits outweigh the chance of popping a valve. So just proceed with caution and follow your doctor’s advice.

What Workouts Should I Avoid if I have Varicose Veins?

When you have varicose veins, some workouts might actually worsen your condition. We tell our patients to avoid exercises like lifting weights, squatting, or even some yoga poses. So now’s not the time for a new, at-home yoga routine. Without the guidance of an instructor, it will be hard to make vein-safe modifications.

Here’s why: Anything that increases pressure on your abdomen and lower body is not recommended, since it can reduce or stop the amount of blood flowing from your legs back to your heart. That, in turn, may allow blood to pool in your legs, causing your veins to stretch out and, possibly, fail.

It’s also important to know that high impact exercises, such as running and jogging, may cause your varicose veins to swell more, although wearing compression stockings and sticking to soft training surfaces can help lessen the impact of this form of exercise. But walking is always a great, lower impact option!

When Should I Treat my Varicose Veins?

Contrary to what you may have heard, varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic concern. They are a sign that something has gone seriously wrong within your circulatory system. For that reason, you should see a vein specialist as soon as you notice a vein that’s getting darker or sticking out above the profile of your skin, even if our initial consult is remote. The earlier we catch and treat varicose veins, the less likely it is that your vein disease will be able to progress. So please reach out today and request a Telemedicine or in-office visit.

Sources: 220 Triathlon, Mayo Clinic, Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Why You Get Lower Leg Ulcers and How to Treat Them

lower-leg-ulcers

Lower leg ulcers are open sores that don’t heal or keep coming back. Ulcers can develop on your lower legs. They usually show up around the ankles. But they also develop if you put consistent pressure on your foot. We can easily treat small ulcers. And stop them from returning. But if an ulcer is left untreated, it can grow deeper into your skin tissue. Or it may become infected.  In that case, treatment will likely be drastic–and expensive.

How does a lower leg ulcer develop? Are there different kinds of ulcers? Read on to get a better understanding of ulcers and their treatment options. Plus, learn the best methods of prevention.

Venous Ulcers

Venous ulcers are most common on your lower leg. These occur when your leg veins don’t return blood back to the heart. (It’s a condition called chronic venous insufficiency.) Then, the unreturned blood pools in your leg tissue, causing swelling and low oxygen levels. As a result, even small wounds can’t heal. Instead, they get larger, leading to venous stasis ulceration.

Venous ulcers range from being painless to quite painful over time. They usually develop just above the ankle and on the inner leg. A telling sign of a venous ulcer is a brown, rust-colored pigmentation. Once it develops, the ulcer is red in color and possibly tinted with yellow fibrous tissue. A green or yellow discharge is also possible if it is infected. The surrounding skin might be warm and appear shiny and tight.

Venous ulcers usually affect older patients with a history of vein disease, varicose veins, and blood clotting. The fundamental cause is poor circulation, which can be brought on a number of ways, from atherosclerosis, obesity, heart disease, or smoking. Genetics, certain medications, and simply standing or sitting for too long on a daily basis can also factor in.

Diabetic and Arterial Ulcers

Though much less common, diabetic (neurotrophic) and arterial (ischemic) ulcers can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Their cause, appearance, location, and treatment are different from venous ulcers, so it is important to have an expert diagnose them. If left untreated and infected, they can lead to amputation.

Diabetic or neurotrophic ulcers are a result of an impaired sensation in the feet and decrease in wound healing, usually from diabetic nerve damage. They occur at pressure points on the bottom of the feet or wherever a wound has formed. Because of the lack of sensation, the patient is often unaware of them. It is important that diabetic patients inspect their feet daily. They can be pink/red or brown/black with a punched out or calloused/cracked border.

Arterial or ischemic ulcers on the other hand are extremely painful and caused by arterial disease, like atherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). They are unable to heal because of lack of blood in the tissue due to poor circulation. They often develop on the feet, especially the toes, and occasionally on the ankles. Their appearance is yellow, brown, gray, or black. They usually do not bleed. Like diabetic ulcers, the surrounding skin appears punched out. The pain is greatest at night and can be relieved by dangling the legs off the bed.

