Category: Health Lifestyle

The Best Exercises for Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins Exercise

Varicose veins are veins that become enlarged or stretched out due to blood that pools in the legs. In addition to making your veins bulge, they can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tired, Achy Legs
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Nighttime Leg Cramps
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Ulcers or Sores

Since varicose veins are primarily caused by inactivity in the legs over a long period of time, getting out there and doing some exercises can help prevent and alleviate the symptoms associated with varicose veins.

How Does Exercise Help Prevent Varicose Veins?

While there’s no way to completely prevent varicose veins, regular exercise can help reduce the chances that you’ll get them. Simply changing your sitting or standing position regularly can improve your blood circulation, which helps reduce the amount of blood swelling the veins in your legs.

Exercise can increase your body’s ability to pump blood up the leg back toward the heart. It also helps keep your weight down, which further decreases your chances of getting varicose veins. Walking is a good choice, as are low-impact activities, such as swimming and biking.

What Exercises Prevent Varicose Veins?

If you already have varicose veins, exercise can keep them from getting worse and also help alleviate pain and discomfort. Generally, low-impact exercises are best, and include the following:

Walking or Running biking exercise for varicose veins

Walking just 30 minutes a day for five days a week can yield good benefits. If you run, try to find a grassy surface or synthetic track to minimize the stress on your joints.

Leg Lifts

Sit or lie on your back while sticking your feet straight out. Lift one leg at a time up, holding it in the air. Slowly lower it down and repeat with the other leg.

Bicycling or Bicycle Legs

Riding a bike or stationary bike is also helpful. If you don’t have access to any kind of bike, you can try this bicycle legs exercise. While lying on your back, put your legs in the air, bending them at the knee. Pedal them slowly as if you are bicycling. Try both legs at once, or alternate one at a time.

Lunges

Stand with your legs apart. Step forward slowly, bending your knee and making sure to keep your knee directly above your ankle. Hold it, then slowly straighten your leg and step back to your original position. Repeat with the other leg. While standing with your legs straight, rise up on your tiptoes and then lower back down. Repeat.

Rocking Your Feet

While you’re sitting or standing, rock your feet back and forth from heel to toe. This can be done at any time and is also helpful if health conditions prevent you from trying other forms of exercise.

Other Vein Health Exercises to Consider

When you suffer from chronic vein disease, you are vulnerable to venous leg ulcers: hard-to-heal sores that develop on your legs due to a combination of damaged capillaries and lymphatic ducts, and lack of oxygen in your lower legs. Once they develop, ulcers are hard to heal because, once again, of the shortage of oxygen reaching your lower limbs.

Fortunately, managing your vein disease with doctor-approved exercise can help protect you from developing ulcers. And, if ulcers have already formed, new evidence suggests that certain exercises may speed up your healing process!

Calf Raises and Venous Leg Ulcers calf raise exercise for ulcers

According to Dr. Laura Bolton, a member of the Wounds advisory board, evidence suggests that structured exercise training (SET) can help speed up the healing process for both venous leg wounds and diabetic foot ulcers. Chief among those exercises included in the SET program? Calf raises, thanks to their ability to get the heart pumping and improve circulation to the lower extremities. var

In her study, 77% of patients with venous leg ulcers had completely healed after a 12-week progressive exercise program; only 53% of non-exercisers enjoyed the same result. When it came to diabetic foot wounds, individuals who exercised for just 30 of the 96-day trial window saw a dramatic result in the size of their ulcers.

In revealing her findings, Bolton said: “This suggests that the more patients engage in calf muscle exercise, the more and earlier they improve their chronic VLU or DFU healing…[This could lead to saving] limbs and lives of patients. ”

Calf-Raise Routine for Improved Circulation

While no vein disease patient should engage in a new exercise routine without a doctor’s supervision, it is a good idea to discuss your physical activity once you’ve been diagnosed with vein health issues. Ask your doctor if it is safe to try this calf-raise routine, and you may just enjoy preventative or healing health benefits!

