Category: Spider Veins

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!

Over 50? Makes THESE 5 Vein-Saving Changes Right Now!

Varicose veins are a symptom of vein disease. They bulge, twist and show up in dark colors because they are filled with pooling blood. When the blood pools, it’s because the valves in your vessels aren’t working properly, which makes it tougher to deliver blood back to your heart from your legs.

As you get older, your risk of developing varicose veins increases. In fact, by the time you reach 50, about 40% of women and 20% of men will be dealing with varicose veins. Still, celebrating another birthday doesn’t have to mean that varicose veins are your next inevitable milestone. Instead, try making these important lifestyle changes. They can help prevent new varicose veins from developing, and may help reduce the risk of existing ones.

Lifestyle Changes that Protect Against Varicose Veins

If you want to reduce your vein disease risk, try these five steps:

1.       Work your legs. Increasing your physical activity level, especially with moves like daily walks, strengthens the muscles in your calves. And when those muscles are stronger, they contract harder, helping to get pooled blood up and out of your legs.

2.       Know your ‘don’ts.’ Avoid sitting for extended periods of time—set a reminder, if necessary, to get up and walk around every 30 minutes. When you are sitting, try not to cross your legs. And, when choosing your OOTD (outfit of the day), steer clear of clothes that cling tightly to your waist, thighs or upper legs (take note of the exception in our next step.)

3.       Try compression stockings. If your vein specialists agrees, compression stockings can help improve your circulation; they place gentle pressure on your legs, keeping blood moving and helping to reduce any existing swelling.

4.       Take a break. When you are sitting down, get those feet up. Ideally, you’ll elevate them above the level of your heart. Why does this work so well? Aside from feeling a little indulgent, elevating your feet will get gravity on your side to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs.

5.       Lose some weight. This is, of course, one of the hardest changes to make. But this is the time of year where people commit to taking better care of their bodies. So, if you’re carrying some extra weight right now, consider a New Year’s resolution to eat better and move more (see step 1.) You’ll be helping your veins, your heart, and your over-all wellbeing! And your Houston vein specialists think that’s something worth toasting in 2020!

Sources: Seniorific News

These Jobs Can Increase Your Risk for Vein Disease

Living a healthy lifestyle—full of exercise and nourishing food—can go a long way towards protecting your vein and cardiovascular health. But what happens when your profession increases your risk for developing spider veins? You learn the facts and take action to keep your job from hurting your health! That’s why we’re sharing this important information.

Professions that Increase your Varicose Vein Risk Spider veins

Certain jobs can take a major toll on your veins, increasing the likelihood of problems. Some of the top professions include:

Teachers

Standing all day puts a lot of pressure on your veins. And many teachers stand in front of a class from 8 am until 3 pm, with very few opportunities to sit and rest. Want to minimize your risk? Take a quick trip to the teacher’s lounge and sit down, with your feet up, whenever possible.

Wait staff

Waiters and restaurant hosts stay on their feet for their entire shifts. And while waiters at least have the benefit of walking between tables and the kitchen, helping pump some of the blood out of their legs, hosts stay in one spot, greeting diners as they arrive. In order to mitigate risks, try to limit shift length and give extra attention to your feet and legs on days when you’re not on the job.

Flight attendants 

Long flights take a toll on everybody’s vein health. So, imagine flying every day AND spending the majority of that flying time on your feet, serving needy passengers. People who fly for a living need to practice vein-saving, in-flight exercises (see image at right for one example) in order to minimize their risk of complications.

Office Staff

As it turns out, sitting all day isn’t so great for your vein health, either. The effects are similar to all-day standing: blood will start to pool in your feet and legs, making your valves and veins work harder to get it back up to your heart. Taking frequent walking breaks can help mitigate the risk of sitting at your computer all day.

Lowering On-the-Job Vein Health Risks

Aside from the job-specific tips we already shared, here are some other steps you can take to minimize your risk for varicose veins:

·         Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

·         Consider compression stockings to help boost circulation in your lower extremities

·         When you do sit, avoid crossing your legs

·         Elevate your feet for at least 30 minutes, every day

·         Get regular cardiovascular exercise (it doesn’t need to be high-impact. Even walking will make a major difference!)

 

What to Watch for if Your Varicose Vein Risk is Elevated

If your job puts you in a higher risk category for vein disease, you should see a vein specialist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

·         Swollen lumpy veins

·         Color changes in your veins, specifically if they appear to be dark blue or purple

·         Leg pain or legs that feel heavy

 

Of course, you don’t have to see symptoms of varicose veins in order to visit our Houston area vein clinics. If you know your risk for vein disease is already elevated, proactive vein care could go a long way towards preventing negative outcomes!

 

 

Keep the Spiders off Your Legs this Halloween

Trick or treat, everyone! Is your front porch decked out with ghosts, goblins, cobwebs and pumpkins? Is your yard lined with bones and gravestones? If so, we applaud your Halloween spirit!

But what about your legs? Are spider veins making them look more like a Halloween costume than you’d like? That’s the kind of creepy look we’re guessing you don’t want to show off this holiday season. But don’t worry: you’re not alone.

