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Author: Texas Endovascuar

Help, My Varicose Veins are Bleeding! What Can I Do?

So many people think that varicose veins are a cosmetic problem. But did you know that it’s fairly common for even small spider veins to trigger bleeding episodes?

Yes, you read that correctly. Even if you have small spider veins, something as simple as a little cut could cause you to bleed. A lot. In fact, you might bleed so much that you have to seek medical attention to make it stop. And, want to know something even scarier? Sometimes, that bleeding event could happen spontaneously. In fact, it often happens when you’re taking a hot shower. The warm water dilates (opens up) your veins and brings more blood flow to already weakened areas. At this point, since the veins are so close to the surface of your skin, they may simply rupture.

Now, the point of this post isn’t to terrify you into treating your spider veins. But we do want to help you understand that leaving them untreated could contribute to further medical complications. And cause you more problems than embarrassment when your legs are exposed.

What Causes Varicose Veins to Bleed? spider veins on legs

While every individual is different, we usually see a common thread when varicose veins trigger bleeding. Typically, we see that a vein slightly above your bleeding site has become incompetent (it’s valves aren’t working.) This has allowed blood to collect in the veins. And that blood puts pressure on those veins making them both larger and more delicate.

Now, don’t forget, varicose veins are located fairly close to the surface of your skin. Which means that, over time, your varicose veins are become large, weak, easily-impacted store-houses for your blood. Now you understand why people with vein disease are more vulnerable to bleeding episodes, and why those episodes may result in serious blood loss.

So, what can you do to prevent complications? Well, the answer is fairly simple: treat your spider or varicose veins. That way, blood will stop pooling in your legs, and there will be less of a chance for serious blood loss if you do sustain a leg injury.

Fortunately, vein specialists like us offer a variety of different varicose vein treatments. The one you select will depend on your specific needs and, of course, the progression of our condition. But, you can’t pick a treatment without getting into the office. Which means that, if you have varicose veins and you’re worried about bleeding, you need to get scheduled for a diagnostic ultrasound as soon as possible.

Sources: NHS.com

Warning: Spanx and Skinny Jeans Could Kill your Veins

Raise your hand if you’ve ever squeezed into shape wear so that little black dress fit just a bit better. Or if your jeans are so snug they could be painted on your legs. So many of us have, and why not? It seems like a foolproof way to look our best without having to suffer through hours at the gym or weeks of deprivation. But there is a catch: spending too much time in restrictive clothing and shape wear can actually take a toll on your body.

How Compressing Shape Wear and Tight Clothing Harms Your Health

Wearing tight clothes like skinny jeans or compression garments  restricts circulation in your legs. It leaves your blood stagnant and can worsen varicose veins.

These garments also put added pressure on your abdomen. Eventually, that pressure travels down to your legs, ultimately hindering your blood flow.

After a few hours in Spanx, skinny jeans or other compression garments, you may start to experience:

Tingling and Numbness

Since shape wear has to put a lot of pressure on your midsection to keep your rolls in check, it also restricts circulation to your lower body. Over time, if you wear these garments frequently, you may develop a condition called meralgia paresthetica, with symptoms like numbness, pain, and tingling in your legs and feet.

Varicose Veins or Blood Clots

Unfortunately, compression garments can also affect your vein health. When your midsection is on lock down, it’s tough for blood to get down to your legs and feet (see above.) But it’s also tough for the blood already in your lower extremities to get back up to your heart when it has to pass through the compression zone. That means blood can pool in your lower body, putting pressure on your veins until they bulge and become visible through your skin (spider veins.)  With repetitive wears, the damage to your veins may be cumulative, and may even increase your risk of blood clots, since varicose veins are a risk factor for DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins of your legs.)

 

Stay Safe and Smooth with Shapewear

Now, we know how great your shapewear is, so we’re not telling you to throw it out the window. Instead, we’re suggesting caution. Don’t wear compressive garments all day, every day: instead, leave them for special events with limited hours. And when you are wearing them, give your circulatory system and veins a little help by taking walking breaks: the movement will get your leg muscles pumping, which can help get blood flowing into and out of your legs.