Standing Calf Raises

Position yourself on a staircase, with your hands resting against a wall or a sturdy object for balance and your heels hanging off the back edge of the stair. Raise your heels a few inches above the edge of the step so that you’re on your tiptoes. Hold the position for a moment, and then lower your heels below the platform, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles. That’s one rep; aim for three sets of 10-15 reps each. Please note that you may have to build up to that level of performance.

Seek Varicose Vein Treatment

Exercise can be helpful when dealing with varicose veins, but you may also need treatment to achieve better results. Texas Endovascular offers minimally invasive, in-office procedures that don’t require general anesthesia or sedation. Several different treatment options are available for varicose veins, and each requires little or no recovery time. In fact, most patients are able to return to work the same day. We’ll choose the procedure that will yield the best results in your particular case, improving your comfort level as well as appearance.

Contact Texas Endovascular at (713) 575-3686 today for more information about the best exercises and treatments for varicose veins and to schedule an appointment!

 

Sources: Azura Vascular Care

Should I Take Fish Oil Supplements?

Are you taking fish oil? It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acid, and many doctors suggest taking approximately 1 gram per day. We often talk about fatty acids like miracle supplements, improving your heart health among other benefits. But, as it turns out, fish oil might not be so beneficial. This is what we know right now.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil Recommendations

Currently, physicians suggest that omega-3 supplements help prevent heart disease. Specifically, they should decrease the risk strokes or coronary heart disease.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Current studies show that fish oil may not be so effective. That’s why, today, we’ll look closely at all the evidence. First, however, let’s define a few terms.

  • Coronary artery disease narrows your arteries with built up plaque.
  • Symptoms of coronary heart disease include chest discomfort, tightness or pain. You may also experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea or even sudden death.
  • Strokes occur when a blood vessel running to your brain is blocked. Symptoms can include weakness, and drooping of one side of your face or mouth. Your speech may slur, and you can lose strength and co-ordination.

We do know that inflammation plays a role in heart disease. What isn’t so clear? Whether fish oil can truly make a difference in your risk.

Does Taking Fish Oil Help Prevent Heart Attacks?

To give a balanced answer to this question, we had to dig deep. So we looked at 10 studies of almost 78,000 high-risk patients who took omega-3 supplements for about 4 years. The purpose? To see if Omega-3 supplements helped decrease their risk of both fatal and non-fatal heart attacks. We also explored risk for other catastrophic events such as strokes, and the need for heart surgery related to heart disease.

The results of the ten studies, unfortunately, weren’t great. The patients showed no significant reduction in fatal or nonfatal heart attacks. Or any other heart disease related events, for that matter. Even further, after looking at the included patients with diabetes and high cholesterol; those taking cholesterol lower medication (statin); and people who already had heart disease; fish oil didn’t improve their health at all.

Now, why are we telling you all this? We want to get to the overall take-home point: based on the best current data, there is no evidence that taking fish oil supplements at the currently recommended dose (1 g/d) will decrease your risk of heart attack, death from a heart attack, or other significant events caused by heart disease.

Sadly, this study isn’t our only evidence for that conclusion. The US Agency for Healthcare Research, and Quality reported similar results in 2016: people taking omega-3 supplements showed no signs of reduced heart health risks.

The Future of Fish Oil Supplements

Still, you don’t need to toss out your fish oil supplements just yet. We need further studies to determine whether high doses of fish oil, combinations of fish oil and other treatments such as diet and lifestyle interventions, or statin use can decrease the risk of heart disease. Current studies looking at whether 3-4 grams of fish oil per day may provide benefit are in progress.

In the meantime, however, protecting your vein health and improving your circulation can minimize your risk for certain circulatory conditions, including Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD.) To learn more about your current health situation, and to help lower your risk for heart disease, come in for a diagnostic vein scan. We can identify your current risk factors and formulate a treatment protocol that will lower your risk for dangerous complications.

Sources: National Library of Medicine, JAMA Cardiology

What are Minimally Invasive Vein Treatments?

