Category: News

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is an arterial condition in which a fatty substance called plaque (or atheroma) builds up in the walls of your arteries. When that happens, your arteries ‘harden,’ making it harder for blood to flow from your heart to other parts of your body.

At first, you probably won’t notice any symptoms of atherosclerosis. But as the plaque keeps building, you can develop serious complications. That’s why prevention and early diagnosis are critical for your cardiovascular health.

Atherosclerosis: Complications blood flow before atherosclerosis

Without treatment, hardened arteries can lead to:

  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Blockages mean your leg muscles aren’t getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Initial symptoms include leg cramps, especially when you walk or exercise.
  • Angina. Chest pain caused by the insufficient blood supply to your heart muscle.
  • Coronary heart disease.
  • Heart attack or stroke.

Symptom of Atherosclerosis

Initially, you won’t notice any symptoms. But over time, you may develop:

  • Leg cramps
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue or confusion, due to lack of blood flow
  • Muscle weakness or difficulty breathing
  • Limb pain at the site of a blocked artery

Risk Factors

Anyone can develop this condition. But certain factors increase your risk for arterial disease.  If you have a family history of heart disease, or you carry extra weight, you’re more likely to develop atherosclerosis. Having diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, or even drinking too much alcohol can also raise your risk.

Sadly, even your race can be a risk factor, since research suggests that African and Caribbean Americans, as well as people of South Asian descent, are at higher risk for diseases that contribute to atherosclerosis risk. Finally, aging, skipping exercise, following an unhealthy diet and smoking or using tobacco can all increase your risk as well.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Along with your medical history, you may need blood tests, ultrasounds, CT scans, angiograms and/or an ECG to diagnose plaque in your arteries. If you have atherosclerosis, treatments will focus on slowing progression and minimizing your symptoms. Unfortunately, once you have plaque in your arteries, we can’t get rid of it. But we can keep new plaque from forming, or keep your existing plaque from blocking your blood flow.

To do that, we can make diet and lifestyle changes. Procedures like angioplasty, stenting or atherectomy can help restore blood flow. A stent is a small device that we insert into your narrowed artery, helping improve your blood flow. Usually, stents are made of plastic or metal, and they can be made in many shapes and sizes to fit your needs. Once implanted, the stent helps support the walls of your arteries, so that they remain open, allowing blood to flow through them. After we implant a stent, it expands until it presses against your inner artery wall, preventing a future collapse. It can also keep cholesterol and plaque from building up again in the area where we’ve implanted the stent. While these tools are very effective for treating PAD, in some cases, you may also need medications to control contributing risks such as cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes.

 

Preventing Atherosclerosis

Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent arterial disease. Try eating healthier foods, staying active with regular exercise and working to reach or maintain your ideal weight. Limit alcohol intake and quit smoking to help reduce your risk. Finally, it’s important to take all your medications as prescribed by a healthcare provider in order to protect your arterial health and prevent complications.

Of course, it’s hard to know when to make lifestyle changes if you don’t know your arterial disease risk. Want to stay on top of your health and prevent complications? Schedule an arterial consult with our Houston area PAD specialists. We can diagnose your disease risk and take early measures to prevent atherosclerosis or other forms of cardiovascular disease.

 

Do Varicose Vein Creams Work?

If you want to improve the appearance of bulging veins on your legs, you may be wondering if varicose vein creams work.  After all, they promise a non-invasive solution to these unsightly and painful veins. But can they deliver relief? Or address the underlying cause of your condition? Let’s take a closer look!

Understanding Varicose Veins a dab of varicose vein creams on white background

Varicose veins are a sign of chronic vein disease. They are veins that become visible on the surface of your skin, appearing to bulge or twist. And they form when something goes wrong in your veins, causing blood to pool and stretching them out to the new, twisted position.

Often, the blood begins to pool when valves in your vein fail, causing venous reflux. (That’s when blood can no longer fight gravity and flow up from your legs to your heart.) Usually, valve failure is a result of pressure on your veins. And that pressure can come from many different sources, including a stationary lifestyle, standing or sitting for too long, carrying extra weight or carrying a baby.

Varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic concern. Left untreated, they will get worse. And that can cause you to develop painful, serious complications. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment for your varicose veins. But not every treatment is equally effective.

