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Author: Texas Endovascuar

6 Signs Your Circulation is Compromised (And What to do About it)

You may know that poor circulation can put your vein health at risk. But would you know if your circulation was already compromised? As it turns out, there are several early symptoms that you’ll notice when your circulation first becomes compromised. And we’re here to help you identify those warnings signs, so you can see your vein specialist and get help right away.

Symptoms of Poor Circulation

When your circulation is sluggish, or not working as well as it should, you may notice that:

·         Your hands and feet are often cold, or even numb

·        Muscle cramps pop up, especially in your legs

·         You experience tingling, throbbing or stinging leg pain

·         There’s a blue tint to the skin on your legs

·         The hair on your legs and feet may fall out

·        Nails get brittle and skin is dry

Now you know some of the warning signs of poor circulation, here’s how you can give your circulatory system a boost.

How Can I Improve my Circulation?

The most important way to protect your circulation is to live a healthy lifestyle. And that includes dropping your nicotine habit if you smoke or vape. Why is that so crucial? Nicotine hits your circulatory system with a two-part punch: first, it thickens your blood, which slows down its flow. Plus, it causes your blood vessels to narrow, which makes it even more difficult for blood to circulate through your body.

Of course, not smoking is important, but on its own, this step won’t completely protect you from circulatory problems. You should also strive to maintain a healthy blood pressure—have your levels checked regularly by your doctor, and strive to maintain a reading of 120 over 80 (or lower.) If you aren’t in that optimal range, discuss ways of lowering your pressure with your healthcare provider.

Lifestyle Changes to Boost Circulation

Certain lifestyle habits can also help improve your circulation—especially good hydration. Since your blood is about half water, staying hydrated helps keep it flowing through your body. It’s also important to move frequently throughout your day. Sitting or standing in one spot for extended periods of time takes a major toll on your circulation. Simply taking more walking breaks can do wonders, but consider stepping up your aerobic exercise by incorporating regular 30 minute sessions into your weekly routine. Swimming and biking are great, low-impact options.

Your diet matters, too, when it comes to circulation. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, and carefully monitor (and limit) your salt intake. You should also limit (or avoid) the saturated fats found in many cheeses and animal proteins, as they can lead to fatty build-ups in your arteries, which will further hamper circulation.

And, finally, if circulation problems are already seriously impacting your health, you may want to being compression therapy. This sounds scarier than it actually is. In fact, this form of therapy involves the regular wearing of compression stockings. These simple pieces of clothing (which now come in a variety of styles and colors) put a little pressure on your legs to help get blood out of the area and back up to your heart.  This can improve your circulation and limit many of the symptoms association with circulatory problems, like spider veins or heavy, achy legs.

 

If left untreated, circulatory problems can cause you to experience serious health problems. But if you take note of early warning signals and seek treatment from your Houston vein specialists, you can improve your circulation and avoid or even reverse any associated complications!

 

Sources: SCNow.com

Check It Out: We’re the Biggest Medical Discovery of the Decade!

As interventional radiologists in Houston, TX, the doctors at Texas Endovascular Associates take pride in our field. We love helping our patients regain their good health without going through invasive surgeries and difficult recovery periods. And, as it turns out, plenty of people feel the same way!

Recently, MSN.COM included Interventional Radiology among its list of the biggest medical discoveries of the decade. That’s a really big deal—for our doctors and for all the patients we have helped and will continue to serve. Take a look at what they had to say about the type of medicine we practice!

Why Interventional Radiology is a Major Medical Advancement

In the article, Dr. Raj Ayyagari, an Interventional Radiologist at Yale Medicine, explained. “Some of the biggest developments in the last decade…are the advancements of image-guided minimally invasive procedures… With these methods we can cure liver and kidney cancers, shrink enlarged prostates that cause urine blockage (BPH) or uterine fibroids that cause bleeding or pain…we can stop emergency bleeding…create blood vessel access for dialysis… [And] we can unblock vessels clogged with clots (known as DVT or deep vein thrombosis).” PAD Treatment

In fact, we perform many of those procedures in our offices in and around the Houston area. How do we do it? The majority of our procedures begin when we make a pin-sized opening in your skin, then navigate catheters through your blood vessels in order to treat your veins and arteries, blood clots and even fibroid tumors.