The doctors in our practice offer minimally invasive vein treatments. But, so often, we get asked about our medical specialty: what is an interventional radiologist? At the most basic level, it means we treat medical conditions such as spider veins  and peripheral arterial disease with minimally invasive techniques.

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to perform more invasive procedures. After all, the doctors at our Houston area vein clinics attended four years of medical school. Next, they completed four-year diagnostic radiology residencies and Interventional Radiology fellowships.

So, what’s the difference between our specialty and those of other doctors? Our goal as interventional radiologists is to offer less expensive, less invasive alternatives to surgery. And our procedures come with shorter recovery periods, less pain and lower risks of complications.

But what does an interventional radiology procedure look like? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a minimally invasive vein treatment?

During an IR procedure, your interventional radiologist is guided by an image, such as that from an ultrasound. This gives us a live picture of less accessible parts of your body. Making just a small incision, we guide that image to  the remote location in your body using a catheter. And that’s why your treatments don’t require major surgical incisions!

Interventional radiology procedures include:

  • Varicose vein ablation: this out-patient procedure sends heat to malfunctioning veins. The high temperature permanently closes up the problem vein, eliminating its appearance on your skin and preventing vein disease progression.
  • Uterine fibroid embolization, a non-surgical procedure that effectively kills these tumors without an overnight hospital stay!
  • Sclerotherapy: a great option for varicose veins that don’t look great, but aren’t showing signs that you’ve got serious vein disease. Essentially, this is a great cosmetic option.
  • Phlembectomy … this is a surgical procedure, but it’s still minimally invasive. Basically, when your bulging veins are located right under your skin, we can use local anesthetic, then make several tiny incisions in your leg. Through those incisions, we remove your bulging vein and, because the slits were so small, you won’t need stitches and any scarring will be minimal. Plus, six months after your procedure, any marks should disappear entirely!

There are so many more ways we can address your vein health challenges without invasive surgery.  But we want you to understand why that’s such a big deal for your overall health. So please keep reading to find out why you should explore minimally invasive vein treatments.

Interventional Radiology vs. Surgery: What’s the Benefit?

As we mentioned, IR procedures hurt less than surgeries. They are less likely to leave a scar and, thanks to image guidance, are often more precise than surgical procedures.

Many times, they can be performed with no overnight hospital stays. And no hospital stay means less out-of-pocket expenses for most patients!

So, does less pain, less cost, less risk and more accuracy sounds like what you’re looking for in a vein treatment? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Simply schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained Interventional Radiologists to learn if you are a good candidate for our treatment protocols.

Sources: Radiology Info

Try This Vein Health Diet Now

Do you need to work on your vein health diet? We know that stress eating is a real problem, especially in this pandemic-driven summer, but it’s not too late to star a diet that will protect your veins–and the rest of you!

And here’s the best part: it’s not so hard. In fact, with just a few careful food decisions, you can keep your veins performing optimally as we ride out the rest of this crazy summer! First step: let’s limit those salty snack.

Sodium Intake in your Vein Health Dietsodium hurts vein health

Salty foods make your body hold onto fluid. Excess fluid puts pressure on your veins. By limiting your sodium intake, you can help your body flush out excess fluids and give your veins a bit of a break.

Some of the worst offenders to avoid? Steer clear of canned foods, deli meats, bacon, packaged meats like carne asada, pizza, soy sauce, olives, pickles, condiments, and other highly processed foods.

Fried Food

Fried treats like our favorite bucket of KFC are delicious, but also a problem. Not only are they high in sodium (see above) they also have high fat contents. Combine that with little to no fiber content, and those french fries can trigger fatty build-ups in your arteries. This may pave the way for Peripheral Arterial Disease. But, more immediately, they can also trigger constipation. Now, this may not seem like a vein heath problem, but here’s the deal: when you’re constipated, you have to strain in the bathroom. And that puts a strain on the veins in your rectum, as well as others in your lower body.  So limit fried treats to keep your blood (and everything else) flowing smoothly through your body. And stay away from dairy, red meat and starchy foods or white breads. These, too can all be constipating, contributing to strain-related varicose veins. 