Ulcer Treatments and Prevention compression socks help lower leg ulcers

Venous ulcers can be treated in a variety of ways. One key to successful outcomes? Early treatments! According to a new study in JAMA, treating ulcers early (with ablation and compression) is very cost effective. And can cut your risk of recurring ulcers.

Now, compression is the most common ulcer treatment. Lifting your legs above your heart, whenever possible, also helps. It’s also important to treat the underlying cause of the ulcer. Now, for venous ulcers, this includes closing the abnormal veins that causing venous insufficiency. Once again, you’d use ablation therapy.

For arterial ulcers, a proper diagnosis must be made to determine the potential for wound healing. Compression therapy does not work for arterial ulcers and can make them worse. Treatments involve attempting to re-vascularize the leg through endovascular therapy. Treatment for neuropathic ulcers include debridement or removal of infected tissue, avoiding pressure on the ulcerated leg, and special shoes to prevent contact irritation.

Ulcers of the lower leg can be prevented by checking your ankles and legs daily for early signs of ulceration. This is key to getting the preventative treatment you need. Taking daily walks, eating healthier, quitting smoking, and anything that improves overall circulation will go a long way in preventing ulcers and venous/heart conditions.

How to Treat Your Ulcer at the Source

Whether you need an accurate diagnosis for your lower leg ulcer, or need treatment, Texas Endovascular has the vein expertise necessary to help. Schedule an appointment with us today and we’ll get you on the path to recovery.

Sources: JAMA NetworkCirculation Foundation, Venous News 

6 PAD Symptoms to Know and Watch For

September is PAD Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to teach you about identifying PAD symptoms. First, a definition: Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a disease. It develops when arteries in your lower legs narrow.

Because many PAD symptoms mimic those of other conditions, this disease is often hard to diagnose. About 20 million Americans have this disease. But up to 200,000 of those people don’t know it. So, in order to prevent a missed diagnosis, we need you to know and identify PAD symptoms. If you experience any of these problems, it’s important to see your Houston vein specialist right away.

Painful Symptoms of PAD

Muscle pain is one of several symptoms of PAD

  1. Pain in Your Legs After Walking or Exercise. One of the most common symptoms of PAD, this pain or cramping occurs with movement because your lower extremities don’t get enough oxygen to support the increased activity.  Most often, PAD sufferers will experience this pain in their calf muscles, but it may manifest anywhere in the lower legs. Pain will typically not resolve until the PAD sufferer stops all physical activity.
  2. Wounds, Sores or Ulcers. This second symptom is also caused by a lack of oxygen reaching your lower limbs. When you cut yourself, and you don’t have PAD, proper circulation and blood flow will help your injury heal quickly. When you have PAD, however, even a small scrape can remain open and unhealed as the plaque in their arteries blocks blood flow to the wound. This symptom must be addressed immediately: left unchecked, a wound can lead to serious infection and even amputation.

    Physical PAD Warning Signs

  3. Skin Changes on Your Legs. Once again, poor circulation is behind this PAD symptom. Some of the physical changes that occur with PAD include skin that appears to be shiny, loss of leg and/or toe hair, and a blue-ish tinge to your skin. Your lower legs, especially your toes, may also feel cold, even when your feet are covered and should otherwise feel toasty.
  4. Muscle, Not Joint, Pain. We’ve already noted that leg pain and cramps are a symptom of PAD, but it’s important to note where that pain is located. Many people think of leg pain as a normal part of aging, and it CAN be–when that pain is happening in your joints. When it’s located in your muscles, however, that is a sign that something beyond normal aches and pains is going on.
  5. Dead tissue. Most people will identify their PAD before reaching this point, but if you have gangrenous or dead tissue on your toes, feet or legs and you haven’t been checked for PAD, get a diagnostic vein scan ASAP.

    Emotional PAD Symptoms

  6. Depression. Especially for women, your depression symptoms may develop or worsen with PAD. So if you have the symptoms we described above, and depression, it’s time for a PAD check.

If there’s one thing we need you to remember, it’s this: PAD is a progressive disease. If you ignore early warning signs, your symptoms of PAD will get worse. Don’t wait until you’re in pain. Call our Houston area clinics today and schedule an immediate PAD consultation!

