Category: COVID-19

For the Love of Your Veins, Please Don’t Go Barefoot

Hello to all our at-home readers out there. Are you using this time to switch to a more ‘casual’ (read sweats-only) wardrobe? Great, we’re totally here for it. But are you padding around your house barefoot all day? That, we actually can’t endorse. Because here’s the thing: going barefoot all day is really bad for your feet, as I’m sure you’ll hear podiatrists tell you. And, as it turns out, it’s not that great for your vein health either. Let’s take a closer look, so we can convince you to wear some shoes. At least a few hours every day…heck, maybe you’ll even go out and take a walk in them!

What’s Wrong with Going Barefoot at Home?

In typical times, we’re usually home for no more than a few hours every day. So, if you stick to bare feet in the house, it’s not a big deal. But these days? For the most part, you’re stuck in the house for so many, many hours. Which means, if you remain barefoot, you’re putting tons of pressure on your legs and feet. Especially if your home has stone or wood flooring.

As the days and weeks of quarantine add up, that pressure will likely give you plenty of foot pain. And it may also affect circulation to your lower legs and feet, resulting in more swelling (edema) or the emergence or worsening of varicose veins. Now, we can certainly help you with those issues if you’re already experiencing discomfort–we still provide in office care as well as Telemedicine appointments–but we’d rather stop the problem before it starts. In order to do that, this is what you’ve got to do.

The Fine Art of In-Home Shoe Wearing

We know that many readers prefer a shoe-free home. This is, after all, a great way to keep germs out of your house. Yet, as we just mentioned, going barefoot all day is a major problem for your feet and your veins. What then, do we propose? It’s actually very simple: pick a pair of supportive shoes that you only wear at home. If they never step outside, they’ll never pick up germs, so your house stays clean, and your feet and legs secure much-needed support.

And guess what? You don’t even have to wear outdoor shoes in your home. Many pairs of slippers are designed with sufficient arch support to stave off pressure, pain and swelling. And, in combination with any recommended compression socks, these will do a great job protecting your vein health. Now, we can’t promise they’ll break up that at-home boredom. but heck, that’s what reading blogs like ours is for, right? Stay safe out there, everyone! And be sure to reach out, without delay, if you’re in need of vein health support!

 

Sources: Footwear News

Here’s How to Protect Your Veins While Working From Home

If you’re new to the work-from-home game, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while, know this: your vein health is at risk. Unlike office settings, most of us aren’t set up to work in positions that protect our veins from the challenges of poor posture and all-day sitting.

In little bursts, that’s not a big deal. But as the weeks stretch out, and we spend more time working at home, these little problems can become major ones. In fact, slumping and sitting all day can cause blood to pool in your legs. This stretches out your vessels, impacts circulation and leads to varicose vein and other symptoms of vein disease, including DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in the deep veins of your legs.) And that is the last thing you need, especially during a global pandemic!

Want to avoid these complications? We can help! Just follow our top tips for safely working at home. Standing Desk

5 Stay Healthy Hacks for Working from Home

These tips will help prevent aches, pains and additional tolls on your vein health:

1. Optimize your computer screen height

Now that you’re working at home, it’s tempting to work in bed, or on your couch. But that can lead to poor posture and pressure on your veins! To protect yourself, set up your screen so that you can view it straight on, without having to look down, or twist your head left or right. Put your screen in front of you at a comfortable viewing height. Even if you’ve got to get a phone book to raise the height, it’s worth it. Why? Viewing your screen straight on will protect your posture and help you avoid back and neck pain.

2. Touch your chair backing

Your chair’s got a backing for a reason—to give you support. When you sit up too straight, or hunch forward over your desk, you’re putting pressure on your spine, either forcing it to work too hard or causing it to curve in unnatural shapes.

When you rest against your chair back, however, you support your spine’s natural curve. Plus, this position allows your chair to take on some of your body weight, which means there’s less pressure on your feet. And, with less pressure on your feet, your blood flows freely and you experience fewer vein health complications!