Skip the Booze

We’ve already talked about the danger of retaining water. Which is why you should avoid sodium. But now let’s talk about flushing water out of your body too quickly. When you eat or drink something with diuretic properties (like alcohol) it makes you pee more often. And this can contribute to dehydration, which can impact blood flow, forcing your body to work harder at circulation. This, in turn, ups the pressure on your veins, potentially causing or worsening existing varicose veins. So, now that you now some foods to avoid, let’s get done with the bad news and focus on the good: food that help support your vein health!

Eat the Rainbow and Drink Up that Water

Colorful fruits like these berries can help support vein health at the holidays and all year round!

Whatever else you put in your body this holiday season, work to sneak in those colorful fruits and veggies–the brighter, the better! Not only do they contain plenty of antioxidants that will help stimulate blood flow, they also have lots of fiber, which will help you feel fuller, eat less and avoid weight gain (another factor that can contribute to vein health issues.)

Just as sodium makes your body hold on to fluid, drinking lots of water will help flush liquids out of your system. And, once again, it will make you feel more full, which means you’ll eat less of what’s going to harm your health.

Sources: San Diego Vein Institute

 

5 Ways to Prevent Spider Veins

So many things contribute to your risk of developing spider veins: your age, your family history and your weight can all play a role. So, while it may not be possible to prevent spider veins from ever forming, there are certainly things you can do to delay the process, or to prevent existing veins from worsening. leg exercise

Now, with that being said, here are our top hacks for preventing the type of vein damage which can lead to spider veins on your legs.

Preventing Vein Damage and Varicose Veins

As we mentioned, sometimes vein disease will develop no matter what you do. It’s simply part of your genetic code. And, if you have a family history of vein disease, you should certainly come in for a diagnostic vein scan to assess your risk. But, other times, you can help support vein damage and prevent or delay the appearance of those spider veins.

  1. Protect your skin from the sun

    We all know that sunscreen can protect you from burns, sun spots and wrinkles. But did you know that it’s also crucial for your vein health? As it turns out, sun damage, especially on your legs, may contribute to spider vein development. So lather up to say goodbye to those unsightly, bulging leg veins.

  2. Don’t stand or sit for extended periods

    Spending a long time in any one position—whether it’s up or down—can make your spider veins worse. Why? When you stop moving, blood can start to pool in the bottom of your legs. If your job requires you to sit a lot, try taking frequent walking breaks or do some stationary leg exercises under your desk. If you have to stand up on the job, sneak in sitting breaks throughout the day, ideally elevating your feet during that downtime.

  3. Wear compression socks or hose

    Compressions stockings can help your valves stay in the proper position, improving your circulation and reducing discomfort. We offer several different sizes and styles of compression socks in our Houston vein clinic, so you can pick the pair that suits your mood.

  4. Make overall health your priority

    By eating a balanced diet, avoiding excessive alcohol and staying well hydrated, you’re already on the right path towards protecting your vein health. And don’t feel like you have t do everything all at once: even a small change, like adding more fruits and veggies to your diet, can give you an extra boost of fiber and potassium—both of which help support healthy veins!

  5. Get sweaty on the regular

    Exercising is crucial in preventing the progression of varicose veins because it helps protect and improve your circulation. Don’t worry—you don’t need to start training for a marathon to enjoy the benefits of exercise. If you’re new to fitness, start with walking: it gets you active without putting too much pressure on your body. Bonus: it costs you nothing, you don’t need any equipment, and you can make it into a social opportunity! If walking isn’t your speed, give yoga a chance. Not only will it help your circulation, it can also tone and strengthen the leg muscles that support your most vulnerable veins!

Varicose veins can be unsightly and painful, so if you have one or more risk factors, taking preventative steps like these are always a good idea. It’s also smart to get regular vein health check-ups: the sooner you catch a potential problem, the sooner you can begin treatment and avoid further complications!