 

Sources: Mayoclinic.org , Healio Cardiology 

5 Reasons Why Varicose Veins Aren’t Just a Cosmetic Concern

There’s one thing we all know about varicose veins.  Those bulging, dark twisty things don’t look great when they show up on your legs (or anywhere else.) But here’s what you may not know: varicose veins are actually your body’s way of warning you that problems are brewing inside.

5 Conditions Associated with Spider VeinsDiagnostic Ultrasound Evaluation

  1. Venous Insufficiency.

    Varicose veins aren’t bad for you on their own.  But the factors that create them can be. You see, veins are elastic blood vessels. They have a job: to  carry blood back to the heart after it’s reached your body’s extremities.

    Now, there are a series of valves in your veins. They open and close, allowing blood to flow up towards your heart. Valves are basically one-way gates. They open to let blood flow up, but close to keep it from going back down towards your feet. Basically, they help your body fight gravity. But what happens when those valves stop working well? Your blood can flow backward, letting blood pool in your feet. That kind of backward flow is called venous insufficiency (VI). It stretches your veins, so they bulge. And it can also lead to leg and ankle swelling (edema), pain, itching and other uncomfortable symptoms.

  2. Blood Clots.

    When VI leaves you with pooling blood, that blood is more likely to form clots. Clots that form in the walls of your superficial veins (also called phlebitis) can be quite painful, although not usually life threatening.

  3. Deep Vein Thrombosis.

    Also known as DVT, this is a condition that occurs when blood clots form in your body’s deeper veins. Associated with poor circulation, it is considered a life threatening condition because, if a clot breaks free, it can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

  4. Ulcers.

    When blood sits around in your veins, it doesn’t just clot–it can start to leak out of your vessels as the walls become stretched beyond capacity. The leaked blood can deposit itself into the soft tissue of your legs, especially around your ankles where the skin is thin, holes may open up. Because your circulatory system is already compromised, less than optimal amounts of oxygen will reach that hole, making it more difficult for the skin to heal itself. That is why individuals with VI are more prone to open sores (ulcers.)

  5. Bleeding.

    When VI persists without treatment veins may be stretched to the point where they burst. At that point, you will experience bleeding that, depending on the location of the vein, may be dangerous to your overall health.

Cosmetic Vein Treatments and Vein Health Safety

Treating your varicose veins will restore your leg’s healthy appearance. But it’s about so much more than that. Our goal as Houston vein specialists is to resolve the underlying symptoms of varicose veins. Such as heavy legs, cramps, or itchy, burning skin. Because developing varicose veins is not just a normal part of aging. It’s a sign of vein disease. So, by treating your varicose veins, we can help you look and feel better!

And here’s some more good news: most of our vein treatments are virtually painless. Plus, many only require a local anesthetic, so you won’t be staying in the hospital. And, since vein treatments protect your health, not just your looks, many insurance plans will help cover the cost of your procedure. So you don’t have to worry about a large out-of-pocket responsibility.

Now that you understand the potential complications associated with spider veins, don’t waste another minute.  Schedule a diagnostic vein scan to determine the best treatment course to resolve your venous insufficiency. Remember, it’s not just about how you look. It’s about protecting your long-term health!

Sources: news.llu.edu, healthline.com, clevelandclinic.org,

5 Reasons to Sleep on Your Side

Did you know that sleep on your side could save your health? Yup, it’s true. While it may not seem like a big deal, the side you sleep on can impact how your whole body works. From your vein health to your heart function and so much more, we’re guessing this post will get you switching up your sleep position.

Benefits of Sleeping on Your Side sleep on your side to boost vein health

Left or right, sleeping on your side is better for your body. First, it can help you avoid issues with heartburn or acid reflux.  It can improve your digestion, since studies show that side sleeping helps food move seamlessly from your small to large intestine. And from there to your colon. Now, if you sleep on your left side, you get an added boost. This position keeps your stomach and pancreases in an ideal for producing the enzymes that encourage your best digestion.

Guess what else? Side sleeping can improve your night time breathing patterns. Which means you can say goodbye to snoring (or at least reduce this annoying habit.) And, if you suffer from chronic back pain, side sleeping can help. It’s a good way to relieve pressure on your spine.  Which can translate to reduced aches and pains the next morning.

