Tag: leg pain

Got Leg Pain? It Could Be PAD…or Varicose Veins

If you have unexplained leg pain, especially after you walk or exercise, you could be one of the eight to ten million people in the United States who suffer from Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). This condition is often difficult to diagnose, leaving many sufferers untreated, which is a serious problem due to the danger that it can pose.

PAD symptomsWhat is PAD?

Peripheral Artery Disease is caused by a narrowing of the peripheral arteries. While it most commonly affects the legs, it can also be found in the stomach, arms, and even your head. Arteries begin to narrow when plaque, which is made up of cholesterol, calcium, fibrin, and fatty substances, builds on the walls of the artery. The disease restricts the amount of blood flow and raises blood pressure. In severe cases, a blood clot can form and completely stop your blood flow, which can result in a stroke or heart attack.

Why is that the case? Your circulatory problems prevent blood from moving through your body as it should. At the early stages, this may cause PAD leg pain, as your lower limbs struggle to get enough oxygen-rich blood. Later on, that can translate to heart attacks if blood flow to your organ is compromised. Or, it could lead to clotting as blood backs up in your arteries, followed by stroke if a clot suddenly bursts near your brain.

Risks & Symptoms of PAD

You could have PAD and not notice any symptoms until your disease progresses. Others may mistake their PAD symptoms for another condition. To avoid misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses, it is important to learn the most commonly observed symptoms of PAD. They include:

  • Leg pain during exercise, and also when at rest
  • Leg numbness or weakness
  • A burning sensation in your legs, even when you’re resting
  • Wounds (ulcers) of the legs, foot, or toes that do not heal easily
  • With those wounds, you may also notice pus on your toes or lower legs. And that pus will have a foul odor.
  • Legs or feet that are cold to the touch
  • Slow nail growth on toes or lack of hair growth on the leg
  • Some men experience erectile dysfunction
  • Critical limb ischemia, a severe blockage in your lower legs that can threaten mobility and leave you with chronic pain

Patients are more at risk for peripheral artery disease when they:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Have diabetes
  • Are obese
  • Have high blood pressure & cholesterol
  • Are over 50 years of age
  • Have a family history of heart issues or strokes

How is PAD Diagnosed?

Diagnosing peripheral artery disease is painless. And there are many ways to test for PAD, so your health care provider will perform a physical examination to determine which to choose. In addition, your doctor may perform:

Ankle Brachial Index: This compares the blood pressure in your feet to the blood pressure in the arms. It determines if your blood pressure is faltering in one area or throughout the body. Next, there are ultrasounds, which use sound waves to measure blood flow and visualize blockages in your arteries. Alternatively, you may need angiography: you’ll get a colored dye injection in your blood vessels. Then, we’ll trace the dye with an imaging device, so we can follow your blood path and determine where the problems lie. Finally, you may need blood tests to determine if your symptoms are the result of diabetes or other issues.

When is it NOT PAD Leg Pain?

While the pain in your legs could be a sign of PAD, varicose veins can also leave you with leg pain. But it’s unlike PAD leg pain, which feels crampy and is usually linked to movement. When varicose veins are to blame, the pain in your legs is dull and achy. This condition can make your legs feel heavy, or you may even experience a burning sensation.

Like PAD, developing one or more varicose veins is a sign of trouble in your circulatory system. It is not merely a cosmetic concern. For that reason, if you notice any kind of leg pain, it’s important you make an immediate appointment with our Houston area vein specialists. During a comprehensive exam, we can diagnose the cause of your discomfort and get you on the path to recovery!

Sources: Mayoclinic.org

5 Signs Your Leg Pain is Actually PAD

Peripheral Arterial Disease is a tricky condition. Its symptoms look like many other vein health problems. Meaning you often wait to get your diagnosis. Take a classic symptom like tired, heavy legs, for example. At some point, everyone’s legs get tired. If you’ve walked a lot during the day, had a hard work out, or just been stuck on your feet, you may get muscle cramps or leg fatigue. And that would be perfectly normal. Sometimes, however, that discomfort in your legs could be something more serious: peripheral arterial disease, a condition in which plaque narrows your arteries, limiting blood flow to your lower extremities. Here’s how you can tell when your leg pain is a cause for concern. And a roundup of other warning signs and symptoms that could indicate trouble with your blood flow.