Sources: verywellhealth.com, viavascular.com, American Academy of Dermatology

The Power of Everyday Stretching and PAD

There’s a brand new way to address PAD: stretching! Remember when you thought cardiovascular exercise like walking was the only way to help your Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)? Well, a new study from the University of Milan is turning that idea on its head. Researchers revealed that 12 weeks of passive stretching can also improve your blood flow and support your vascular health. This could drastically alter exercise recommendations for PAD patients.

PAD is a painful condition triggered by narrow, hardened arteries. When you feel PAD pain in your legs, it’s because reduced blood flow to your legs means they don’t receive enough oxygen to support your movement.

Typically, vein specialists recommend a walking program to help boost blood flow to your legs. Even though the walking will hurt at first, over time, most PAD patients see symptom improvement. Especially when they walk in combination with other treatment protocols.

For some, however, that initial pain is overwhelming. Which is why this new Italian research is very ing exciting.

Dynamic, Active and Passive Stretching  Passive stretching can improve blood flow and PAD

Before turning to the research findings, a word on stretching. There are three types: dynamic stretching, which involves loosening your body while you’re on the move. Think gentle walking lunges, arm twists and leg swings. Dynamic stretching is a great warm up for active workouts like jogs and runs.

Next comes active stretching, where you get into a stretched position, such as lifting your leg in the air in front of you. And then you hold that position without the assistance of your hands, or anything else. Associated with workouts like yoga flows, these stretches increase your flexibility and build muscle. But they’re not the type of stretch we’re talking about today.

The stretching format included in our study is passive stretching. It involves assuming a stretch position and holding your body in that pose with the help of your hands or another external force, like a yoga strap. Now, apparently, we know that passive stretching can improve your blood flow. Let’s take a closer look.

Blood Flow, Stretching and PAD Study

To start, researchers gathered 39 healthy men and women, splitting then them into two groups. One group engaged in leg stretches five times a week for 12 weeks. The second group didn’t stretch.

At the end of the study period, the stretching group showed evidence improved vascular health. heart attack and stroke. The study authors wrote: “Blood pressure was decreased, central and peripheral arterial stiffness was reduced, and vascular function was increased after 12 weeks of passive stretching training.”

In other words, regular passive stretching minimized factors that contribute to PAD. All of which suggests that, in addition to walking and other forms of cardio, you may want to discuss a stretching program with your vein specialist.

Now, it’s important to note that stretching doesn’t produce the same level of blood flow improvement as cardiovascular exercise. But for those who can’t walk, or who are able to combine stretching and walking programs, the findings show a lot of promise.

Preventing and Treating PAD

As we noted earlier, stiff, hard arteries contribute to PAD symptoms. So, keeping your arteries healthy can help prevent this condition. But how can you protect your arterial health?

You need to maintain their flexibility, since they must expand and contract in order to allow for proper blood flow. And, to keep your arteries flexible, you should maintain a healthy weight, engage in cardio exercise and address high blood pressure if that’s a personal concern.

If, however, you’ve already developed plaque and atherosclerosis, it’s time to explore PAD treatment. At our Houston area arterial care clinics, we treat PAD with minimally invasive procedures such as Angioplasty, Stenting, and Atherectomy. In most cases, we’re able to resolve your symptoms without large incisions or open surgery, so we’re typically able to send you home the same day as your procedure.

But what does that procedure look like? One of our expert interventional radiologists inserts a small IV and wire through your groin. Once we access your blood vessel, we use imaging to guide the wire into position past your affected artery. From here, we’ll determine the best treatment option based on your disease progression. We’ll either use a balloon to widen your vessel (angioplasty) or carefully place a stent that will hold the vessel open permanently to increase blood flow.

If you have PAD symptoms such as pain when you walk, numb or cold feet, reduced leg hair or toenail growth, or wounds that just won’t heal, it’s time to come in for a visit. We’ll get you scheduled for an Ankle-Brachial Index test that will determine the extent of your PAD progression.