Sleep on Your Side to Boost Vein Health

Sleeping on your side can also help drain your body’s lymph fluid, meaning your risk of swelling (lymphedema) will also go down. This is especially true if you sleep on your left side, since that’s your dominant lymphatic-side. And left-side sleeping won’t just boost drainage. It can also improve your lymph nodes’ performance, strengthening your immune system and helping you fight off infections.

Plus, improved lymph drainage can help your heart. Because better draining near your heart means the organ doesn’t have to work as hard, so it’s under less pressure. And, side sleeping is very important for boosting your circulation. But if you’re pregnant, you should always sleep on your left side, not your right. Not only will this boost blood flow to your heart and your fetus, but it will also keep your uterus from pressing on your liver. Something that’s very important to the functioning of your internal organs.

As we mentioned, sleeping on your side can improve your circulation. And healthy circulation prevents blood from pooling in your veins, which can decrease your risk for spider veins. But that’s not all. When you sleep on your left side, you take pressure off your body’s largest vein, the Vena Cava, located on the right side of your body. This large vein, composed of two smaller, iliac veins, has a big job. It takes oxygen-poor blood from your legs, feet and stomach back to your heart. And if it can’t do that job, you will certainly see blood building up in your lower extremities. Which can cause your veins to swell and stretch, becoming visible beneath your skin. And possibly leaving you with varicose veins, a serious symptom of vein disease.

Want to take more steps to protect your vein health? Our Houston area vein specialists are here to help! Schedule a diagnostic ultrasound with one of our skilled technicians. We can identify any potential problems to help keep your veins working just the way they should!

 

Sources: American Cancer Society, KidsHealth, Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Inferior Vena Cava

Fight All-Day Sitting Problems with 1 Easy Tip

So many of us spend all day sitting at a desk, staring at our computers.  Especially now that many of us have moved to a work-from-home model. The longest we’re walking is from the couch to the kitchen for a snack! This sedentary lifestyle takes a toll on so many parts of our lives. Posture suffers. Our waistlines start to expand. And our veins don’t work as well as they should. Basically, sitting all day is slowly killing us.

Side Effects of Sitting all-day sitting hurts your veins

We know that sitting all day can lead to weight gain. But that’s not the only problem with sitting all day long. When you sit for too long, you may face challenges such as:

Shorter Life

The Cancer Prevention Study II showed that sitting more than six hours a day, vs.  less than three hours per day, resulted in a higher risk of death. If you spend more time sitting, you are more likely to die from cardiac disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and suicide.

Blood Clots

Sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When you don’t move enough, your blood flow slows down. That’s when clots can form, break off, and move to other parts of your body. And if one of those clots reaches your lungs, you could develop a life-threatening pulmonary embolism .

Varicose Veins

These large, swollen veins can be a result of all-day sitting… or standing! Doing either activity for  too long can cause blood to pool in your legs. And that collected blood puts more pressure on your veins, which can then stretch. When stretched, your vein walls weaken, and the valves that help your blood flow properly, can become damaged.

Reversing Effects of All-Day Sitting

Now, we know that sounds scary…and it is. All-day sitting is no joke for your health.  But, don’t fear: hope is here! According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, just 30 minutes of physical activity in a day can fight those awful side effects of sitting.

Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center studied 7999 healthy people above the age of 45. Each participant had previously joined a study which monitored their activities for a minimum of 4 days a week.

Participants were followed for five years. Researchers collected data on the amount and intensity of their physical activity during that time. What they found was very exciting: any physical activity that lasted 30 minutes lowered your risk of a shortened life by a whopping 17 %! And, if you stepped up your activity game to at least a moderate intensity, that risk was cut by 35%.

 

How Can Physical Activity Fight Sitting Side Effects?

Getting active boosts your cardiovascular health. It helps keep your weight in check, lowers your cholesterol, builds bone and muscle strength and even improves your mental well-being. And exercise doesn’t have to happen at the gym. Try walking or jogging outside. Hop in the pool and cool off while boosting your heart rate. Even skipping the elevator in favor of the stairs can help up your activity levels and drop your risk of vein disease, diabetes, heart attacks and more.

Sources: American Journal of Epidemiology, Cancer.Org

 

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