Tag: leg ulcers

Eat This: Zinc, Vitamin B, and Food for Vein Health

Did you know that your diet should include important nutrients and food for vein health? During this COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve been hearing a lot more about the importance of Zinc in your diet.  This is what we know: zinc is a trace element which your immune systems needs to function properly. In fact, zinc is considered a type 2 nutrient because it’s a necessary part of your body’s general metabolism (other type 2 nutrients include protein and magnesium.) So, if you have a zinc deficiency, you’ll be at a higher risk for infections, diseases and viruses like COVID-19.

But supporting immunity isn’t zinc’s only important job. In fact, this little element plays many roles in your body. And a little of it goes a long way: your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is 8 milligrams (mg) a day for women and 11 mg a day for men.

It’s entirely possible to get your daily zinc dose from your diet (more on that shortly.) Otherwise, talk to your doctor about starting a zinc supplement.

Still waiting to be sold on zinc? Let’s take a closer look at two of its numerous function: supporting immunity and wound healing.

How Does Zinc Regulate Immunity?

Without zinc, our body can’t activate its T lymphocytes (T cells). And we need those T cells for two jobs: controlling and regulating our body’s immune response, and attacking cells that are infected or even cancerous.

What does that all mean for you? If you don’t get enough zinc, your immune system just won’t work the way it should. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals, “zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.”

Now, those pathogens range from severe infections to conditions like a common cold. Which is why, according to a study published in the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal, zinc supplementation could shorten your cold experience by as much as 40%. Plus, it could make your symptoms less severe while you’re still under the weather. It’s not so surprising, then, that zinc can also help your body heal leg ulcers, a common symptom of vein disease.

How Zinc Helps Heal Your Wounds

Before we explain why zinc can help heal your leg ulcers, let’s review why you might develop this kind of wound. When you have chronic vein problems, you may develop non-healing ulcers or open sores on your lower legs. Also called venous ulcers, they usually develop around your ankle, varying in size from very small to several inches in diameter.

What’s the connection between these two issues? Chronic vein disease causes a progressive inflammatory reaction in your body, and that damages your capillaries and lymphatic ducts. After that damage, fluid leaks into the tissues of your lower legs, causing swelling and depositing hemoglobin in your lower leg tissue.

But that’s not all—capillary damage also decreases your lower leg’s oxygen levels, which translates to poor wound healing and ulcers.

We treat venous ulcers with compression therapy and wound care, while also treating your underlying vein condition. And now we know that zinc could help speed up your healing. Why?

One of zinc’s jobs is to maintain your skin’s health. In fact, you may be more susceptible to leg ulcers if you have a zinc deficiency.  As such, some studies suggest that applying zinc to your wounds could help speed healing, but further research is required before this becomes our primary treatment protocol.

How Can I Add Zinc to my Diet Naturally?

Beans, animal proteins, nuts, fish and seafood are all good sources of zinc. You can also get zinc from whole grain cereals, and dairy products. Top choices for zinc include fortified cereals, Pacific raw oysters, canned baked beans, cooked green peas, yogurt, pecans, lean ground beef and roasted peanuts.

Luckily, you’ve got lots of tasty ways to get your recommended daily zinc intake from diet alone. If, however, you feel you may have a zinc insufficiency, you may consider supplementation. Zinc supplements come in capsule and tablet form.

Keep in mind, however, that too much zinc can also cause problems in your body. So talk to your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet. And, if you’re dealing with a leg ulcer right now, don’t delay treatment—regardless of the COVID-19 outbreak, you must stick with your follow up ulcer appointments. Failure to do so could even result in amputation!

Other Nutrients and Food for Vein Health

Now you’ve seen how zinc can help your veins–and COVID 19. But there are other important nutrients you should add to your diet, in order to boost circulation and protect your vascular system. Here are some of the top choices:

Vitamin B

The family of B vitamins can do great things for your vascular health. If you have varicose veins, taking B6 can help them heal. Vitamin B12 improves blood flow, and B3 can lower cholesterol while boosting circulation.

Vitamin B6 can restore vein health, making it a good choice for varicose vein sufferers. Vitamins B6 and B12 promote healthy blood flow. Vitamin B3, or niacin, aids in blood circulation and lowering blood cholesterol.

What to eat: Brown rice, wheat, barley, turkey and tuna.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can preserve flexibility in your vein walls, and reduce arterial inflammation.

What to eat: berries, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, and lemons.

Vitamin K

This nutrient for vein health can help you prevent blood clots! At the same time, deficiencies with this vitamin can lead to excessive bleeding, so it’s important to watch your intake carefully. This vitamin can also keep blood from pooling, which will reduce your risk for varicose veins. And, you need k2 vitamins to keep elastin from calcifying, which would further increase your varicose vein risk.

What to eat: parsley, mustard seeds, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and pumpkin.

Vitamin D

Your veins and arteries need this nutrient to stay relaxed and keep blood flowing freely. If your Vitamin D levels dip too low, your risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) rises dramatically.