Varicose Vein Creams: Do They Work?

You may have heard about varicose veins creams, topical products that you can apply to the skin above your affected veins. They come in a range of brands and price points, usually containing a blend of vitamins, herbs and moisturizing ingredients.

Now, when you moisturize and soothe your skin with this ingredient mix, your skin may look firmer and healthier. In turn, your varicose veins may improve slightly in appearance. But the creams can’t do anything to address the underlying cause of your varicose veins. So the results will be temporary at best, meaning your condition will worsen unless you seek other treatment options.

Some of these creams also promise that they can help prevent varicose veins from forming. Again, that’s not true. While they can keep your skin smooth on the surface thanks to proper hydration, they can never address what’s going on beneath your skin, inside your veins.

Preventing Varicose Veins

While varicose vein creams can’t prevent you from developing vein disease, there are measures you can take to protect your circulatory health. Try to follow a vein-healthy diet, both to maintain your ideal weight and to help boost circulation naturally. Look to get regular, moderate exercise: walking, swimming and bicycling are all wonderful options. Finally, if you know that you’re at risk for varicose veins, ask us about compression stockings. These special types of socks come in different pressure levels, and can help boost your circulation and prevent varicose veins from forming, or keep existing troubled veins from getting worse.

Treating Varicose Veins in Houston, TX

While varicose vein creams won’t resolve your vein disease, there are many minimally invasive treatment options for you to explore. From compression therapy to radiofrequency ablation, our offices in Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, Clear Lake and The Woodlands offer many vein treatments that are scientifically proven to address the appearance and underlying cause of varicose veins. Ready to find varicose vein relief that lasts? Forget the varicose vein creams and schedule a consultation with our team to find an option that will work for you!

Are varicose veins genetic?

Do you ever look at your mom and grandma’s legs and wonder, “Are varicose veins genetic?” Well now, thanks to a sweeping study published in the journal Nature, we can answer that question. And the answer seems to be “sort of.” Allow us to explain.

Are Varicose Veins Genetic? Exploring New Data DNA structure of a genetic molecule

In this new study–the largest ever conducted on the subject of varicose veins–researchers examined data on 1.3 million people without varicose veins and almost 50,000 individuals who had this form of vein disease. In total, the study identified 139 different genetic markers that contribute to developing these painful, bulging veins.

Moreover, the study discovered some of the biological processes that get involved when varicose veins develop. Factors like inflammation and blood pressure seem to play a role in your vein disease risk. How your body forms new blood vessels, or the paths it takes to heal wounds, also plays a role in your disease risk.

In presenting their findings, researchers were happy to find some of the genetic clues to your varicose vein risk. They hope these findings will help us identify patients with a higher risk for vein disease. In that way, we can offer early screenings and treatment. And, hopefully, we can prevent disease progression, since untreated varicose veins can lead to worsening symptoms, and serious health complications.

Are Varicose Veins Genetic? Other Risk Factors to Consider

Clearly, there are vein disease risks you can’t control, including your age, genes and gender. (Unfortunately, women seem to have a higher risk for varicose veins, though we see many men in the office seeking varicose vein treatment.) Still, you can control other risk factors, including your weight and activity level. After all, obesity
puts lots of pressure on your veins, increasing your risk for disease. Additionally, sitting or standing in one place for too long can harm your circulation. Then, if you don’t get regular exercise, it’s harder for your body to pump the blood out of your legs. Together, these factors increase your risk for varicose veins, along side your genetic risk.

Here’s the good news, though. These are the risk factors you can control. Simply by walking a few times a week, you can take steps toward reducing your disease risk. And you can also get closer to your ideal weight! Not sure where to begin? Check out our Move it Monday series, for vein-friendly workout tips and suggestions!

Treating Vein Disease in Houston, TX

knowing your vein disease risk is important because it can help us detect varicose veins early on. In this way, we can provide treatment options before you experience symptoms of later-stage disease. Concerned you may already have symptoms of vein disease? It’s important to schedule an immediate appointment with one of our Houston area vein specialists. Once you come in, we can determine the extent of your disease, and create a treatment plan designed to get your blood flowing properly!

 

 

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is one of several varicose vein treatment options we offer at our Houston area vein clinics. It’s considered a minimally invasive procedure, and it uses heat to target faulty veins, closing them permanently. But what are varicose veins?

