Category: News

3 Blood Clot Warning Signs & Symptoms

Recently on the blog, we spent some time explaining the science of blood clots: what they are, why they form and what they can do to your health. Today, we’re going to provide some more helpful information: this is how you can tell if you’re developing a blood clot!

How Can I tell if I have a Blood Clot?

The scary answer to this question is: you can’t always tell when you’re developing a blood clot. Sometimes, blood clots form without any obvious symptoms. But sometimes blood clots form and cause a range of other impacts on your body. Many of those symptoms will depend on the location of your blood clot.

As it turns out, women have a higher clotting risk. And one early warning sign may be tingling in your hands. That tingling could even cause temporary numbness. So if either symptom develops, you should see your vein specialist immediately.

If you have DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a clot in the deep veins of your legs) you may develop symptoms including redness at the site of your clot, warm skin, swelling, cramps and pain, without any obvious injury.

When a DVT breaks loose from your legs and travels to your lungs (Pulmonary embolism) you may experience shortness of breath (for no apparent reason), an unexplained cough, chest pain, an increased heart rate and fatigue.

If you’re at increased risk (you’ve just taken a long plane trip, you’re pregnant, or have compromised cardiovascular health) see your doctor for any of these symptoms. A blood clot can quickly become a medical emergency.

Do I Need Treatment?

In theory, your blood clot will self-resolve. That means, your body will naturally break it down and absorb the clot—eventually. But that process could take weeks or even months. And, depending on the location of your clot, waiting that long could pose a major threat to your health.

Why? Here’s the deal: if you have a clot in your artery, your cells won’t get the oxygen-rich blood they need to work. So they’ll stop functioning. If the clot cuts off oxygen to your brain cells, you’ll develop stroke symptoms. If the clot’s in your coronary artery (impacting your heart), you’ll start developing heart attack symptoms.

So, clearly, arterial clots are medical emergencies. But clots in your veins, like DVTS, are also serious. And that’s because they cause their own set of symptoms, but also because of their potential to break free and travel to your lungs.

In other words, while you could wait for your body to heal that clot, doing so could be a fatal mistake. Instead, let’s explore the best way to medically treat your blood clot.

 

How Will You Treat My Clot?

Even if it means a trip to the emergency room, see a doctor at the first sign of a clot. If you do have a clot, you’ll need one of two treatments: medication or interventions involving medical devices.

Oral or intravenous (IV) blood thinners can help manage a blood clot. Alternatively, your doctor may insert a wire or catheter to try and open up your blood vessels. Finally, in certain situations, your healthcare provider may surgically remove the blood clot (thromectomy.)

The good news is: blood clot treatments are fairly effective, especially if they are administered quickly.  But in order to benefit from these treatments, you must be seen before the clot grows or causes additional damage like a heart attack or stroke. For that reason, we can’t emphasize this enough: seek medical attention at the first sign of a suspected blood clot!

Sources: Us News & World Report, KRPC 2 News Houston

5 Reasons to Sleep on Your Side

Did you know that sleep on your side could save your health? Yup, it’s true. While it may not seem like a big deal, the side you sleep on can impact how your whole body works. From your vein health to your heart function and so much more, we’re guessing this post will get you switching up your sleep position.

Benefits of Sleeping on Your Side sleep on your side to boost vein health

Left or right, sleeping on your side is better for your body. First, it can help you avoid issues with heartburn or acid reflux.  It can improve your digestion, since studies show that side sleeping helps food move seamlessly from your small to large intestine. And from there to your colon. Now, if you sleep on your left side, you get an added boost. This position keeps your stomach and pancreases in an ideal for producing the enzymes that encourage your best digestion.

Guess what else? Side sleeping can improve your night time breathing patterns. Which means you can say goodbye to snoring (or at least reduce this annoying habit.) And, if you suffer from chronic back pain, side sleeping can help. It’s a good way to relieve pressure on your spine.  Which can translate to reduced aches and pains the next morning.

Sleep on Your Side to Boost Vein Health

Sleeping on your side can also help drain your body’s lymph fluid, meaning your risk of swelling (lymphedema) will also go down. This is especially true if you sleep on your left side, since that’s your dominant lymphatic-side. And left-side sleeping won’t just boost drainage. It can also improve your lymph nodes’ performance, strengthening your immune system and helping you fight off infections.

Plus, improved lymph drainage can help your heart. Because better draining near your heart means the organ doesn’t have to work as hard, so it’s under less pressure. And, side sleeping is very important for boosting your circulation. But if you’re pregnant, you should always sleep on your left side, not your right. Not only will this boost blood flow to your heart and your fetus, but it will also keep your uterus from pressing on your liver. Something that’s very important to the functioning of your internal organs.

As we mentioned, sleeping on your side can improve your circulation. And healthy circulation prevents blood from pooling in your veins, which can decrease your risk for spider veins. But that’s not all. When you sleep on your left side, you take pressure off your body’s largest vein, the Vena Cava, located on the right side of your body. This large vein, composed of two smaller, iliac veins, has a big job. It takes oxygen-poor blood from your legs, feet and stomach back to your heart. And if it can’t do that job, you will certainly see blood building up in your lower extremities. Which can cause your veins to swell and stretch, becoming visible beneath your skin. And possibly leaving you with varicose veins, a serious symptom of vein disease.