Finding it tough to sit back that far with comfort? No sweat! Simply extend the back of your chair by adding a cushion or towel to the chair. This will feel good on your back while ensuring you receive the benefits of proper seated posture.

3. Support your feet

When you’re sitting in that chair, your feet should be flat on the floor. And if they don’t reach? Well, you’ve got to help make sure they do, by placing books, blocks or even cushions beneath your feet.

Why is this step so crucial? Leaving your feet dangling is a major roadblock for your circulation. It puts excessive pressure on your thighs, interferes with your lower body blood flow, and raises your risk for blood clots—especially a potentially life-threatening DVT.

4. Minimize standing

Maybe you switched to a standing desk at your office. (If you did, check out our standing desk warnings here.) And maybe you want to try to do the same at home. But here’s the deal: while sitting all day is terrible for your health, standing all day isn’t much better.

Staying on your feet for hours at a time puts tons of pressure on your feet, raising your risk for varicose veins. It puts tons of pressure on your circulatory system, which could even impact the health of your arteries and heart.

So, while we applaud the desire to avoid all-day sitting and work more movement into your day, standing up isn’t the answer. Instead, follow our previous safe-sitting suggestions. And look to our final tip for ways to prevent all-day sitting disease.

5. Take Moving Breaks

Sitting or standing all day is a bad idea. When you’re at the office, it’s easy to move by building bathroom breaks and water cooler trips into your day. You can also opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or even walk over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an email.

But at home? It’s a lot tougher to keep moving. So, to avoid the pitfalls of sedentary living, you’ll have to work a little bit harder. Set reminders for yourself to get up and walk around every 30 minutes. Circle your living room, climb the stairs…it doesn’t really matter, as long as you take some steps and get your blood pumping out of those legs and back to the heart. This should help protect your vein health during these safe-at-home moments.

If, however, you’re already noticing signs of a brewing vein problem, like dark or bulging veins, leg cramps, or changes in skin color? Don’t wait to seek treatment! Our vein specialists can help you right now. We even offer Telemedicine vein health appointments. Because, here’s the deal: vein problems are progressive. Delay treatment today, and you’ll face a bigger problem next month, next week or even tomorrow!

Sources: Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety

Should I Treat my PAD Now?

 

If you’re showing signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), you may be scared. Chances are you’re experiencing symptoms such as leg cramps when you walk, changes in skin color, cold or numb feet, or even ulcers. Obviously, you want relief from the discomfort. But we understand that you may be scared to leave home (which is why we also offer Telemedicine appointments for many vein conditions.) PAD magnified

Still, you need to understand that, like COVID-19, PAD poses a very serious risk to your health. In fact, in a just-released study, having PAD was one of the strongest predictors for cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. In other words, it’s not something you ignore, or even delay addressing. Want to learn more? Just keep reading!

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease impacts your heart and blood vessels. It takes many forms, including atherosclerosis (narrowing of your arteries due to the build-up of ‘plaque.’) But, basically, it encompasses four main conditions: strokes, aortic disease, coronary heart disease, and peripheral arterial disease. Cardiovascular disease is very serious. It is still the leading cause of death in the United States—meaning it’s still more life-threatening than the Coronavirus.

Given the serious nature of heart-related conditions, you must stay on top of problems like PAD, even now. Because, according to our study, doing so could mean the difference between progressive heart disease or improved health.

In the new study from Penn State University, researchers explored the connection between your heart health and your blood pressure, diet, and physical activity levels. To reach its findings, the study followed over 74,000 participants for a few years, watching their lifestyle patterns and their cardiovascular health. Here’s what they found.

How Can I Prevent Heart Disease?

angioplasty for PAD

In order to really reduce your risk for cardiovascular problems, participants needed to follow the American Heart Associations 7 measures for good heart health. They involving maintaining healthy cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels. You must also exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, follow a healthy diet and avoid or quit smoking.

Interestingly, the study discovered that each of these seven measures is equally important. Doing just one is obviously better than nothing; but they have the highest heart-protecting power when they work together.

