Category: Spider Veins

5 Reasons Why Varicose Veins Aren’t Just a Cosmetic Concern

There’s one thing we all know about varicose veins.  Those bulging, dark twisty things don’t look great when they show up on your legs (or anywhere else.) But here’s what you may not know: varicose veins are actually your body’s way of warning you that problems are brewing inside.

5 Conditions Associated with Spider VeinsDiagnostic Ultrasound Evaluation

  1. Venous Insufficiency.

    Varicose veins aren’t bad for you on their own.  But the factors that create them can be. You see, veins are elastic blood vessels. They have a job: to  carry blood back to the heart after it’s reached your body’s extremities.

    Now, there are a series of valves in your veins. They open and close, allowing blood to flow up towards your heart. Valves are basically one-way gates. They open to let blood flow up, but close to keep it from going back down towards your feet. Basically, they help your body fight gravity. But what happens when those valves stop working well? Your blood can flow backward, letting blood pool in your feet. That kind of backward flow is called venous insufficiency (VI). It stretches your veins, so they bulge. And it can also lead to leg and ankle swelling (edema), pain, itching and other uncomfortable symptoms.

  2. Blood Clots.

    When VI leaves you with pooling blood, that blood is more likely to form clots. Clots that form in the walls of your superficial veins (also called phlebitis) can be quite painful, although not usually life threatening.

  3. Deep Vein Thrombosis.

    Also known as DVT, this is a condition that occurs when blood clots form in your body’s deeper veins. Associated with poor circulation, it is considered a life threatening condition because, if a clot breaks free, it can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

  4. Ulcers.

    When blood sits around in your veins, it doesn’t just clot–it can start to leak out of your vessels as the walls become stretched beyond capacity. The leaked blood can deposit itself into the soft tissue of your legs, especially around your ankles where the skin is thin, holes may open up. Because your circulatory system is already compromised, less than optimal amounts of oxygen will reach that hole, making it more difficult for the skin to heal itself. That is why individuals with VI are more prone to open sores (ulcers.)

  5. Bleeding.

    When VI persists without treatment veins may be stretched to the point where they burst. At that point, you will experience bleeding that, depending on the location of the vein, may be dangerous to your overall health.

Cosmetic Vein Treatments and Vein Health Safety

Treating your varicose veins will restore your leg’s healthy appearance. But it’s about so much more than that. Our goal as Houston vein specialists is to resolve the underlying symptoms of varicose veins. Such as heavy legs, cramps, or itchy, burning skin. Because developing varicose veins is not just a normal part of aging. It’s a sign of vein disease. So, by treating your varicose veins, we can help you look and feel better!

And here’s some more good news: most of our vein treatments are virtually painless. Plus, many only require a local anesthetic, so you won’t be staying in the hospital. And, since vein treatments protect your health, not just your looks, many insurance plans will help cover the cost of your procedure. So you don’t have to worry about a large out-of-pocket responsibility.

Now that you understand the potential complications associated with spider veins, don’t waste another minute.  Schedule a diagnostic vein scan to determine the best treatment course to resolve your venous insufficiency. Remember, it’s not just about how you look. It’s about protecting your long-term health!

Sources: news.llu.edu, healthline.com, clevelandclinic.org,

Surprise: Spider Veins Are an All-Age Problem

Ugh…those awful spider veins! They look awful and they can really hurt, too! If you have been distressed recently and noticed the appearance of little red and blue lines on your legs, don’t panic. Yes, you are young, healthy, and quite fit, so why would you see those “old lady” leg symptoms?

You may not like how they look, but the fact is they are really nothing to become upset about. In fact, they happen to be quite normal. With that said, there are some facts you should know about spider veins even if you are young. This is the best way to protect the appearance of your legs and enjoy healthy aging!

Continue reading “Surprise: Spider Veins Are an All-Age Problem”

5 Reasons You Never Delay Vein Treatments

We hear so many explanations from patients who want to delay vein treatments for their spider veins. “It’s just cosmetic.” “They don’t bother me that much.” “I’ve got other problems to deal with first.”