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins that become visible on the surface of your skin because they aren’t working properly. As blood pools in the veins, they will bulge beneath your skin, and can appear twisted or ropy. This form of vein disease develops when blood doesn’t flow properly through your veins, often due to valve failure. Soon, blood builds up in your veins, and they stretch and bulge. If left untreated, blood can leak from your varicose veins, damaging your skin and leaving you with venous leg ulcers.

Other symptoms of varicose vein include heavy or achy legs, cramps, lower leg swelling, itching around the affected veins, and changes in skin texture or color. Without treatment, minor symptoms will get worse, since vein disease is progressive.

Radiofrequency Ablation and Other Treatments for Varicose Veins doctors preparing for radiofrequency ablation procedure

You can treat varicose veins is a variety of ways. We’ll determine the best procedure for your needs after a diagnostic ultrasound and a thorough exam. These are some of the available treatment options.

Radiofrequency Ablation

With this varicose vein treatment, we use heat to permanently close your damaged veins. Afterward, blood starts flowing through healthy veins. At that point, your blood flow improves and the appearance of your legs will, too.

During this procedure, we use a catheter to guide a radiofrequency electrode to your damaged vein. With the help of ultrasound images, we can see inside your veins, helping us target the trouble spots to target your varicose veins directly.  Because we use topical analgesics, the procedure is painless, and you won’t need general anesthesia, making for an easy recovery period.   Best of all, we can complete the procedure in about an hour, so you can get back to your busy schedule.

Once we’ve finished closing your veins, we’ll apply pressure and dressing to your small incision site, and give you proper compression stockings. While you’ll have to wear these for a few weeks following your procedure, you’ll otherwise be able to resume normal activities right after radiofrequency ablation. While this is one of the most common treatment options for varicose veins, it’s not your only choice. So let’s explore a similar treatment option, radiofrequency perforator ablation.

What is Radiofrequency Perforator Ablation? 

This procedure is exactly like radiofrequency ablation, but it’s conducted on your perforator veins, which are the ones that connect two vein systems in your body: the superficial and deep vein networks.

Just like other veins, the valves in your perforator veins can sustain damage, allowing blood to accumulate and causing varicose vein symptoms. When you choose radiofrequency ablation for your perforator veins, we use an ultrasound-guided catheter to cut off the flow of blood to the damaged perforator veins. Again, this allows blood to flow through healthy veins and reduces the appearance of bulging damaged veins in the process.

After the procedure, you’ll still need to wear compression stockings. You should feel immediate symptom relief, while the visual reduction of your bulging veins will continue to improve during your recovery period. With both of these rfa procedures, there is no pain, no downtime and long-lasting relief.

Choosing the Right Vein Treatment in Houston, TX

If you have any signs of varicose veins, it’s important to seek immediate treatment, before your condition gets worse. With five Houston-area clinics, serving Katy, Sugar Land, Clear Lake and The Woodlands, TX, we also offer seven different treatment options for varicose and spider veins. The right choice for your condition will depend on your disease progression and lifestyle. So we invite you to schedule a consultation and get started on your perfect path to healing.

 

Here are the Blood Clot Signs that Need Medical Attention

Sometimes, blood clots form without giving you any warning. But sometimes, your body sends you blood clot signs that mean you’re heading for trouble. And we want you to identify them easily, so you can seek quick care if any develop.

For NBC anchorman Al Roker, who was hospitalized for a DVT near the end of 2022, recognizing these warning signs was life-saving. In fact, he developed one of the potentially-fatal DVT complications that make this type of clot a medical emergency. As he said, “I was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in my leg which sent some clots into my lungs. After some medical whack-a-mole, I am so fortunate to be getting terrific medical care and on the way to recovery. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers and hope to see you soon.”

But what is a DVT, what other types of blood clots can develop, and how can you know when one is forming? read on to find out more!

What are blood clots? blood clot signs

A blood clot forms when some of the blood in your vessels becomes a solid mass. You can develop a clot in your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to your body. They can also form in veins, which carry blood from your extremities back to your heart. Or you can form a clot in your capillaries, whose job is to connect your veins and arteries.