In other words, if you’re still deciding when to treat your PAD, the answer is: right now. You’re your atherosclerosis limits blood flow to your legs, that’s already a sign you’ve got cardiovascular problems. In other words, your car’s on the road to more serious complications. So, before you get stuck in the traffic jam leading to strokes or heart attacks, take a detour by seeking treatment from your vein specialist. We are here for you, even now, so that nothing keeps you from receiving timely PAD treatment.

Sources:

Journal of Cardiology, “Association of Trajectory of Cardiovascular Health Score and Incident Cardiovascular Disease.”

 

 

Stuck at Home? Here’s One Reason NOT to Marathon Video Games

When you’re following stay at home guidelines, you get bored. It’s not surprising. But, if you’re tempted to pass those hours playing endless amounts of video games, heed this warning: you’re putting your body at risk. To help you understand, the gaming experts at OnlineCasino.ca studied the long-term effects of video game play on our bodies. And they came up with a scary model of what constant gamers will look like 20 years from now. Let’s check it out and get scared straight…away from the gaming system!

How Constant Gaming Hurts Your (Vein) Health

According to the Canadian study, constant video gaming now could lead to varicose veins and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome down the road. And in order to illustrate the point, the study authors created Michael, who’s “A visual representation of the future gamer. “From sleep deprivation and dehydration, to lack of vitamin D, digital eye strain and ‘PlayStation thumb’ (also known as Onycholysis, this is a condition caused by constant tapping, which causes your nail to fall from its nail bed, and can also create blisters on your fingers) — these are just some of the physical implications of spending hours online, in a gaming chair, away from sunlight and physical activity.”

Think that’s scary? That’s not all ‘Michael’ faces. He’s also got an indent in skull, because of chronic  pressure from gaming headsets. His eyes are blood shot eyes and rimmed with dark circles, thanks to too much screen time. His back is hunched and shoulders are rounded, since he doesn’t move much and has bad posture. He’s obese, because he doesn’t get exercise. And he’s got swollen ankles and varicose veins.

Protect Your Veins from Gaming and Boredom

Of course, that last problem is most concerning to your Houston area vein specialists.  Variscose veins are a symptom of failing valves, which are often an early sign of developing vein disease. And want to know one of the risk factors for varicose veins? Staying in the same position for long periods of time, since this negatively impacts your valve function.

Thankfully, we don’t have to become Michael! Even when you’re practicing social distancing, you can get plenty of movement. Stay away from the screens and step outside for a walk in the fresh air. Take a few extra flights of stairs in your home. Or set up an indoor track in your apartment.

Whatever your choice, do us a favor. Step away from the screens. At least every hour or so. And if you notice signs of varicose veins, don’t wait to contact us. We now offer Telemedicine as well as in-office visits. So there’s no need to wait around your home, slowly turning into Michael. Just seek vein treatment right away so you can stay safe!

Sources: Onlinecasino.ca

If You’ve Got a Leg Ulcer, We’ve Got a Great (Remote) Treatment Plan for You!

Have you heard the news? In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, our Texas Endovascular Specialists are now happy to offer telemedicine appointments. What does this mean for you? When you call one of our Houston area offices for an appointment slot, you can specify your preference for a telemedicine appointment. But instead of coming in to see us, you’ll receive a time to see our vein specialists in our virtual office, hosted by the secure Doxy platform.  During your appointment, you’ll be able to show and discuss your problem. After that, you’ll receive a treatment protocol and any appropriate or necessary prescriptions!

Now, we can’t get rid of your varicose veins during a telemedicine appointment. But we can help you alleviate any associated pain or discomfort, while preventing your condition from progressing further and causing more serious complications. And that’s not all we can treat remotely. So, today, and for the few days, we’ll highlight conditions we can treat with telemedicine appointments. First up? Patient requiring follow-up care for venous leg ulcers.

 

Why Venous Leg Ulcers Respond Well to Remote

Telemedicine is a fairly new option here in the U.S. But remote visits are a well-established practice in Canada, which has allowed physicians there to study patient outcomes. And here’s some good news: many conditions, especially ulcers, do just as well with remote follow up care as they do with in person visits.