What to eat: oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Need more help preserving your vein health? That’s what we’re here for! Schedule an appointment with our Houston area vein specialists today. We can get a better picture of your current risk factors, and help you with diet and lifestyle changes to treat any existing issues.

 

 

 

Sources: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Open Respiratory Medicine Journal

Can Lymphedema Exercises for Legs Help Me?

Are you wondering if there are lymphedema exercises for legs that will relieve swelling? We don’t blame you! After all, swollen legs aren’t just uncomfortable. They could be a sign of a serious condition called venous insufficiency. (Also called VI, this is a condition in which your veins fail to circulate blood properly, especially to your lower extremities). As a result, you may develop troubling symptoms. One common side effect of VI is edema (swelling) in your the lower legs. And when you experience edema for an extended period of time, you are more susceptible to venous ulcers, open wounds that develop on your legs as a result of increased vein pressure due to your malfunctioning venous valves.

While ulcers can be frightening, there are several ways in which we can treat these sores. First and foremost, it’s important to address the underlying cause of the problem–your venous insufficiency and edema.

To help control edema, we recommend that patients wear compression stockings; the pressure will help encourage pooling blood to flow out of your legs and back up to your heart, reducing the swelling you experience in your legs. Elevating your legs can help as well: if you put your feet up above the level of your heart, it will also encourage pooling blood to leave your legs.

But there’s two more ways we can control edema and VI, reducing your risk of venous ulcers: diet and exercise!

Dietary Changes to Prevent Swollen Legs

If you’ve noticed swelling in your legs, it’s a great time to start changing your diet! First and foremost, cut back on your salt intake. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to water retention, making your edema symptoms worsen. Keep in mind that lots of canned soups, snacks, cheeses and even pickles are high in sodium, so it’s not enough to just bypass the salt shaker.

Next up on the dietary schedule? Drink more water. While it may seem strange, increasing your fluid intake can actually help flush retained fluid from your body. So, if edema is a problem for you, grab an 8-ounce water glass and start sipping!

Not a fan of H20? While water is best, other liquids may help you fight fluid retention. Some people find benefits from sipping dandelion tea. But since this fluid can interact with your medications, you should never drink this brew without your doctor’s approval. A safer choice? Try drinking lemon water! This will add a bit of pep to your regular water. And, as an added bonus, the lemon may help flush toxins–and excess fluid–out of your body! Finally, cranberry juice can also be a helpful beverage. Packed with magnesium, potassium and calcium, cranberry juice may help maintain proper fluid balance in your body. (Plus, it could help prevent urinary tract infections!)

Now, other nutrients may also help avoid water retention, but if your edema is related to vein disease, you should discuss serious dietary changes with your vein specialist. And you should also take a look at your exercise routine!

Lymphedema Exercises for Legs to Prevent Ulcers

As long as your doctor has cleared you for physical activity, certain forms of lymphedema exercises for legs can help manage VI, edema and ulcers. Exercises that are particularly effective include:

Walk your way to a lower risk of vein disease!
  • Ankle flexions (point your toes forward, away from the body, then flex them, pulling the toes toward your shin). The exercise is even more effective if performed while standing, or with the addition of a resistance band will further enhance the effects.
  • Brisk walking intervals, scattered throughout the day, will strengthen your calf muscle, helping it contract and push blood out of your lower legs.
  • Treadmill walking, especially at an incline, if this is possible for you, will further strengthen your calf muscles. If you aren’t up to treadmill walking, you can get similar benefits from rocking in a rocking chair, pushing off the ground with your feet to rock.
  • If you already have lymphedema, swimming is an excellent choice. It works because you’re horizontal and in constant motion, without impact on your legs.
  • Riding a recumbent bike is also a good choice because you’ll keep your legs slightly elevated and in motion. But you’ll do so with little impact on your lower body.

Of course, the best way to prevent ulcers is to maintain ideal vein health. If you start to notice any signs of VI or edema, come in and schedule a diagnostic vein scan. That way, we can stay on top of your vein health before more serious problems set in.

 

Sources: thehealthsite.com, healthline.com 

5 Easy Exercises to Boost Circulation Now

Looking for easy exercises to boost circulation? Well, you’ve come to the right place. And just in the nick of time!

After all, when you have vein disease, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, from tired heavy legs to changes in the appearance of your skin. One potential skin change you may experience could be very threatening to your health. And that’s developing a venous skin ulcer. (This is a sore on your leg that’s hard to heal, usually because your circulation isn’t working well.) While ulcers can be difficult to treat, but a new study is now suggesting that exercise, in combination with compression therapy, can help ulcers heal faster! Let’s take a closer look.