Sources: Ehealth.cominny

Eat THIS Now if You Want to Lower Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major problem. It puts you at risk for all sorts of other health conditions, including venous insufficiency, heart attack and stroke. So, obviously, it’s important to maintain a healthy blood pressure level. And, according to studies, there’s one group of foods that can help you do that: the ones that are packed with probiotics.

How Probiotics Can Lower Your Blood Pressure

You probably already know that probiotics (live, good-for-you, bacteria) can help your gut and digestion. But did you also know that eating probiotics can help lower your body? Yup, that’s right!

According to research conducted at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine in Australia, consuming probiotic-packed foods (not just supplements) can help lower your blood pressure. Some of the best food sources for probiotics include yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut and kimchi.

So, how did researchers find the connection between food and blood pressure? To reach their findings, Dr. Jing Sun and his team analyzed 543 with normal or high blood pressure. Next, they pored over studies that addressed their probiotic consumption.

And here’s what they found. Adults consuming probiotics daily for eight weeks or more had significantly lower systolic (pressure in the arteries when the heart beats) and diastolic (pressure in the arteries between heartbeats) blood pressure compared with those who didn’t eat probiotic-rich food.

Given the negative effects of high blood pressure, adding probiotic food sources to your diet should be a no-brainer. After all, it’s one of the few, drug-free methods out there to help take control of your blood pressure and stave off vein disease.

 

Sources: MedicalNewsToday.com

Check out the New Gel that Could Solve Leg Ulcer Problems

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. Want to hear the coolest part? It’s developed from blood!

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!

What are Compression Socks For and Where Can I Get Them?

When you imagine compression socks, some unattractive images come to mind. But, these days, there are many styles of compression socks. And, more importantly they support your vein health in a many ways. Let’s take a closer look at the real deal with compression socks.

Who are Compression Socks Designed For?

So many people can benefit from wearing compression socks. People who frequently travel by airplane; pregnant women; people with varicose veins; individuals who must stay on their feet all day for work…even runners looking to boost their performance may be helped by wearing these socks.

For most people, compression socks help improve circulation to fight vascular conditions like lymphedema, varicose veins and/or chronic venous insufficiency. But some athletes choose to wear compression socks, even without experiencing vascular issues, because they can help prevent swelling in the lower limbs. Wearing compression socks can also speed up recover time after a hard training session thanks to the boost they give your blood flow.

How Do Compression Socks Work Their Magic?

Compression socks are made from stretchy, snug fabric designed to squeeze your legs and ankles tightly. That squeezing action works with the muscles in your calves to keep blood pumping out of your lower extremities and back up to your heart,  improving blood circulation, and cutting back on pooling blood and potential swelling.

Different styles of socks deliver different pressure—and different results—to your body. They come in different lengths, meaning shorter styles will have less of an impact on your legs. They are deliver varying degrees of pressure, measured in mmHg. If your vein doctor has recommended compression socks, it’s important to sit down and discuss the style, length and mmHg levels that your specific condition requires.

Where Can I Get Compression Socks?

Here’s the good news: compression socks are really easy to get a hold of. You can find them in a number of places: the drug store, our offices (or your primary healthcare providers). Heck, you can even get them online!

Bare in mind that online or in stores, you may not enjoy the widest selection available. Also, the pressure rating may not be sufficient to meet your vein health needs. So, what’s the best way to get what you need out of your stockings? See your vein specialists and score a prescription for compression socks. That way, you’ll be sure that the pair you receive is ideally suited for your specific needs. Plus, with a medical prescription, you may be able to use insurance to cover the cost of your stockings.

Do you have questions about how compression socks can benefit your vascular health? Or how you can obtain a prescription for your compression stockings? Just schedule a consultation with one of our Houston area vein specialists!

OMG: This is How Your Birth Month Determines the Way You’ll Die

Check out the discovery we’re calling the scariest of 2019. Late last year, that the time of year during which you were born can determine the way you die. More specifically, your birth month is directly linked to your odds of dying from heart disease! Want to know the worst birth months for heart health? Just keep reading!

Spring and Summer: The Seasons of Heart Disease

In a study published in The BMJ, researchers discovered that heart disease is more likely to kill you if you’re born from April to September, the spring and summer months.