Still, blood clots are most likely to form in your deep leg veins. (We call this clot a deep vein thrombosis or DVT.) Along with identifying blood clot signs, it’s very important to recognize DVT symptoms. Because, if this leg clot breaks free, it could travel to your lungs. There, it becomes a pulmonary embolism, which could be a fatal condition.

Most Common Blood Clot Signs in the Legs

When a blood clot is first forming, you may not have any visual or physical warning. But there are certain clear blood clot signs in your legs that you need to watch out for.

1.       Swelling

If you notice swelling in your leg, and it doesn’t go away when you put up your feet, that could be a warning of a forming clot. That’s especially true if the swelling lasts throughout the day, or if you notice additional signs of trouble.

2.       New, lingering leg pain

If your legs suddenly feel crampy, and you don’t have PAD, this new, nagging pain could be one of several DVT symptoms. So it’s worth mentioning to your vein specialist, especially if you already have varicose veins.

3.       Changes to your varicose veins

Watch your varicose veins carefully, as any of these changes could be blood clot signs. First, if your vein starts bulging more prominently, and won’t flatten out when you elevate your legs, you could be developing a superficial blood clot.

Other blood clots signs include veins that suddenly turn hard, or surrounding skin that turns red and feels tender to the touch.

Systemic Warning Signals

As we mentioned, you need to watch DVT symptoms carefully, because these clots can travel to your lungs. If you have a pulmonary embolism, your symptoms can include new or different shortness of breath—especially if it doesn’t go away with rest.

You may also experience lingering chest pain, or chest pain that develops when you breathe deeply. In extreme cases, you may even cough up significant amounts of blood if you have a blood clot in your chest.

What to Do if You Notice Blood Clot Signs

If you think you have a pulmonary embolism, you should immediately go to the emergency room. There, you can get a quick CT scan and breathing tests, so we’ll know if you have a blood clot in your lungs. If the tests reveal a PE, treatment can begin right away.

Now, if you only have DVT symptoms, you can skip the ER. But you should schedule an immediate appointment with our team of Houston area vein specialists. Studies show that early intervention is very important when we treat deep vein clots. It means compression therapy and other interventions may be more effective. So, the sooner you alert us to the problem, the sooner we can offer treatment and results. And, more importantly, the less likely you are to face life-threatening complications like a pulmonary embolism!

What is a Venous Doppler?

What is a venous doppler ultrasound exam? And why is it such an important diagnostic tool in our Houston area vein health clinics? Read on to find out!

What is a Venous Doppler? patient receiving a venous doppler exam

This is a diagnostic ultrasound test that we use to examine circulation in your large leg veins. Using this exam, we can detect deep vein thrombosis (DVT), as well as other vein health concerns. Like other ultrasounds, our vein ultrasound uses medical imaging tech to helps us see the internal structures in your veins. It generates images uses high-frequency sound waves that bounce off of your vein structures, helping us paint a picture of what’s going on in your body.

What to Expect During a Venous Doppler Ultrasound

Diagnostic vein ultrasounds are painless and radiation-free. They don’t involve catheters, needles or dye. Overall, we use this test to discover how well your blood is flowing through your veins. It can also help us detect vein health concerns, especially if you’re showing signs of vein disease such as leg cramps or edema (swelling.)

When you arrive, you will be brought to the exam room and asked to lie down, removing your clothing below your waist. Then, after a few questions about your medical history and the reason for your exam, the venous doppler will begin. During the 30-45 minute procedure, your technician will apply sound waves to your skin using a transducer. When the waves bounce back, a transducer captures them, creating an image that displays on a screen. From there, we can evaluate how well your veins are functioning, noticing any structural changes or clots.

If your test results are normal, then you can leave the office immediately. But if we notice any abnormalities during your venous doppler, we may order further tests or begin treating your vein disease.

What is a Normal Result on a Vein Ultrasound?

Ideally, we’ll see your veins returning blood to your heart without obstructions or delays. Now, when we talk about your leg veins, we’re discussing two different groups. First, there are your deep leg veins, lying underneath the muscles in your legs. Then, there are your superficial veins–the ones that become visible through your skin when you have spider veins.

When operating properly, your veins easily deflate, pushing blood up to your heart while working against gravity. Your calf muscles help get this task done, and so do the one-way valves in your veins that close, preventing blood from pooling in your lower limbs.