Better yet, we can perform our procedures without putting you under general anesthesia. That means you’re looking at less down time and lower costs, and, in almost every situation, with the added bonus of no overnight hospital stays.

To quote our colleague, Dr. Ayyagari, “There is a saying about Interventional Radiology – ‘it’s like surgery, only magic!'”

If you are dealing with vein disease, hardened arteries, spider veins or other concerns, we invite you to explore the ‘magic’ our vein specialists can perform. Schedule your diagnostic ultrasound today and see what we’re about.

 

What are the Symptoms of a Blood Clot?

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.

 

DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a clot in the deep veins of your legs) symptoms include:

·         Redness at the site of the clot

·         Warm skin

·         Swelling

·         Pain, without any obvious injury

·         Cramps

Pulmonary embolism (a clot that has broken free and travelled to your lungs), symptoms include:

·         Shortness of breath for no apparent reason

·         An unexplained cough

·         Chest pain

·         Increased heart rate

·         Fatigue

If you’re at increased risk for a blood clot (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.

How Will You Treat My Blood 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

What Can I Do to Prevent Varicose Veins?

When you develop varicose veins, it’s typically because your vein walls and valves have sustained damage. Often, that damage occurs because of a combination of two factors: compromised blood flow and increased pressure. When the valves in your veins don’t work well, blood has a hard time flowing back to your heart. When it can’t flow back to your heart, the blood builds up in your legs. And when the blood builds up in your legs, it puts a lot of pressure on the walls of your veins. That’s when they start to stretch and bulge, and become visible through your skin.

What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Symptoms of varicose veins include:

·         bulging, blue or purple veins

·         leg pain or heaviness

·         itchy skin

·         changes in skin color

·         leg cramps, especially in the evenings

Can I Prevent Varicose Veins from Developing?

Certain factors, like your age, pregnancy and family history all increase your risk of developing varicose veins. But there are measures you can take to lower your risk of developing new varicose veins. Some of these moves can also improve the appearance of existing vein damage.

Exercise
Getting regular exercise helps improve blood flow in your legs—walking several times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time, will strengthen your calf muscles and improve your blood flow. Both will help prevent blood from pooling in your legs and putting pressure on your vein walls.

Prop up Your Tootsies
Whenever you get the chance to take a break, sit down and get your feet up (ideally above the level of your heart.) This will get that blood flowing back where it belongs.

Move More Every Day
Standing or sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on your veins. If you can get up and move around, or sit down and take a load off, at least once an hour, this will minimize the toll taken on your veins.

Drop Some Pounds
The closer you are to your ideal weight, the less pressure you put on your veins, and the better your entire circulatory system will function.

Take on Outside Pressure
When your body is having problems pushing blood out of your legs, wearing therapeutic compression socks or stockings can help minimize potential vein damage.

While all of these factors can help decrease your chances of developing varicose veins, if you have an increased risk of vein disease, you should stick to regular visits with your vein specialist. That way, if problems do develop, we can catch and treat them as soon as possible.

Sources: Mayoclinic.corg

 

These Jobs Can Increase Your Risk for Vein Disease

Living a healthy lifestyle—full of exercise and nourishing food—can go a long way towards protecting your vein and cardiovascular health. But what happens when your profession increases your risk for developing spider veins? You learn the facts and take action to keep your job from hurting your health! That’s why we’re sharing this important information.

Professions that Increase your Varicose Vein Risk Spider veins

Certain jobs can take a major toll on your veins, increasing the likelihood of problems. Some of the top professions include:

Teachers

Standing all day puts a lot of pressure on your veins. And many teachers stand in front of a class from 8 am until 3 pm, with very few opportunities to sit and rest. Want to minimize your risk? Take a quick trip to the teacher’s lounge and sit down, with your feet up, whenever possible.

Wait staff

Waiters and restaurant hosts stay on their feet for their entire shifts. And while waiters at least have the benefit of walking between tables and the kitchen, helping pump some of the blood out of their legs, hosts stay in one spot, greeting diners as they arrive. In order to mitigate risks, try to limit shift length and give extra attention to your feet and legs on days when you’re not on the job.