Unfortunately, scientists can’t say exactly why these birth months increase your risk. But they do suggest that there’s a connection between your birth month, and your early exposure to seasonal dietary changes, available sunlight and air quality.

To reach these conclusions, they followed 116,911 women who were recruited for the study, and between the ages of 30 and 55 in 1976. Researchers examined the timing of their births, overall causes of death, and deaths caused specifically by heart disease.  Every two years, ending in 2014, the women completed health and lifestyle questionnaires.

By the end of the study period, over 43,000 of the women had died. And 8,360 of those women died of issues related to heart disease. While that figure may not seem so surprising, here’s what is: spring and summer babies were significantly more likely to have that cause of death when compared to their peers who were born in the fall. Still, without a direct causal link, the scientists warn us that this study is observation only. After all, they can’t completely rule out other, unmeasured factors that may contribute to the increased risk.  Still, if your birthday falls in this range—or even if it doesn’t—it’s important to learn the early warning signs of heart disease, so you can seek treatment at the first sign of a problem.

These are the Warning Signs for Heart Disease

Regardless of your risk for cardiovascular disease, you should never ignore these tell-tale symptoms, especially if they are sudden and unexplained:

1. Chest pain

2. Stomach pain

3. Sweating

4. Leg pain, especially when cramps appear with movement. This could be an early sign of of PAD (peripheral arterial disease).

5. Arm pain

6. Swollen ankles (edema), which can indicate circulatory problems or even heart failure.

7. Chronic exhaustion

On their own, any one of these symptoms should be a sign that it’s time to discuss your heart with a healthcare provider. But, in combination, consider these symptoms a potential emergency. Seek medical attention right away.

Sources: The BMJ, www.bmj.com

 

How to Fight Varicose Veins in Cold Weather

Look out, Houston: it’s the one time of year when we may be facing cold weather. (Or, more likely, when you’ll be traveling away from the Gulf to colder climates where you can ski!) While cold weather is not something we need to worry about all that often in our area of Texas, it can be a real problem for individuals with varicose veins. Or for those people, like pregnant women, with a higher risk of developing them. Here’s why:

Cold Weather Affects Your Circulation

You know that song, “the weather outside is frightful?” Nothing inspires people to stay indoors, and stay sitting, like Cold Outsidea dip in temperature. It’s way too tempting to skip a trip to the gym when you could read a good book in your cozy bed, instead.

Unfortunately, exercise is very important for individuals with vein conditions like varicose veins. Staying sedentary worsens existing vein problems because your blood pools more and gets moved around your body even less than normal.

But that’s not the only reason cold weather is bad for your veins. Have you ever noticed that, when you’re cold, your toes and fingers start to change color? Maybe they look a little blue? That’s because the cold weather has affected your circulation, and less blood is reaching your extremities. Of course, this is uncomfortable for anyone stuck in the cold, but for people with vein problems, it can really exacerbate your condition.

How Cold Weather Can Help Varicose Veins

Thankfully, cold weather isn’t all bad for your veins. In fact, in some ways, cooler temperatures can be beneficial to your vein health! Unlike hot weather, that can leave your body sore and swollen, cold weather can actually cause your veins to constrict. For people with varicose veins, a condition that’s cause by pooling blood that contributes to swollen, bulging veins, this is a major positive. So take heart: your varicose veins may actually appear smaller in the cold. You may also experience fewer symptoms, like cramping and swelling, when it’s cold outside.

Of course, any weather-related symptom relief will disappear when temperatures come back up. Sadly, problems that are exacerbated by cold weather may not improve, even when it’s warm again.  In order to truly protect yourself from weather-related vein symptoms, your only option is to seek treatment for the underlying problem. At our Houston vein clinic, we are happy to offer diagnostic vein scans, so schedule your appointment today, before the chilly weather gets the best of you!

Check out the Great New Reason to Grab a Beer!

‘Tis the season to toast, and, as it turns out, that might not be such a bad thing after all. In fact, according to new research, picking up your wine glass or beer mug may have a very beneficial effect on your health. Especially when it comes to your risk of contracting certain circulatory conditions, including Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD.)