Want to take more steps to protect your vein health? Our Houston area vein specialists are here to help! Schedule a diagnostic ultrasound with one of our skilled technicians. We can identify any potential problems to help keep your veins working just the way they should!

 

Sources: American Cancer Society, KidsHealth, Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Inferior Vena Cava

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

Staying Home Ups DVT Risk: Here’s What to Do.

You develop deep vein thrombosis (deep vein thrombosis ()DVT) when a blood clot forms in one of your deep veins. (This usually occurs in your legs). And DVT is a serious problem, more dangerous than other blood clots. Why? Because it comes with a high risk of recurrence, death, or chronic symptoms like pain and swelling.

But why do you develop DVT in the first place? Many factors contribute to this problem, but lack of movement is a big contributor (that’s why your DVT risk is high on long flights.) And, as we stay home more, limiting our activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, that could be a problem. Especially if you already have vein disease.

Thankfully, even taking a walk outside, and limiting your salty snacks, could help reduce your water retention and lower your DVT risk. Plus, we have several new and proven ways to treat your DVT. So just keep reading to learn more about what your life will look like, even if you develop a DVT.

New Microchip Predicts DVT Risk

Researchers at Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering have developed a miniaturized version a human vein called the Vein-Chip device. And they believe it will help doctors predict your DVT risk.

Basically, the Vein-Chip allows researchers to test various risk factors, including gender, race, ethnicity and more, to see how they impact DVT risk. The hope is that this technology will help our fellow vein specialists personalize your DVT treatment protocols.

Lead study author Abhishek Jain, Ph.D  and his team have already made an important discovery that may impact post DVT treat. Basically, they found that when you’re healthy, and your blood flow slows down, your body may try to adapt by releasing anti-clotting factors. This adaptation only happens within your vein pocket, which suggests that we should deliver clot dissolving medications directly to your affected areas.

That’s one exciting development in DVT prevention and treatment protocols. Now let’s explore some other key findings.

What’s the Best Treatment Plan after a DVT?

According to a study published in the journal Blood, people with DVT can easily cut their risk of complications. How? It’s simple: just start compression therapy within 24 hours. compression socks

The study explored whether compression therapy could prevent residual vein occlusion and post thrombotic syndrome. What do those terms means? Residual vein occlusion is when clots stay in your veins, with or without symptoms. That’s a big deal, since it likely contributes to  post-thrombotic syndrome, which is just a collection of symptoms. These include pain, swelling, discoloration and leg scaling.

For this study, 600 DVT patients in the Netherlands received compression therapy within 24 hours of their diagnosis. Next, they were compared to patients that started that compression therapy later on. In addition to their compression therapy, all patients received anti-clotting medications.

What researchers found was promising: Patients who got immediate compression therapy were 20% less likely to develop residual vein occlusion and 8% less likely to suffer post-thrombotic syndrome compared with those who delayed compression.

Even better news? Compression therapy was not associated with any adverse side effects. And while all DVT patients appeared to benefit from compression, those with clots lower down in the leg enjoyed the greatest results.

Study author Dr. ten Cate-Hoek says, “Although the use of compression stockings after DVT is routine across much of Europe, it is less common in the United States, where guidelines emphasize compression primarily for patients who complain of ongoing symptoms…Given these outcomes, and that compression stockings are fairly easy to self-administer, relatively inexpensive, and minimally intrusive, compression therapy offers a clear benefit for all patients with DVT.”

Sources: Medical Dialogues, Blood Journal,

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.

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

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

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

Why Interventional Radiology is a Major Medical Advancement

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tech Alert: VR Can Help Save Your Veins

As Houston area vein doctors, we have helped pioneer the art of minimally invasive vein treatments. We navigate catheters through your delicate veins to treat conditions like varicose veins and peripheral arterial disease. And we do it by relying on 2-D images, usually from X-rays, that stay in front of us during procedures to help guide the way through to blockages or areas that need repair. But now, thanks to a new development in technology, all that may be about to change! 

Virtual Reality Technology for Vein Treatments

A new catheter, developed at the University of Washington, has been fitted with electromagnetic sensors that feed real-time imaging from inside the blood vessels to a virtual reality headset. This new catheter would help make interventional radiology procedures far more precise, since doctors will be able to operate with three-dimensional guides. In fact, the electromagnetic sensors could accurately capture the size and shape of the blood vessels as the tool travels through them.

But it wouldn’t just make procedures more precise–VR could help protect doctors AND patients from repeat exposure to radiation by eliminating the need for x-ray technology during minimally invasive vein procedures! And, as an added bonus, VR is cheaper and more transportable than older forms of tech, meaning life-saving vein treatments could become more accessible to patients living outside of major metro areas and far away from vein centers like Texas Endovascular.

We are eagerly awaiting the device’s approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and will keep our readers posted on this and other new developments in vein health and treatments. It is always our honor to bring patients the newest, safest and most precise vein treatments in the Greater Houston area.

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