Flight attendants 

Long flights take a toll on everybody’s vein health. So, imagine flying every day AND spending the majority of that flying time on your feet, serving needy passengers. People who fly for a living need to practice vein-saving, in-flight exercises (see image at right for one example) in order to minimize their risk of complications.

Office Staff

As it turns out, sitting all day isn’t so great for your vein health, either. The effects are similar to all-day standing: blood will start to pool in your feet and legs, making your valves and veins work harder to get it back up to your heart. Taking frequent walking breaks can help mitigate the risk of sitting at your computer all day.

Lowering On-the-Job Vein Health Risks

Aside from the job-specific tips we already shared, here are some other steps you can take to minimize your risk for varicose veins:

·         Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

·         Consider compression stockings to help boost circulation in your lower extremities

·         When you do sit, avoid crossing your legs

·         Elevate your feet for at least 30 minutes, every day

·         Get regular cardiovascular exercise (it doesn’t need to be high-impact. Even walking will make a major difference!)

 

What to Watch for if Your Varicose Vein Risk is Elevated

If your job puts you in a higher risk category for vein disease, you should see a vein specialist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

·         Swollen lumpy veins

·         Color changes in your veins, specifically if they appear to be dark blue or purple

·         Leg pain or legs that feel heavy

 

Of course, you don’t have to see symptoms of varicose veins in order to visit our Houston area vein clinics. If you know your risk for vein disease is already elevated, proactive vein care could go a long way towards preventing negative outcomes!

 

 

Here’s What you Need to Know about Blood Clots

In our Houston vein practice, we know how serious a threat blood clots pose to your health. When we treat patients with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins of your legs, we face a medical emergency. That’s because, if a blood clot breaks free and travels to other parts of your body—especially to your lungs—it can threaten your life.

But, many people want to know: why do I get blood clots? And, what are they exactly? Is there anything I can do to prevent them? So, in this post, we will try to answer all of those questions. Just keep reading to learn more.

Why do blood clots form? stages of PAD

When things are working properly, your blood flows freely through your body, delivering oxygen to your organs and flushing out the waste products created by your body’s metabolic processes. But, if you get a cut, scrape or injury, blood in your arteries and veins (veins return blood from the body to the heart; arteries transport blood away from your heart) will clot to block your blood vessels and stop you from bleeding out.

But, when your arteries or veins get blocked when you aren’t injured, you need medical intervention. Otherwise, you can face complications such as strokes, heart attacks, organ damage and even limb loss. In certain occasions, as we mentioned earlier, blood clots can kill you by travelling to your lungs (pulmonary embolism), interfering with your ability to breathe.

Blood clots form in blood vessels—either your deep veins or your arteries. Typically, they form after your blood vessels get damaged, triggering a reaction in your body. This reaction involves a mix of platelets and clotting factor proteins.

Why Do Blood Clots Cause Health Problems?

As we mentioned, problematic blood clots form when the connection between platelets and clotting factor proteins goes awry. Platelets are objects in your blood that group together and stick to the walls of your blood vessels when needed.

Clotting factors are proteins in the blood that trigger a reaction to makes platelets and red blood cells stick together. Typically, other proteins in your body make that reaction stop, so your clot only reaches the size needed to prevent excess bleeding.  But when damage to your blood vessels impacts that reaction, clots may grow unchecked, leaving you at risk for clotting conditions like DVT.

Why would I get an arterial blood clot or a DVT?

We can’t always predict who will be affected by blood clots, or when those clots will form. But we do know certain factors that can increase your risk for clots:

·         Prolonged immobility, as with long airplane flights

·         Arm or leg surgery

·         Casting a broken bone

·         Trauma

·         Smoking

·         Being pregnant

·         Diabetes

·         Obesity

·         High blood pressure

·         High cholesterol

·         Age

·         A family history of peripheral artery disease (PAD), stroke or heart disease or stroke

Diagnosing and Treating Blood Clots

The best way to treat blood clots is to prevent their formation. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying mobile even on long trips, and using compression therapy can all help protect you from DVT. Even if you develop a DVT, compression therapy—especially within 24 hours of the clot’s formation—can help manage your risk of further complications.