Painful varicose and spider veins will only cause more problems down the road if left untreated!

Unfortunately, you may not realize that walking around with untreated spider veins can actually lead to further medical complications. Here are five health issues that may come up if delay treating varicose veins.

 

Complications of Untreated Varicose Veins

  1. Hyper-pigmentation
    One reason varicose veins can be dangerous is that blood builds up inside of them. This blood doesn’t contain oxygen and nutrients. So it can cause cause chronic inflammation, and can change the way your skin looks. In fact, you may notice that your legs are darker or discolored. You could also develop painful swelling. .
  2. Ulcers
    Venous ulcers are open sores that can develop when your leg veins aren’t able to properly push blood back up towards your heart. First, the extra blood pools in your veins, causing the noticeable bulges of spider veins. If left untreated, however, the extra blood may leak through the vein, causing an ulcer to form, most frequently in the thin-skinned areas above the ankles. Ulcers are difficult to heal and can open your entire body up to serious infection. If left untreated, ulcers may leave you in need of a limb amputation. In rare cases, ulcers can even prove to be fatal.
  3. Bleeding
    When pooled blood is left, untreated, in your veins, the covering skin thins out due to the internal swelling and pressure. The thinner your skin, the less protection there is for your veins. And the more blood that pools in your veins, the larger a target they become for injury. All of this adds up to the fact that untreated varicose veins are at higher risk of being nicked or cut; if and when that does occur, you may stand to lose a significant amount of blood, because so much liquid will have collected in the injured vein.
  4. Blood Clots
    Varicose veins are more likely to become inflamed at the point where you can see them, which is just beneath your skin. This, in turn, can put you at higher risk for blood clots in those surface-level veins.
  5. Deep vein thrombosis
    Unlike surface level blood clots, DVTs occur in the veins that hide deep within your legs. Because they are harder to detect, they are a scarier side effect: DVTs are known to break free, without warning, and travel to your lungs (pulmonary embolism), where they become a potentially life-threatening complication.

Booking Your Vein Treatment

Clearly, varicose veins are so much more than a cosmetic concern. If left untreated, they can cause you to experience a whole host of serious medical complications. Now that you know the facts, stop the excuses and make an appointment to address those unsightly veins in your legs. Yes, you’ll feel better about the way you look but, more importantly, you’ll be taking a major step towards protecting your long-term health!

Sources: Journal of Phlebology

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

What’s the Best Varicose Vein Treatment?

When you have bulging, painful varicose veins, you want them gone, but you need to know what’s the best varicose vein treatment? Clearly, there are many different ways to address this visible symptom of vein disease. But, if you are  wondering what treatment will deliver the fastest relief with few complications, we’re here to help. And here’s the good news! Researchers in the UK also wondered what’s the best varicose vein treatment? That’s why they conducted a study, comparing the results of surgical and non-surgical varicose vein treatments. And we’re guessing you’ll be pleased by what they discovered!

Is Varicose Vein Surgery Better Than Other Treatments?

The results were from a CLASS (Comparison of Laser, Surgery and Foam Sclerotherapy) study. Of all the treatments they explored, two non-surgical treatments are ones we provide in our Houston area vein clinics. These include Foam Sclerotherapy and Laser Ablation.

And the study didn’t just look at immediate impact. Instead, researchers compared the treatment’s long-term results with surgery. With sclerotherapy, we inject your abnormal vein with a substance that gradually causes its collapse. With ablation, we use bursts of laser light to collapse your vein. Both are minimally invasive procedures.

For this study, researchers followed 800 varicose vein patients treated between 2008 and 2012. At the end of five years, patients  answered questions about their quality of life, the financial cost and their willingness to recommend the treatment to others.

Almost all of participants were happy with their results. Nearly all participants reported feeling better after treatment. And most participants would undergo and recommend the same treatment again.

Researchers also discovered that ablation and surgery delivered slightly better results than sclerotherapy. They found ablation was the most cost-effective option. And, though it wasn’t mentioned in the study, here’s something vein specialists know: sclerotherapy and ablation come with less down time and fewer complications than surgery.