 

Sources: MIT.edu, The Journal of Physiology

Is it Safe to Fly With Vein Disease

Are you worried about flying with varicose veins? Right now, we know everyone is worried about the safety of air travel. Plane travel can take a toll on anyone’s health (and patience) but, for people with vein disease or compromised vascular systems, it can be particularly dangerous. This is especially true if severe varicose veins have left you with edema (swelling in your legs.) Fortunately, your vein health issues don’t have to keep you grounded, although this is officially the summer of the road trip. But, if you choose to fly, or even if you’re stuck sitting for a long drive, follow these three tips for long travel with vein disease: plane exercises

1. Rock your compression socks while flying with varicose veins

Anyone with a history of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), stroke, cancer, or heart disease; anyone who’s recently had pelvic or leg surgery; or anyone who is pregnant or obese is particularly at risk of having a health problem on a flight–especially if the travel time is eight hours or longer. Anyone in this higher risk category should talk to a doctor before flying. Most likely, your doctor will emphasize the importance of getting up regularly during your flight. You will also likely be fitted for compression socks, which come in a variety of styles and sizes.They also offer a range of compression levels, so be sure to ask your vein specialist how much force is necessary to keep you safe. Compression socks are important for air travel because they improve your circulation while reducing the risk of swelling and blood clots!

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

It’s important for all travelers to up their liquid intake on flights, but it’s crucial for people with vein problems. People tend to dehydrate on planes, and dehydration can actually make your body retain its remaining fluids. Of course, fluid retention and swelling go hand in hand, and swelling can cause problems with blood clots. To avoid this domino effect, start drinking as soon as you board the plane, and keep going throughout the flight. Bonus? You’ll probably have to use the restroom more often, which will help ensure your continued movement while in the air! ‘

3. Sneak in a Mid-Flight Workout or Take a Road Side Break

There are many times during a flight where getting up and walking around is simply not an option. But we know that movement is a crucial part of preventing blood clots. So what’s an air traveler to do? Sneak in a workout–without ever leaving your seat! Try this simple sequence whenever you remember, and your veins will likely stay in good shape throughout the flight: Extend both your legs, moving both feet in a circular motion. Next, bring one knee at a time up to your chest, holding the position for a minimum of 15 seconds. Finally, return both feet to the floor and point them upward. Lift both your heels as high as you can, and hold for as long as is comfortably possible.

Sources: National Blood Clot Alliance

 

The Link Between Infertility and Varicose Veins

Struggling with male infertility? Read this! Did you know that varicose veins are not just a problem that appears in your legs? As it turns out, varicose veins can develop in other sensitive areas of the body. And for men, one especially vulnerable area is in the testicles.

Yes, you read that correctly: about one in seven men has varicoceles, varicose veins in the testicles. It’s a condition where valves in the veins leading into the testicles fail, allowing blood to back up, just as it does with varicose leg veins. Though it’s a mostly harmless condition,  varicoceles can be linked to male infertility. And, this condition can also cause aching when you run, because exercise increases your blood flow, while gravity adds extra pressure to your sensitive parts.

How do Varicoceles Affect Fertility? varicocele and male infertility consult

As we mentioned, a varicocele is an enlargement of your scrotal veins  (that’s the loose pouch of skin that holds your testicles). When working properly, your veins operate with one-way valves that help blood to flow out of your testicles and scrotum and back up to your heart. But, when those valves aren’t doing their job, blood pools in your veins, making them stretch and bulge. This is true whether it happens in your legs veins or in more private parts of your body.

Now, remember: enlarged veins aren’t just a cosmetic problem. As blood build up in your veins, internal pressure and temperature can also increase. And that’s where your fertility could be threatened: extra pressure and heat in this sensitive part of your body could damage your testicles.

Staying Active With Varicose Veins

Exercise is always a good idea for improving blood flow and fighting vein disease. In order to keep exercise from causing or worsening varicoceles, male runners need to be very careful when selecting underwear for their runs. First and foremost, boxers are a no-go for male runners: you need underwear that has some built in support. For this purpose, a close-fitting pair of boxer briefs may be your best bet.