So, as with many other vein and arterial conditions, timeliness is key when it comes to treating blood clots. The sooner you see a vein specialist, the better the outcome you will likely enjoy.

 

Don’t Get THIS Manicure if you Have Vein Disease

A lot of nail salons offer numerous manicure options. From gels to press on nails; French tips to nail art, the choices are lengthy. And, for the most part, all of these options are safe for people with vein disease—as long as the salon is clean, of course. There is, however, one key exception. If you have varicose veins—those twisted, bulging, highly visible signs of vein disease—you should absolutely avoid paraffin manicures. Let’s take a closer look at the procedure, so you can understand the potential risks to your vein health.

What happens during a paraffin manicure?

A paraffin manicure involves paraffin wax—a beeswax and petroleum derivative that has no smell or color. During this manicure, your hands dip into or get painted with several layers of heated wax. Next, your nail tech covers your hand with a plastic glove and a hot towel. Often, but not always, the wax will also contain a mix of essential oils to enhance the experience.

The wax gets peeled away once everything has cooled down, and everything that happens next looks exactly like a regular manicure. For people with healthy veins, paraffin manicures can provide lovely moisture to your dry hands. It can also help you lock in your body’s natural oils to prevent future dryness. And, thanks to the heated component of this treatment, paraffin manicures can help increase blood flow to your hands, alleviating joint pain and stiffness—at least, temporarily. So, why don’t paraffin manicures and varicose veins make a good pair? As it turns out, it’s all about the circulation.

Paraffin Wax and Varicose Veins: a Bad Combination

Paraffin manicures aren’t recommended for people with varicose veins, hypertension or diabetes, because it can impact your circulation, causing you to experience numbness or unusual sensations. Why? When you apply hot wax to certain parts of your body, blood rushes to that area. But that also takes blood away from other areas, like your legs and feet, which already have limited blood flow if you’re living with conditions like chronic venous insufficiency. And because you may not be aware of the side effects of other spa treatments, you should talk to your vein specialist before hitting the salon for any new procedure or treatment.

Sources: healthline.com

This is What Happens if you Don’t Treat Vein Disease

Have you been delaying treating your spider veins? Do you hate how they look, but aren’t sure if there’s a good medical reason to get rid of them? If so, you NEED to read this blog post.

Why? Because, if left untreated, the vein problems you’re already experiencing will get worse. And they can lead to further medical complications. In fact, by the end of this post, we’re guessing you’ll be ready to talk vein treatment. Here’s why:

Vein Disease is a Progressive Condition

Yes, it’s true: if you ignore varicose veins they won’t stay the way they are (and they certainly won’t get better!) Instead, the more time that goes by, the larger and more dangerous these bulging veins will become to your overall health.

Allow us to paint you a picture of the typical path vein disease takes. First, you may notice a cluster of veins that varicose veins on legare red in color and slightly visible. Next, they may become blue and bulge slightly. And if you don’t intervene at this point, the veins could bulge even more, appear to become twisted, or even leave you with open wounds (ulcers.)

So…that’s the bad news. But here’s the good: we can stop this progression in its tracks with proper vein treatments.

And the earlier you seek treatment, the greater the variety of treatment options you’ll be offered ( all of which we’ll review in 3…2…1…

Top Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Depending on the progression of your vein disease, you may be eligible for one or more of the following treatments:

Cosmetic sclerotherapy is best for asymptomatic varicose and spider veins that are near the skin’s surface. Purely cosmetic, it involves treating blood vessels which are unsightly, but do not show serious symptoms of vein disease. It’s fast, minimally invasive and requires no sedation or anesthesia.  But for spider veins in the legs, sclerotherapy is usually recommended. Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure.

During the procedure, a solution is injected into your affected vein, causing it to shrink and close so that blood flow will be redirected through other, healthier veins. Once the vein is closed, it will eventually shrink and disappear from view on the skin’s surface. The whole thing takes just 15 minutes, and afterwards, you wear compression stockings for a week. But you can get back to normal activities right away, making sure to walk each day after your procedure for at least 30 minutes.