Problem Results on a Vein Ultrasound

Of course, sometimes, we detect concerning results during a venous doppler exam. We could detect a superficial blood clot, in the veins right beneath your skin. This could be the result of a recent injury, or a side effect of varicose veins, but we can easily treat this concern.

We may also detect a clot in your deep leg veins, called a DVT. This type of clot is a more serious medical concern because, if the clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs. There, as a pulmonary embolism, the condition can be fatal, so we’ll need to give you immediate, emergency care.

Anyone can develop a DVT at any time, but certain factors increase your risk, including pregnancy, immobility, a long airplane flight, carrying extra weight, having recent surgery, or having a history of prior DVT.

If we’re using a venous doppler exam to determine your DVT status, you’ll receive your test results before leaving the office. Otherwise, you should receive a call within a few days of the exam, highlighting your results and discussing appropriate next steps.

Follow Up Vein Care in Houston, TX

Like a venous doppler exam, our team of Houston vein specialists use minimally invasive procedures to treat a variety of vein health concerns. After giving you a vein ultrasound to determine your current vein health, we will diagnose any concerns and come up with a treatment plan to restore your optimal blood flow.

Ready to take control of your vein health? Contact our office to schedule a diagnostic ultrasound. Together, we’ll learn what’s going on inside your veins, and make sure that you’re set up for your best health in 2023!

4 Vein Issues in Legs to Watch For

Vein issues in legs can lead to major health complications. As vein specialists in Houston, we want to help people recognize the symptoms of the four most common veins problem in the leg. Together, we can help people detect these conditions quickly. And, since vein disease is progressive, that can improve their treatment outcomes and overall quality of life!

Vein Issues in Legs: Spider Veins A close-up image of a woman sitting crossed-legged in shorts holding her leg strewn with varicose veins with one hand.

These veins are close to the surface of your skin, can be blue, red or purple in color, and look sort of like spiders’ webs—which is how they got their name. (Although they’re also called thread veins.) Since these veins are close to the surface if your skin, they’re often considered a mostly cosmetic concern. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, since many patients with spider veins also have varicose veins that aren’t yet visible. (See more on this concern below.)

When only spider veins are present, we can treat the faulty veins with sclerotherapy. Still, we’ll recommend a diagnostic ultrasound to make sure that’s the only vein issues in the leg that you’re dealing with.

Varicose Veins

In contrast to spider veins, varicose veins appear enlarged, swollen and often seem to be tangled. They are also typically are darker blue or purple color. While these veins are usually visible in the skin, you may have symptoms before they can be seen. These include heavy, aching or tired legs; leg swelling, or edema, may also be a symptom of varicose veins.

It’s important to treat varicose veins because, left alone, they will get worse. Treatment options will depend on how far your vein disease has progressed, but may include ablation or phlebectomy.

DVT and Leg Ulcers

With varicose veins, your risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and leg ulcers increases. A DVT is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of your legs. If that clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs where it becomes a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism (PE.) Because of the potential complications, it’s important to detect DVT early and seek immediate medical care. DVT symptoms in your leg include cramps or throbbing pain in one leg, most often in your thigh or calf. You may also develop swelling, or one painful spot, surrounded by warm skin and red or darkened skin. Finally, you may notice swollen veins that feel hard or tender to the touch.

If you notice any of these signs, especially if you’ve recently taken a long flight, already have varicose veins, or have a history of DVT, call our office immediately. There are several new DVT treatment options that can protect your health.

Leg Ulcers

A venous leg ulcer is a non-healing wound or open sore that forms on the lower legs or ankles. It’s caused by pooling blood in failed veins; that blood gets deposited in your lower leg tissue, and its high iron content damages your tissue, causing ulcers to form.

Once a wound opens, it’s very difficult to heal, since the vein damage that started your problems also reduces oxygen levels in your lower limbs. Since your body needs oxygen-rich blood to heal, it can be difficult to close venous ulcers once they form. As a result, we now address ulcers by sealing the abnormal veins, and starting you on compression therapy to improve your blood flow and prevent new ulcers from forming.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and Varicocele DVT treatment

While many vein issues appear in your legs, the pelvic area may also be affected. We see two conditions in particular in our office: Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, that mostly affects women, and Varicocele, affecting men.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Many events in life, including pregnancy, can hurt vein function in your lower abdomen. In turn, your pelvic veins may grow larger and change shape, leading to pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS.)