This is why we believe you can receive quality ulcer care from a distance: when you have an ulcer (an non-healing sore on your leg, typically the result of underlying vein problems) traveling may be difficult. But if you can receive remote follow-up care via telemedicine, travel is no longer an obstacle to your recovery. Which means you’ll stick to your scheduled visits and stay on track with our team of vein specialists. And, by sticking to a strict schedule of care, we can also prevent future complications by spotting problems when they first develop.

And there’s this: for some people, coming into a major metro area can be challenging. But with the rise of Telemedicine, we can now extend our high-quality vein care to patients living almost anywhere.  In our books, that’s a very important development. Especially since, given the current global health scare, many insurance companies will cover the cost of your telemedicine visit (check with your individual provider for details before booking your visit.) And now here’s what researchers discovered about ulcers and telemedicine

Scientific Findings on Remote Ulcer Care

In 2014, researchers in Norway compared two groups of patient outcomes for foot ulcers groups. Twenty patients received follow-up care via telemedicine; 120 came for in-person follow ups.

Now, get ready for the exciting findings: Patients in both groups showed similar healing times for their ulcers. And, in both groups, nearly identical numbers of patients were completely healed at the 12-week mark. In other words, if you need to receive remote follow up care for an ulcer, your quality of care won’t suffer in any way. So, go ahead and feel confident booking a telemedicine appointment for your ulcer care, or for other non-procedural vein health concerns.

 

Sources: BMC Health Service Research

 

 

Your Texas Endovascular Associates are now offering Telemedicine visits!

What does Telemedicine for vein care mean for you? Instead of coming to our office, we can offer you high-quality vein care from the comfort of your own home.

In order to provide you with a face-to-face consultation that protects your privacy, we’ll be conducting appointments through the Doxy Telemedicine platform.

Simply call our office at 713-575-3686, or go online, to request an appointment, and specify your preference for a remote consultation!

While we can’t perform procedures via Telemedicine, we can provide you in-depth, high quality care for many initial consultations and follow-up visits. And we can do so without you having to leave your home, or face concerns about social distancing.

Wondering which conditions we can treat via Telemedicine? Vein concerns including: Standing Desk

·         Leg pain

·         Swollen legs and ankles

·         Changes in skin color

·         Leg ulcers

Need more information? Check out our Telemedicine FAQ.

Remote Vein Care Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will I meet with my doctor?
A: Once you’ve scheduled an appointment, you’ll receive a link to your doctor’s personal ‘room’ in Doxy. Just click on the link approximately 10 minutes before your scheduled visit, and you’ll be ready for your consultation. There’s no app to download. You can check-in for your visit from any internet browser.

Q: How long will my visit last, and will I be able to ask my doctor questions?
A: Just like an in-person visit, you will see your doctor for as long as you need to address your immediate concerns. And you will be able to ask and get answers for any of your pertinent medical concerns.

Q: If I need a prescription, can this be covered during my Telemedicine appointment?
A: If, during your visit, your doctor determines that you will need prescription medications or compression garments, you will be able to receive this prescription during your remote visit.

Q: Will my insurance cover a Telemedicine visit?
A: Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, most insurance companies have agreed to cover the cost of Telemedicine visits, but you should confirm your individual coverage prior to your telemedicine appointment.

Q: How can I ensure my privacy during a Telemedicine appointment?
A: Thanks to our Doxy platform, the entire visit will be encrypted, protected and compliant with all HIPAA regulations. So you can feel comfortable and secure in sharing all your concerns with your physician during this Telemedicine appointment.

Even in the Pandemic, We Must Manage Your Leg Ulcer Care

During the current COVID-19 outbreak, we’re told to stay home, unless you need food, medicine or medical care. Of course, this means delaying procedures that are purely optional. But if you’ve developed a leg ulcer, your treatment and follow-up care isn’t optional. In fact, it’s crucial to your health—especially in terms of preventing amputations!

Under the circumstances, we’d like to share a suggested screening protocol for your vein specialist visit. Keep in mind, every office visit will be different. But if you’ve had or are currently dealing with a leg ulcer, consider this your assessment guidelines. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

What is a Leg Ulcer and Why Would I Get One?