Ablation Treatment for Vein Disease

Another option our Houston vein specialists offer is radiofrequency vein ablation (RFA), typically used to treat varicose veins and other problems caused by venous insufficiency or reflux.

RFA is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter is inserted into an abnormal vein, heating the vein to close it permanently. Radiofrequency ablation requires only a local anesthetic, causes little or no pain, and leaves virtually no scar. The outpatient procedure takes less than an hour to perform and patients can resume normal activities immediately afterwards.

Finally there is ambulatory phlebectomy—a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove bulging varicose veins located just below the skin.

Phlebectomy is performed under local anesthesia. Several small incisions are made to extract your bulging varicose vein. Since we make small incisions, you won’t need stitches and scarring is minimal or even non-existent. We call this procedure “ambulatory” because you can walk immediately after we get done!

Before recommending any of our vein treatments, our vein specialists will perform a thorough exam and discuss all your available options. Together, we’ll decide on the best way to stop your progressive vein disease in its tracks!

 

These are the best (And Worst) Exercises if you have Varicose Veins

In general, exercising is good for your health. But when vein disease gives you  varicose veins, some exercises can hurt your condition. Read on for our ‘dos’ and don’ts’ of exercising with varicose veins.

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. 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? 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.

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 that like lifting weights, squatting, or even some yoga poses. 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.

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. The earlier we catch and treat varicose veins, the less likely it is that your vein disease will be able to progress.

 

Here’s 5 Reasons Your Feet Get Swollen

In our Houston area vein clinics, we see many people with edema—swelling that’s a result of fluid build-up. Most of the patients we see for edema have swelling in their legs or feet; it’s because fluid has become trapped in the soft tissues of their legs due to malfunctioning valves in their veins.

If you have swollen legs or feet, the edema could be a symptom of vein disease: when the valves in your leg veins weaken or fail, the blood can no longer be pumped properly out of your legs. This causes blood and fluid to stick around and, as the fluid builds up, your leg may begin to swell—hence, edema.

Now this is the primary cause of swelling in a vein clinic, but other factors may leave you with edema as well. But, if your legs are swollen and you’ve ruled out the following potential causes, it’s a good idea to come and see us for a diagnostic ultrasound to rule out vein disease.

5 Reasons Your Feet Swell That Aren’t Vein Disease

Already ruled out these potential causes? It’s time to see your vein doc. Otherwise, check and see if:

 

  1. You’ve spent a long time flying or driving

    As it turns out, you can develop vein-disease like symptoms from sitting too long. That’s because your veins get less effective at pushing blood up to your heart, allowing it to pool and making your feet swell up. Why? The problem is sitting: it limits your muscle contractions, making it harder for blood to move. But the position also pushes on your veins, which further reduces the blood flow…and, voila, edema!

  2. Your Lifestyle is Sedentary

    When you don’t exercise, your circulatory system can become compromised. Especially if you’re also carrying extra weight around. Bring those two factors together, and swollen feet and legs may be the result.

  3. You’ve Been Slamming Salty Snacks

    This cause of edema actually has nothing to do with your blood flow. Plain and simple—salt makes you retain water. And if that water sticks around your feet and legs, they get swollen!

  4. You’re Hurt

    When you’re dealing with injuries in your feet or ankles—whether it’s an acute issue like a sprain or fracture, or an overuse injury like shin splints—swelling may ensue. And while this may look like edema, the symptom is completely unrelated, and will only disappear when your underlying injury is treated.

  5. You’re Taking A New Medication

    Some medications can cause fluid retention or swelling in your legs, ankles or feet. So if your edema appears shortly after starting a new drug—especially for conditions like high blood pressure—check in with your prescribing doctor to see if the two are connected.

 

Now we’ve thoroughly explored non-vascular edema triggers. So, we have to remind you: lots of times, this symptom is an indication of problems in your veins. And that means that, if you’ve got swollen legs and you’re not sure why, go and see an experienced vein specialist to get a diagnosis.