Spider Veins a major problem for Americans

Data suggests that as many as 60% of adults in this country have spider or varicose veins. Spider veins are tiny, dilated veins that are visible on the surface of your skin. When you look for them, they are red or blue, and are typically found on your legs or face. They may form in patterns that look like spider webs, and they are very visible because they are closer to the skin than normal veins. On the other hand, varicose veins, while similar and often confused with spider veins, are much larger and look like bulging or twisting rope.

Spider veins are, for the most part, a cosmetic concern. Treating them is important for self-esteem, and to prevent the progression of any underlying vein condition. But varicose veins are a more serious symptom. Treating them will be important for your ongoing, overall vein health.

How do you treat spider and varicose veins?

At our Houston area vein clinics, we treat spider veins with sclerotherapy, the most common form of treatment for this condition. The process involves injecting you with a solution that will cause the lining of your blood vessel to collapse and stick together. The blood then begins to clot, and the vessel turns to scar tissue over time. This makes the veins invisible from the surface of your skin.

In some instances, we may seal your spider veins with a catheter or laser. In these cases, heat is used to seal the vein. This also results in scar tissue formation, which will gradually become less noticeable over time.

If you are spooked by your spider veins right now, don’t wait until next Halloween to do something about it. Instead, treat yourself (and your veins) so you can show off those legs with pride in any costume of your choosing!

Do I Need Surgery to Fix my Varicose Veins?

When you have bulging, painful varicose veins, you want them gone. And you are likely wondering what treatment option will deliver you fast relief with few complications. As it turns out, researchers in the UK wondered the same thing. 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!

Surgical vs. Interventional Varicose Vein Treatments spider veins on legs

The CLASS (Comparison of Laser, Surgery and Foam Sclerotherapy) study look at two non-surgical treatments we provide in our Houston area vein clinics: Foam Sclerotherapy and Laser Ablation. It compared their 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!

Sources: The New England Journal of Medicine

Will High Heels Give me Spider Veins?

So many women have closets packed with high heels. Let’s face it, stilettos can be great–they make your legs look longer, they give you extra inches, and they add a stylish finish to almost any outfit.

That’s the good news about high heels…but here’s the not-so-good news. While wearing high heels won’t directly cause you to develop varicose veins, they can contribute to this problem by affecting blood flow in your veins. And, not surprisingly, the higher the heels, the bigger the negative impact on your vein health.

What Are Varicose Veins?

To understand the connection between high heels and varicose veins, we must first understand this problem and why it happens.

Over 25 million Americans have varicose veins. Some people will recognize the problem right away, thanks to visible symptoms like bulging veins or brightly colored veins that are visible on the skin’s surface.

Some symptoms of varicose veins are less obvious:  heaviness, aching, swelling, tiredness, burning, stinging, and leg cramps are all signs that you may have a problem. Other symptoms, like swollen legs, changes in your skin and even ulcers are also symptoms of spider veins, but they can often be mistaken for other conditions.

Varicose veins are a faulty part of the venous system, which is just a group of pipes, pumps, and valves in your body. Veins are ‘pipes’ for blood. Valves are like stop signs that keep the blood flowing in the right direction–either up to your heart or away from your heart to your other body parts.

When any part of your venous system stops doing its job properly, blood can begin to pool in your veins, causing them to stretch and bulge. That’s when you may notice symptoms of varicose veins.

High Heels and Blood Flow

When you walk, blood starts pumping in your foot and calf. Blood starts moving up the veins in your legs. Valves help that blood fight gravity and keep flowing up towards your heart.

Of course, that’s the case when your’re walking normally.  When you stride wearing basic, supportive shoes, your foot and calf work together. Veins in your foot fill it with blood as it lifts off the floor. When your heel and arch land back on the floor, that blood starts flowing into the relaxed veins in your calf. Once there, your calf muscles get to work, pushing blood into the deep veins in your legs.

High heels are a game changer in this system because of the way they affect your stride. When you’re rocking those three-inch stilettos, your heel never touches the ground. All your weight stays in your toes and the balls of your feet. Plus, because of the angle of your body, your calf muscles never get the chance to relax when you’re in heels.

The result of these stride changes is fairly significant. Your foot gets less filled with blood; your calf muscles are less effective when they try to pump blood up to your heart. The decreased pump strength can leave some blood behind in your legs, allowing it to build up and pool in your veins. When this happens, your vein health may suffer.

Preventing Spider Veins 

While no one expects you to give up high heels completely, there are steps you can take to limit the damage to your veins:

  1. Save those stilettos for short events and special occasions.
  2. Stick to heels that are no more than three inches (and shorter is even better).
  3. If you’re going to be in heels for a while, consider throwing on a pair of compression stockings.
  4. Strengthen your calf muscles once the heels come off by sneaking in a few sets of heel raises.
  5. Check in with your Houston vein specialist if you start noticing any of the spider vein symptoms we discussed above.

 

While high heels don’t directly cause spider veins, they may create an environment that compromises your overall vein health. If you already have spider veins, or have a family history of vein disease, keeping a close watch on your shoe closet is a very good idea.

 

Sources: New York Times

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