5 PAD Warning Signs to Watch For

PAD-affected arteries before, during and after minimally invasive treatments
  1. The leg pain is constant. Normal leg pain only comes on once in a while. But if your legs hurt or you feel a burning sensation in your legs or rear end every time you walk or climb the stairs, it could be PAD. This is especially true if your discomfort shows up with movement and resolves with rest. That’s a likely sign of a problem, since your limited blood flow makes it painful to move, because that movement needs oxygenated blood, and your body can’t supply it.
  2. Your wounds don’t heal. Because PAD limits blood flow to your lower legs, it reduces the healing time for any cuts or injuries. So even a little scratch could become a major health challenge, since oxygen-rich blood doesn’t arrive to help with healing. If you have leg pain and an ulcer, that’s a likely sign that you’ve got PAD.
  3. Your hair growth changes. When blockages limit blood flow to your legs, that alters the way your hair cells function in the area. And that means your leg hair growth will slow or stop. Or you may even notice hairless patches on your legs.
  4. Your legs and feet are cold. Now, this symptom could be a sign of poor circulation. But if the problem is chronic, instead of problem that arises from time to time, it could be a sign of PAD.
  5. Your lifestyle puts you at risk. Smokers, people with diabetes, or individuals with high blood pressure and high cholesterol are at higher risk of developing PAD. (Remember, cholesterol is a fatty substance your liver produces. You need some cholesterol for your body to function. But choose the ‘bad’ kind, or allow cholesterol levels to rise too high, and it can form blood-flow blocking ‘plaque’ in your arteries.) If you have these risk factors and experience regular leg pain, be sure to get checked for PAD. At our Houston-area vein clinics, we can help you get an accurate diagnosis so we can begin the healing process.

Treating Peripheral Arterial Disease in Houston

The above symptoms aren’t all you need to watch out for. Other signs of PAD include cold, numb legs and feet; changes in your skin color; poor toenail growth; changes in your leg-hair growth; and even erectile dysfunction in men.

We can diagnose PAD in our office with a bedside test called an Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI), which uses ultrasound and blood pressure cuffs to evaluate the circulation in your arms and legs. If this test is abnormal we may order further imaging tests such as Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) or Computed Tomography (CT) to determine the extent of your problem and help us plan your treatment.

PAD is a serious medical condition, but help is readily available, often without surgery. Using minimally invasive procedures, our Houston area vein specialists can help open up your arteries and restore blood flow to your lower extremities. But before we can help, you need an accurate diagnosis, so watch for warning signs and see your doctor right away if you have any cause for concern.

 

Sources: American College of Surgeons, galesburg.com

That Pain in Your Legs? It Could Mean a Blood Flow Problem

So many people are quick to brush off a little pain in your legs. But that tendency is the reason so many people with peripheral artery disease (PAD) have delayed or missed diagnoses.  You see, PAD is a condition that develops slowly and with few symptoms. Inside your body, your blood vessels are slowly narrowing due to atherosclerosis, a build-up of fatty deposits that keeps enough blood and oxygen from getting to your legs. And it’s that lack of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood which can make your legs feel uncomfortable and crampy. Which in turn is why you should never ignore leg pain that appears for no apparent reason.

Now you know why ignoring leg pain can be so dangerous to your health. Next, let’s take a closer look at ways you can increase the flow of blood to your lower extremities.

Reduce Pain in Legs with Improved Blood Flow

If you want to avoid PAD, or reduce existing symptoms, your best bet is to keep your arteries and blood vessels clear of blockages. You also need to work on improving your blood circulation.

The first step in this process? Get moving! Physical activity encourages blood flow. Plus, it helps you maintain a healthy weight, which can also help your body provide sufficient blood to your extremities.

Still, moving more isn’t enough. Diet is also a crucial part of preventing atherosclerosis, the “hardening of the arteries” that causes PAD. That’s because, through a healthy diet, many individuals may be able to lower their cholesterol levels. And high cholesterol is linked to the build-up of plaque in your arteries. (Keep in mind that some people may require medication to lower cholesterol levels. Discuss all changes to your diet with your healthcare provider.)

How important is your diet to your PAD risk? Well, according to recent research, eating legumes, dietary fiber, and vegetable protein significantly lowers your PAD risk. At the same time, eating all kinds of red meats, processed meats, and/or sugary soft drinks upped your risk by a lot.