Leg ulcers are just open sores that don’t heal in the typical time-frame. Often, you develop leg ulcers if you have chronic vein problems. Typically, they develop around your ankle, ranging in size from very small to several inches in diameter. Sometimes, these sores don’t hurt that much. But, for many patients, their venous ulcers become very painful and develop infections.

Why does chronic vein disease lead to ulcer development? CVD causes inflammation in your body, and that inflammation damages your capillaries and lymphatic ducts. This damage allows fluid to leak out of your capillaries, which can cause swelling in your lower legs. And, as fluid builds up in your leg’s soft tissue, sores may develop.

So, now you’ve got a sore. But why won’t it heal? Here’s the story: that capillary damage also means your lower legs have lower oxygen levels. And less oxygen inhibits your body’s ability to heal itself. That’s when your open sores or ulcers stick around. Unless, of course, you seek treatment.

What Your Vein Specialist Will Do During Your Ulcer Visit

When you come into our Houston area vein clinics, we’re going to address your ulcer. But we’ll also treat your underlying condition, so you don’t keep dealing with these open sores.

In order to treat your ulcer, we’ll take a two-pronged approach: wound care and compression therapy. We’ll care for your wound by keeping the sore clean to prevent infection. And we’ll dress it with sterile bandages to keep your wound clean.

We’ll also recommend appropriate compression therapy, in the form of prescription level compression stockings. These stockings will increase blood flow to your lower legs, which will help speed up your healing process.

Once your wound is on the path to healing, we can address your underlying vein condition. To do so, we’ll close up the vein that isn’t working properly. Once closed off, blood will flow through the veins that are working appropriately, helping return optimal oxygen levels to your lower legs, and preventing further complications.

We know these are scary times, but we don’t want you to compromise your vein or limb health out of fear. Please know that we are taking every precaution in our office to protect you and our team members during this challenging time. Together, we will make it through this pandemic. And we will do it without losing limbs or sacrificing crucial vein health care.

Sources: Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Texas Endovascular Associates

Right Now, We Can Still Diagnose Your Vein Disease!

Our health system is inundated with COVID-19 patients, so you want to avoid hospitals if possible. As such, it’s important to stick with preventative health care. Being proactive about your vein health can help you avoid a medical emergency at this trying time.

So, if your legs are tired, heavy or cramping, your may be 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, leaking 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 vein disease?

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.

 

Here’s the Deal on PAD, Workouts and Coronavirus

If you have Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) you may experience painful leg cramps. That’s because, with PAD, your atherosclerosis (hardened or narrowed arteries) limits blood flow to your legs. And this lack of blood flow leads to leg pain, especially when you walk or exercise.

Surprisingly, even though it hurts to move, increasing your movement can help manage and reduce your PAD pain. That’s why physical activity is so important for anyone living with this condition. And it’s why many of you likely had a regular gym routine…until, that is, we started facing the new reality of COVID-19 (a.k.a the novel coronavirus.)

Social Distancing, Gym Closures and PAD

Now that our country is in the grips of this coronavirus outbreak, many gyms have closed. And even if your gym is still open, you might prefer to stay home in an effort to avoid community spread. That makes a lot of sense, especially if you have compromised health because of underlying conditions like PAD. But, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your exercise routine. It just needs to change a little.

In fact, there’s great reasons to keep exercising, even in these scary times. Research suggests that getting mild to moderate exercise, every day, can boost your immune system and help control your PAD symptoms. Just remember, for both this outbreak and your PAD, “moderate” is the key. Anything too intense could leave you hurting, and reduce your immune response.

Smart Exercises for Trying Times

Since walking is one of the best workout options for people with PAD, why not simply take your workouts outside? Pick a quiet outdoor spot and stroll away. Bonus: exercising outdoors gets you in nature, which can help calm anxiety—something many of us are grappling with right now.

Go for as long as you can, even working up to a slow jog if you’ve discussed this with your vein specialist. Just keep your distance from any other outdoor workout warriors—six feet is the recommended length. This way, we can work together to prevent the spread of disease, without sacrificing your personal fitness.

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