Exercises to Boost Circulation and Compression Therapy: A Powerful Combination

Compression socks will help your ulcer heal, but adding in exercise can speed up the process

According to research published in JAMA Dermatology, ulcer patients who tried compression therapy and exercise healed quicker than those who only used compression therapy. Compression therapy, usually in the form of socks or stockings, helps heal leg ulcers by directing more blood flow to your legs. In this new study, researchers reviewed clinical information for 190 patients, and found that healing rates improved by 14% when patients were prescribed compression therapy and exercise, as compared to compression therapy alone. For the purposes of this review, the exercise included walking and ankle exercises, both of which improve blood flow and strengthen calf muscles. Strong calf muscles can help manage the symptoms of vein disease because, when they contract properly, those muscles can help give blood the push it needs to make its way back to your heart.

As Houston vein specialists, we are dedicated to improving vein health and helping people heal from vein disease. With that goal in mind, we dedicate frequent Monday blog posts to exercises that may help improve your vein health. Given the  findings in this study, today’s post will highlight ankle exercises you can do from anywhere, and without any equipment. As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan!

Five Ankle Strengthening Exercises to Boost Circulation Exercises to boost circulation

  • Standing on one foot: Begin by just standing on one leg at a time, and holding the position for as long as you can. Once that becomes fairly easy to pull off, try doing the same thing, but with your eyes closed.
  • Standing calf raises: Lift yourself up on your toes for 15 reps, taking a brief pause between sets. If you are ready for more of a challenge, do the exercise on one leg at a time, or hold a light set of weights while you do the raises
  • Heel walks: Lift your toes and forefoot off the ground. Walk back and forth across the room, balancing on your heels.
  • Hop Around: Stand on your right leg. Hop forward, sideways and backward up to 30 repetitions, if you are ready for that kind of challenge. Then switch legs and repeat the moves on your left foot.
  • Skater jumps: Start in a standing position on your left leg. Propel yourself to the right using the muscles in your left glute, and land on your right leg with a bent knee. Jump back to the left side, using the muscles in your right glute to move you over.

How and Why to Stick With Your Leg Ulcer Care

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve stayed home more, often delaying medical care. Of course, this means delaying procedures that are purely optional. But if you’ve developed a leg ulcer, your treatment and follow-up care isn’t optional. In fact, it’s crucial to your health—especially in terms of preventing amputations!

Under the circumstances, we’d like to share a suggested screening protocol for your vein specialist visit. Keep in mind, every office visit will be different. But if you’ve had or are currently dealing with a leg ulcer, consider this your assessment guidelines.

What is a Leg Ulcer and Why Would I Get One?

Leg ulcers are just open sores that don’t heal in the typical time-frame. Often, you develop leg ulcers if you have chronic vein problems. Typically, they develop around your ankle, ranging in size from very small to several inches in diameter. Sometimes, these sores don’t hurt that much. But, for many patients, their venous ulcers become very painful and develop infections.

Why does chronic vein disease lead to ulcer development? CVD causes inflammation in your body, and that inflammation damages your capillaries and lymphatic ducts. This damage allows fluid to leak out of your capillaries, which can cause swelling in your lower legs. And, as fluid builds up in your leg’s soft tissue, sores may develop.

So, now you’ve got a sore. But why won’t it heal? Here’s the story: that capillary damage also means your lower legs have lower oxygen levels. And less oxygen inhibits your body’s ability to heal itself. That’s when your open sores or ulcers stick around. Unless, of course, you seek treatment.

What Your Vein Specialist Will Do During Your Ulcer Visit

When you come into our Houston area vein clinics, we’re going to address your ulcer. But we’ll also treat your underlying condition, so you don’t keep dealing with these open sores.

In order to treat your ulcer, we’ll take a two-pronged approach: wound care and compression therapy. We’ll care for your wound by keeping the sore clean to prevent infection. And we’ll dress it with sterile bandages to keep your wound clean.

We’ll also recommend appropriate compression therapy, in the form of prescription level compression stockings. These stockings will increase blood flow to your lower legs, which will help speed up your healing process.

New Medication for Leg Ulcers

Studies now suggest that a drug called Oxybryta could play an important role in leg ulcer care if you have sickle cell anemia. While anyone with vein issues may develop leg ulcers, between 14% and 18% of people with sickle cell will get one.

Right now, this drug is only approved for treating leg ulcers in people with sickle cell disease who are over the age of 12. Still, it’s promising news for anyone with compromised circulation or a risk for leg ulcers. And we’ll carefully watch this and other developments to help offer the best leg ulcer care to our patients.

Continued Treatment After Healing

Once your wound is on the path to healing, we can address your underlying vein condition. To do so, we’ll close up the vein that isn’t working properly. Once closed off, blood will flow through the veins that are working appropriately, helping return optimal oxygen levels to your lower legs, and preventing further complications.

We know these are scary times, but leg ulcers are also scary medical developments. So we don’t want you to compromise your vein or limb health out of fear. Please know that we are taking every precaution in our office to protect you and our team members. So don’t wait another day to address your vein health. Make an appointment today to address your ulcers and underlying conditions.

Sources: American Journal of Hematology, Healthcare Improvement Scotland,

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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