With these findings, the study—and our blog post—gets a happy ending. Even though many people get varicose vein surgery, you don’t have to. And that’s because non-surgical treatments deliver great results: at a lower cost and, typically, without hospital stays!

When Should You Treat Varicose Veins?

Now you know what’s the best varicose vein treatment, you’ve got to know: when should you get them treated. And the answer is: now: Why? Here are 5 reasons to treat varicose veins immediately:

1. To treat the root cause of vein disease

Before starting any vein treatment, Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee will always perform a comprehensive ultrasound evaluation. This allows them to diagnose underlying chronic venous insufficiency, which is the improper functioning of valves in the vein. It also means that all of the diseased veins can be treated. The perforator (connector) diseased veins are just as important to treat as the varicose veins near the surface of the skin.

2. To improve symptoms that are impacting your daily life

Varicose veins can cause persistent and annoying symptoms that can impact your quality of life and signal that vein treatment is necessary. Symptoms of varicose veins can include tiredness, heaviness, achiness, pain, cramps, burning, stinging, itchiness, or a feeling of restlessness in your legs. More serious symptoms, including spontaneous bleeding from veins or recurrent skin infections, should be treated immediately. After varicose vein treatment, underlying symptoms will improve quickly over time.

3. To get rid of the look of varicose veins

Swollen, bulging, and rope-like veins are the most visible sign of venous insufficiency that can be resolved with our treatments. Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee will remove the bulging veins through tiny incisions or inject medication to close the varicose vein so that it shrinks over time and is no longer noticeable.

4. To find out how to prevent future varicose veins

The primary cause of varicose veins are things outside of your control such as family history, age, gender, and family history. However, our doctors can provide advice to prevent vein disease from getting worse. Also, you can help prevent new varicose veins from forming by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. Now, you may also avoid clothes and shoes that reduce circulation, choose to quit smoking and wear compression stockings to further reduce your risk.

Our specialists at Texas Endovascular will provide recommendations for making lifestyle changes that can help minimize the occurrence of varicose veins.

5. To know if this could be a sign of other health conditions

Studies have shown that having varicose veins can be a sign of increased risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a serious blood clot that is usually in the leg, as well as pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a blood clot that travels to the lungs. Having varicose veins is also linked to peripheral artery disease (PAD), a circulatory issue that results in reduced blood flow to the limbs.

Schedule an evaluation today!

Sources: The New England Journal of Medicine

Why Should I Worry About Varicose Veins Right Now?

Right now, we are in an unprecedented medical moment. We know that you, our patients, are making tough choices: stay home and live with existing problems, like varicose veins. Or seek treatment but risk exposure to a frightening virus?

For starters, we’re here to tell you, we offer Telemedicine vein care. It’s just one way we’re helping you stay home and stay safe. Because, treating non-COVID-19 medical problems is a major part of staying safe at home. Why is that the case? Here’s what you need to know about varicose veins. Especially about what happens if you delay or forego vein treatment.

Are Varicose Veins a Threat to Your Health?

We often hear people saying that varicose veins are unattractive, but no big deal. Which is why we’re here to tell you: that’s just not true!

If you can see those varicose veins, it’s a sign of more serious health problems brewing beneath the surface of your skin.  They tell vein specialists like us that the valves in your veins aren’t working properly. As a result, blood is pooling in your veins, and not flowing back up to your heart as it should. Patient-7-After

At first, that pooling may just cause your veins to bulge and become more visible. But, if left untreated, your problems won’t stop there. Soon, you may notice swelling in your legs, also called edema. You’ll be at a higher risk for blood clots, especially DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, a clot that forms in your deep leg veins. This situation is an emergency—if the clot breaks free, it can travel to your lungs and may be fatal.)

And that’s not all you’ll face. As your veins bulge, that pressure could damage your skin, leaving you vulnerable to infections and ulcers (these are open wounds which resist healing.) Additionally, you’ll be more likely to experience bleeding episodes, some of which may be serious and require immediate medical attention.

Now you know why, even now, you can’t ignore those varicose veins. But we’re not just here to scare you. So, please follow our advice for treating varicose veins during the COVID-19 epidemic.