The main PCS symptom is chronic pelvic pain, lasting for several months. But other symptoms can include bulging veins that are visible in your pelvic area; lower back and abdomen pain; an irritable bowel; a sudden, random need to urinate; and pain that gets worse during sex, your period or even walking and standing! While we tailor treatment plans to each patient, many women find PCS relief with a procedure known as ovarian vein embolization.

Varicocele

This is the medical term for varicose veins in the testicles. Varicocele develop after a failure in the valves of veins that lead into the testicles. In turn, blood backs up, potentially causing infertility, along with pain during activities such as running. We treat this condition with a minimally invasive procedure called varicocele embolization. Gaining access through a tiny groin incision, we insert a thin catheter through your vein and direct it toward the varicocele. Once the failed veins are accessed, we inject tiny coils into the catheter. That stops the varicocele blood flow, relieving pain and usually restoring fertility.

 

Help for Vein Issues in Leg in Houston, TX

Often, patients don’t realize they have vein disease until their condition is quite serious. Here at Texas Endovascular Associates, we want to help people find earlier diagnoses! What’s the best way to do that? Speak to your healthcare provider about your risk for vein or arterial disease, then contact our office and schedule a diagnostic ultrasound!

What are Orbital Varices?

Orbital varices are a type of varicose vein that develops when one or more of the blood vessels in your eye orbit become dilated. Usually, the problem affects one half of your face; if they form in your eyelids, they may be visible to others. These varicose veins can cause several complications, including bleeding and clotting.

What causes orbital varices? close up of eye with orbital varices

There are many reasons why your body develops varicose veins; when they form in your eyes, additional factors like tumor compression, arterial aneurysms, infections, trauma or vein obstruction can contribute.

Signs and Symptoms

One of the first signs of orbital varices are protrusions from the eyeball. It will not pulsate, and it may appear intermittently. In fact, since orbital veins don’t have valves, you may even be able to reverse the protrusion, at least temporarily.

Still, the protrusion will reappear with aggravation or an increase in venous pressure. So, something as simple as a forceful cough can cause that protrusion to return.

Diagnosis

A clinical exam is the best way to diagnose this condition, although imaging can sometimes help the process. Because protrusions may not appear without force, patients should be asked to perform valsalva maneuvers during the examination. (That’s when you attempt to exhale while closing your nostrils and mouth, or your glottis. This increases pressure in the middle ear and the chest, as when bracing to lift heavy objects, and is used as a means of equalizing pressure in the ears.)

After your diagnosis, your doctor may order additional tests including a visual field examination, tracking the movement of your eye, and imaging your eye orbit to see how far any lesions extend within your visionary organ.

Treating Orbital Varices

In order to treat the varicose veins in your eye’s orbit, you may need a surgical procedure. Luckily, research reveals that patients can choose anendovascular procedure, treating their condition effectively with less invasive interventions.

 

Are you dealing with varicose veins in and around your eye, and want to find relief without major surgery? Contact our team of Houston area endovascular specialists and request a consultation for orbital varices.

What is a DVT?

What is a DVT? A DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein in your body. Usually, DVTS form in your legs, and that can block your blood flow. Worse, a DVT can break free and flow to your lungs, forming a pulmonary embolism. As this condition is life-threatening, and DVTS affect up to 900,000 Americans each year, it’s very important to learn how to prevent and treat this type of blood clot.

What Causes a DVT to Form? blood clot forming in body

Several factors increase your risk for DVT. First, remaining immobile for too long is a major risk factor. (That’s why we warn patients to stay active on long plane rides or car trips.) Why is this the case? Well, when you stop moving, your blood flow slows down, too. As such, your blood can act on its natural instinct to clot. And that’s when trouble can develop.

Other factors that up your DVT risk include being overweight or obese. You may also have an increased risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis if you’ve had recent surgery, especially on your knees, hips or the bones in your lower body.

What is a DVT? Signs and Symptoms

Here’s a scary fact: some people could form a deep vein blood clot without any symptoms. Still, most people will notice blood clot warning signs such as leg swelling, redness or warmth on your skin, and walking challenges.