How Wine and Beer Consumption Can Help Your Heart

Now, this information isn’t entirely new. We’ve all heard rumbles about how red wine—in moderation—is good for your heart. So what’s new about this research out of Cambridge and University College London (UCL)?

For one thing, the researchers are giving us updated quantities. Now, they recommend drinking about 1.5 bottles of wine each week, or seven  beers. But that’s not all the research suggests. As it turns out, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is actually better than not drinking at all.

How did they reach this conclusion? Researchers analyzed data from close to 2 million United Kingdom residents. They discovered that avoiding alcohol and drinking a lot gave you a higher risk for seven different heart conditions. And those conditions include PAD, heart attacks and strokes.

Lead researcher Steven Bell explained that moderate alcohol intake reduces inflammation while boosting good cholesterol levels. Plus, moderate drinking can be social. And connecting with peers improves your overall well-being, including your heart health.

The Impact of Alcohol Avoidance

While researchers discovered benefits of moderate drinking, they also found problems with avoiding alcohol completely. In fact, as compared to moderate drinkers, people with zero alcohol intake were more likely to experience angina, heart attacks, sudden coronary death, heart failure, strokes due to lack of blood flow, abdominal aneurysms and peripheral arterial disease.

There was, however, a silver-lining for sober people: not-drinking had no impact on the risk of experiencing cardiac arrest or strokes unrelated to blood flow problems. And, for those who have good reason to avoid alcohol, the researchers noted that alcohol isn’t the only path to decreased risk of heart problems. If you have a good reason not to drink (and there are plenty) you can improve your heart health and decrease your risk of disease with many other lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise. But, if you’re all about moderate, social drinking, take “heart” in these findings, which both Harvard Medical School and John Hopkins Public School of Health have signed off on. In fact, you could use this post to feel even better about the extra glass or two you’re bound to enjoy as you wind down the holiday season and ring in the New Year!

Sources: British Medical Journal (BMJ)

That Pain in Your Legs? It Could Mean a Blood Flow Problem

So many people are quick to brush off a little pain in your legs. But that tendency is the reason so many people with peripheral artery disease (PAD) have delayed or missed diagnoses.  You see, PAD is a condition that develops slowly and with few symptoms. Inside your body, your blood vessels are slowly narrowing due to atherosclerosis, a build-up of fatty deposits that keeps enough blood and oxygen from getting to your legs. And it’s that lack of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood which can make your legs feel uncomfortable and crampy. Which in turn is why you should never ignore leg pain that appears for no apparent reason.

Now you know why ignoring leg pain can be so dangerous to your health. Next, let’s take a closer look at ways you can increase the flow of blood to your lower extremities.

This is How to Reduce PAD Symptoms with Improved Blood Flow

If you want to avoid PAD, or reduce existing symptoms, your best bet is to keep your arteries and blood vessels clear of blockages. You also need to work on improving your blood circulation.

The first step in this process? Get moving! Physical activity encourages blood flow. Plus, it helps you maintain a healthy weight, which can also help your body provide sufficient blood to your extremities.

Still, moving more isn’t enough. Diet is also a crucial part of preventing atherosclerosis, the “hardening of the arteries” that causes PAD. That’s because, through a healthy diet, many individuals may be able to lower their cholesterol levels. And high cholesterol is linked to the build-up of plaque in your arteries. (Keep in mind that some people may require medication to lower cholesterol levels. Discuss all changes to your diet with your healthcare provider.)

Regardless of whether or not you also need medication, people with PAD should focus on proper nutrition. As it turns out, many of the foods you eat can actually help improve your blood flow and boost the health of your veins and arteries. Top foods to try include:

·         Beets and beetroot juice

·         Onions

·         Garlic

·         Fatty fish

·         Pomegranate

·         Turmeric

·         Cayenne

·         Oats

·         Whole grains

·         Beans

·         Eggplant

·         Nuts

·         Apples/berries/citrus fruits

Even if you don’t have PAD, adding these foods to your diet and increasing your weekly movement can help prevent problems. But, if your legs hurt; or if you notice changes like discolored legs or loss of hair on your legs, you may already have PAD. If that’s the case, don’t delay: make an appointment to see a vein specialist in your area right away.

Sources: BelMarraHealth.com