So, what does that mean for you? Regardless of whether or not you also need medication, people with PAD should focus on proper nutrition. As it turns out, many of the foods you eat can actually help improve your blood flow and boost the health of your veins and arteries.

Foods That Boost Blood Flow

If you’re worried about blood flow, take a peek at your diet. Try adding beets and beetroot juice–their nitrate content converts into nitric oxide, which improves blood pressure and blood flow. Onions and garlic are also great choices because they help relax your blood vessels. Want a protein option? Fatty fish, rich in omega-3s, boosts blood flow by preventing blockages. 

Spices are another easy way to improve your flow: both turmeric and cayenne are helpful. Rounding out the diet powerhouse? Include pomegranate, oats, beans, and wholegrains. Add nuts, eggplants, apples, berries and citrus fruit, too. Before you know it, that blood will be flowing in tip-top shape!

Even if you don’t have PAD, adding these foods to your diet and increasing your weekly movement can help prevent problems. But, if your legs hurt; or if you notice changes like discolored legs or loss of hair on your legs, you may already have PAD. If that’s the case, don’t delay: make an appointment to see our Houston area PAD specialists right away. Early intervention can prevent further complications, including heart attacks and strokes!

 

Cold Showers for Spider Veins and Other Summer Safety Tips

When it’s hot and humid, taking cold showers for spider veins may actually sound good! Of course, if the thought of an icy cold shower is unappealing, we get it. Frigid water hitting your body isn’t exactly relaxing. But as it turns out, an icy-cold shower may be just what the doctor ordered if you want to prevent varicose veins.  Plus this tip, and other suggestions for managing venous disease in summer, could help you find relief in the next few months. And it could stop the pain of an existing vein condition.

Cold Showers for Spider Veins Improves Circulation

Why are cold showers for spider veins such a useful tool? Cold showers improve blood circulation–as your limbs get colder, blood rushes down from other parts of your body to warm them. When circulation improves, blood is less likely to pool in your veins. And, since pooling blood causes varicose veins to bulge and become visible beneath your skin, a daily cold shower can help keep this problem at bay.  And for patients already dealing with painful spider veins,

Of course, improved blood flow also helps your overall cardiovascular health. It can also keep plaque from building up in your arteries, preventing the type of hardening we associate with peripheral arterial disease.

Additional Benefits of Daily Cold Showers

But those aren’t all the benefits you may enjoy from daily cold showers. Icy water can boost your lymphatic system. And by boosting your lymphatic system, you can help prevent the build up of lymph material that causes lymphedema (swelling) in your lower legs.

While cold showers can offer preventative vein care, and temporary pain relief, they can’t cure CVD (chronic venous disease) or other underlying conditions that may be causing your spider veins. For true relief, you will need to seek treatment from your local vein specialists.

Managing Chronic Venous Disease in Hot Weather

Now, we know you can’t take cold showers every day. But we can certainly offer other ways to stop CVD pain in the long, hot Houston summer. After all, hot weather may increase some symptoms of venous disease. These include:

  • Pain, tingling and heavy legs.
  • Swelling (edema).
  • Skin changes such as dryness, itchiness or color changes.
  • Spider veins may appear more prominent
  • Your varicose veins may grow longer and more visible as they dilate more
  • In advanced cases, your varicose veins are more likely to rupture and bleed in the summer months

In addition to taking cold showers for spider veins, here are a few more ways to manage CVD in the summer,

• Stay inside during the hottest hours of the day.

• Skip the tanning. Direct sunlight exposure raises your temperature, and further dilates your veins. Plus, you’ll be lying still while you suntan. And that can contribute to blood pooling and more noticeable symptoms.

•Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration. And avoid salty snacks to prevent swelling. Also, sticking to a healthy vein diet can help you manage your vein disease in the summer…and all year long!

• Keep up with your exercise routines, but consider moving them indoors if the weather is too hot or humid.

• Loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Very tight garments are not advisable, as they hinder venous return, like heels.

• Stick to prescribed compression therapy, even when it’s hot out. Even if you reduce your time in your special socks, a few hours a day can make a major difference!

Having said all that, we need you to remember that these tips will only manage your symptoms. You’ll need to treat your CVD to enjoy lasting relief. So schedule a consultation with our Houston vein specialists today!

 

Sources:MSN News, Chatelaine 

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.

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