Another way to ensure sufficient support? Try the layered approach. Wear two pairs of underwear beneath your running shorts or pants, to create a more protective hold while you pound the pavement. You may also want to consider sport-specific underwear, since specially designed shorts will eliminate other potential irritants like sweat or painful seaming.

Of course, too much of a good thing can be a problem too. Choose underwear that’s too tight, and you run the risk of cutting off testicular blood flow, which can also be problematic. You want to shoot for the Goldilocks compromise in this type of situation: test out several styles of shorts, and opt for the one that’s not too loose and not too tight. Chances are, the one that’s “just right” will also be the pair that best protects you from testicular varicose veins!

Treating Male Varicose Veins

Fortunately, you can treat varicocele and protect your fertility. As interventional radiologists, we treat these varicose veins using a minimally invasive varicocele embolization. First, we make tiny incision in your groin. Next, we’ll insert a thin catheter through your vein, directing it toward the varicoceles. We may use X-ray dye to better see your veins, so we can target treatment. Finally, once we’ve pinpointed your varicoceles, we’ll inject tiny coils into the catheter, stopping blood flow to varicoceles and alleviating pressure to the area.

Of course, we understand that treating sensitive areas can be scary. But here’s the best news: during our minimally invasive treatment process, you be awake, but you won’t be in pain. Once the procedure is complete, we’ll carefully observe your recovery process for several hours. Then, in most cases, we can send you home on the same day as your treatment!

Have you noticed bulging veins in your scrotum? Are you and your partner struggling to conceive? Come in for a diagnostic vein exam. We can help determine if varicocele are contributing to your male infertility.

Sources: Society of Interventional Radiology

Move It Monday: Benefits of Walking Workouts

Are you ready to embrace the benefits of walking? We know that maintaining a regular (physician approved) exercise program can help you slow the progression of vein disease, while also lowering your risk of experiencing associated complications, but we also know that it can be tough to get started.

Frequent exercise, like taking walks, can help manage the pain of PAD

To help you get motivated, our Texas Endovascular Team regularly shares Move it Monday fitness inspiration! If you like it what you see, incorporate the workout in to your routine! Not your jam? Come back another time for more motivation!

On the schedule this week: A Beginner’s Walking Schedule, courtesy of VeryWellFit.com: Before beginning, check your posture to make sure your chin is up, you’re standing straight, and you’re not leaning forward or backward while you move. Walk at an easy pace for a few minutes before speeding up. Wear supportive shoes and comfy clothing. You can do your walking outdoors, indoors, or on a treadmill.

The Right Way to Begin a Walking Workout Program

In order to enjoy some of the benefits of walking, you actually have to get your body moving! Here’s a four-week plan for moving more and helping your body enjoy the results.

Week 1: Start with a daily 15-minute walk at an easy pace. Walk five days the first week. You want to build a habit, so consistency is important. Spread out your rest days, such as making day 3 a rest day and day 6 a rest day.

Weekly total goal: 60 to 75 minutes.

Week 2: Add five minutes a day so you are walking for 20 minutes, five days a week. Or, you may wish to extend yourself more on some days, followed by a rest day.

Weekly total goal: 75 to 100 minutes.

Week 3: Add five minutes a day so you are walking for 25 minutes, five days a week.

Weekly total goal: 100 to 125 minutes.

Week 4: Add five minutes a day to walk for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Weekly total goal: 125 to 150 minutes.

Snags: If you find any week to be difficult, repeat that week rather than adding more time. Do this until you are able to progress comfortably.

Benefits of Walking: Improve Your PAD Symptoms

Low impact workouts are a great choice for any one looking to increase your activity level. But, as vein specialists, we especially recommend walking to our PAD patients. That’s because PAD pain often pops up when you walk, making this simple-yet-crucial task very difficult.

Why is walking so hard when you have PAD? It’s because of atherosclerosis, which is when plaque builds up in your leg arteries. This plaque blocks oxygen and nutrients from getting to your legs when they fire up to get you moving. So, when you have PAD and you start moving, you may experience the pain of that oxygen deprivation.