This is How We’re Currently Addressing Varicose Veins

For starters, now is not the moment to self-diagnose your vein problems. So, if you’re concerned about varicose veins, request a consultation with our specialists. Either in person or through or remote medical care, hosted on the secure Doxy platform. After our consultation, we will recommend a course of treatment.

It’s quite possible that we’ll manage your vein health at home for now. We can recommend compression garments to improve your blood flow, and reduce pooling and swelling. We can help you move more, even at home, which can also help varicose veins. And we can realistically determine whether an in-office procedure will be necessary.

But we can’t help you if we don’t see you. So please, don’t ignore current health issues. If you notice varicose veins, reach out right away. The sooner we start treatment, the more likely it is that we can successfully manage your condition from the safety of your home.

Sources: Health.Harvard.Edu

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

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

What’s Wrong with Going Barefoot at Home?

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

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

The Fine Art of In-Home Shoe Wearing

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

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

 

Sources: Footwear News

Will Crossing My Legs Cause Spider Veins?

It’s time to fess up: how many times a day do you look down and realize your legs are crossed? Are you doing it right now? We’ve likely all heard that crossing your legs can be problematic, but do you know why? Or how long it takes for vein damage to set in? Here’s the low down on leg crossing:

The Problem with Crossing Your Legs

While there hasn’t been any conclusive proof to date, there seems to be a definite connection between crossing your legs and the appearance of varicose veins. The connection seems to be a result of pressure: varicose veins develop when veins are over-tasked. And resting one leg on the other can restrict blood flow, causing extra blood to pool and stretch out the over-worked veins.

Now, while we don’t know if leg crossing causes varicose veins, we do know it can lead to other issues. First of all, if you cross your legs a lot, you’re going to experience lower back pain. Also, let’s go back to that leg pressure. Even if varicose veins don’t pop up, the pressure from crossing your legs will make your veins more prominent. And that seems to be a step on the road to varicose veins.

Of course, crossing your legs is just one piece of the varicose vein puzzle: even without assuming this position, extended periods of sitting can cause problems in your veins. After all, when you sit for a long time (like all day at a desk or for hours on a long flight) blood can pool in your legs, making it harder to flow back up to your heart. Once again, situations like these can compromise your veins and allow for the unsightly bulging of varicose veins.

Managing the Impact

Try telling someone not to think of a pink elephant, and that’s immediately what pops into their minds, right? The same can be said of trying to break a leg-crossing habit: for many of us, especially for skirt-wearing women, this seated position is just second nature.

So, if you can’t stop crossing, how can you protect your vein health?

First of all, set up your desk to make it more conducive to healthy sitting habits. Adjust your seat height so both feet can rest comfortable on the floor without restricting access to your keyboard or other desk items.

Next, limit the amount of time you spend in any one position, whether it’s flat-footed or cross-legged sitting, or even standing in one spot. If you’re able, take brief walking breaks every 20-30 minutes to take the toll off your veins—and your back. Even a few minutes of walking, spread throughout the day, will go a long way towards staving off many of the problems associated with sitting, including the appearance of varicose veins.

But what if your job doesn’t allow you to just get up and walk around? Not to worry, you can still keep your veins flowing freely. Consider subtle desk stretches, like reaching down to touch your toes or swiveling your feet and ankles in circles. Even simple movements like these, done frequently throughout the day, can help prevent blood from pooling in your feet and legs.

Now, getting back to our original question: does leg crossing hurt your veins? While we can’t conclusively answer, “yes,” we can certainly say, “maybe.” As Houston vein doctors, we hope that likely causation will be enough motivation to keep you uncrossed and moving around throughout the day. Your back, heart and, most likely, your veins will all be happy you did!

Sources: Healthline.com, womenshealthmag.com, shape.com

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

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

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

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

What Causes Varicose Veins to Bleed? spider veins on legs

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

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

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

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

Sources: NHS.com

How to Fight Varicose Veins in Cold Weather

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

Cold Weather Affects Your Circulation

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

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

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

How Cold Weather Can Help Varicose Veins

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

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

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