Diagnosing and Treating Blood Clots

If you’re at risk for blood clots, your healthcare provider may suggest taking anticoagulants. (These are medications that prevent clotting. If you’ve already had a DVT, you will likely be prescribed this class of medication while you recover, and possibly for a longer period of time.)

If there’s a chance you’ve got a deep vein thrombosis, you may need an ultrasound or MRI to confirm your diagnosis. Once confirmed, you’ll receive treatment with three main goals.

  1. Keep the clot from growing.
  2. Make sure the clot doesn’t break free
  3. Reduce the chances of new clots forming

To meet those goals, your doctor may prescribe blood thinners, or anticoagulants, as we mentioned earlier. Depending on your situation, you may take these medications orally or by IV infusion. Even after your initial clot is resolved, you may need to take these meds for three months or longer.

In order to break up your existing clot, you may need an additional medication type called a thrombolytic. And, after any kind of blood clot treatment, you’ll need to wear compression stockings to keep blood from pooling in your legs and to improve your overall blood flow.

Preventing DVT in Houston, TX

Clearly, developing a deep vein thrombosis is a serious medical concern. That’s why we focus on preventative care in our Houston area vein clinics. So, how can you keep blood clots from forming?

Of course, there’s no guaranteed prevention strategy. However, by maintaining an active lifestyle, following a vein-healthy diet and wearing compression stockings, you can certainly reduce your risk for this type of blood clot.

Now, as we said, this method isn’t foolproof. And that means you may still develop a deep vein thrombosis. Which brings us back to our initial question: What is a DVT? It’s a medical emergency! So schedule an immediate appointment with one of our vein specialists if you notice any symptoms of this kind of clot.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins: What’s the Difference?

Spider veins vs varicose veins: what’s the difference and why does it matter? Well, both are vascular concerns. And both can impact the appearance of your legs. But there are clear differences between the two. And understanding those differences will help you find the right treatment. Let’s take a closer look!

What are spider veins?

Spider veins form when valves in your veins malfunction. This allows blood to pool, making your veins visible through your skin. Spider veins are usually smaller and closer to the surface of your skin. Their most notable feature is their red or blue color, and their resemblance to spider webs. (See how they got their name?)

What are varicose veins?

Like spider veins, varicose veins due to malfunctioning valves that allow blood to pool in your veins. But varicose veins are much larger. Also, they usually have a twisted, ropelike appearance. And they are visibly raised above the surface of your skin.

Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins: What’s the Main  Difference?  Spider veins vs Varicose Veins

Vein disease is progressive. So a vascular problem that starts as spider veins could progress and become varicose veins.  In other words, varicose veins are a more serious medical concern than spider veins. As such, they may need a more aggressive intervention.

In contrast, we can usually treat spider veins with minimally invasive options, since the troubled veins sit close to the surface of your skin.  If you’re dealing with a later disease stage, though, you may be looking at a more involved treatment and recovery plan.

Vein Treatment Options

With surface-level vein health concerns, we can usually resolve your concerns with cosmetic sclerotherapy. This treatment involves. To deliver relief, we use a tiny needle to inject a solution directly into your affected veins.  Soon, this solution causes your vein lining to seal itself. This prevents further blood flow and, soon, the spider veins should dissapear.

Now, if you have varicose veins, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) may be a better treatment option. If you choose RFA, we’ll insert a catheter into one of your abnormal veins, supplying it with a heat energy that permanently closes the vein. While more involved than sclerotherapy, you only need a local anesthetic to receive RFA, and you’ll be left with almost no scarring. In the hour or less it takes to receive RFA, you’ll experience little pain. Afterward, you can almost always resume normal activities immediately, and you should experience near-immediate improvement in your condition.

Recovery After Vein Treatment: What to Expect

Most patients can avoid downtime when they choose sclerotherapy or RFA. After any vein treatment, you’ll need to wear compression socks. And we recommend protecting the treated area from exposure to the sun. But how can you know which form of vein treatment is best for you?

The only way to determine your proper treatment plan is to schedule a consultation at one of our Houston area vein clinics. During your visit, we can perform a diagnostic ultrasound to determine the extent of your vascular concerns. At that time, we can discuss your best treatment options, and perfect a plan that will bring you lasting relief!

 

 

Request an AppointmentRequest Appointment