But, even though PAD makes walking hurt, that very movement can help you manage PAD symptoms. The more you walk, the better your muscles learn to adapt to their limited blood supply. And, as your muscles adapt, you’ll be able to walk for longer periods before that PAD pain pops up and slows you down. angioplasty for PAD

That’s why walking programs like the one we just introduced can be helpful for PAD patients, helping improve , your muscle strength as well as your ability to balance and complete your daily tasks. Also, as your calf muscles get stronger, your circulation may improve. And, if you dramatically improve your lifestyle habits as you embrace more movement, you may stop PAD progression as you research more permanent treatment options. (See the image at right for one PAD treatment option.)

Now, your walking results won’t be instant: you may need to stick to the program for as long as three months before seeing symptom improvements. Now, as always, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise programs. If you have any questions about your ability to exercise with an endovascular condition, come in to our offices for a consultation with Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee.its of

 

Sources: www.verywellfit.com, Cardiosmart.org

Here’s How Cocoa and Vitamin K Help PAD

You guys, guess what? Researchers have discovered that drinking hot cocoa could help improve your gait if you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD.) And that’s not all: science also suggests that Vitamin K1 (not K2) can lower your risk for developing PAD, or other types of coronary disease. Now, PAD is a serious condition that sets in when athelosclerosis (hardened arteries) limit blood flow to your lower limbs. And one of the worst PAD symptoms is sudden pain with walking, so we’re excited about preventing PAD, but we’re also excited about this tasty discovery regarding symptom relief! Let’s take a closer look.

Flavanols: Cocoa’s Secret Super Powerchoco

First things first: let’s clear up our cocoa discussion. Cocoa is rich in flavonols, which is why it can help PAD patients. But not all cocoa is created equally. As study author Mary McGrae McDermott explains, “A large amount of chocolate available without a prescription is alkalized, which improves taste [but destroys] the beneficial cocoa flavanols that have therapeutic effects.”

What does that mean? You need powder with more than 85% cocoa content to get health benefits. Simply grabbing some Nesquick at the super market just won’t cut it—even though your cocoa will probably taste pretty great.

Still, the right kind of cocoa has lots of healing properties. According to the study, cocoa flavanols, including epicatechin, “have therapeutic properties that can improve performance when walking in people with PAD.” More specifically, cocoa can help target therapy directly to your legs (limb perfusion) and improve cell and muscle regeneration in your legs. Finally, McDermott notes, previous studies have also discovered that blood flow and muscle health improve with cocoa consumption.

Now we know why cocoa is such a valuable ingredient, let’s take a closer look at how you can leverage cocoa to improve your PAD symptoms.

How Cocoa Helps Fight PAD

The purpose of this study was to see if cocoa could help PAD patients walk longer distances before experiencing leg pain. And, happily, it did! To reach their findings, McDermott’s team studied 44 patients aged 60 and older. Every day, participants drank either cocoa or a placebo drink. By the end of the study period, cocoa drinkers found it much easier to walk for six minutes, as compared to their placebo-drinking counterparts. People who drank three cups a day saw the best results.

In presenting her findings, McDermott explained, “Our study showed better health in the blood flow to the legs, improvements in the 6-minute walking distance and also improved the health of the calf skeletal muscle. Since people with PAD have difficulty walking due to blood flow problems, we think that this particular therapy can be particularly beneficial.”

While these findings are certainly exciting—for our taste buds and our symptom management—don’t start planning to ditch your meds. As mentioned, you’d have to have the exact cocoa makeup included in the study. Plus, while cocoa can help with symptom relief, it’s unlikely to clear up your underlying disease trigger. So, by all means, talk to your doctor about including cocoa in your diet. But don’t give up on any of your other PAD medications. And be sure to explore PAD treatment options with your Houston area vein specialists—real relief could be available, and sooner than you think.

Sources: Journal of Circulation Research, Nutraingredients.com, British Medical Journal

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