Tag: varicose veins

Here’s the Lowdown on Stress and Varicose Veins

Stress is a part of our daily lives. And, as you probably know already, stress can take a toll on many different aspects of our health. But have you ever wondered whether stress can affect your vein health? As it turns out, the answer isn’t so black and white. Let’s take a closer look.

The Effect of Stress on Your Body

One of the first physical symptoms of stress is a rise in your blood pressure. If stress becomes chronic, and your blood pressure remains elevated, the unusual pressure can weaken your blood vessels. When blood vessels are weak, your circulation gets worse, allowing blood to pool in your veins. And when blood pools in your veins, they become dark and bulge out—and, voila, you start to notice varicose veins!

Don’t think that stress adds up? Consider this statistic. So many adults today face chronic stress. As a result, it’s almost not surprising that estimates suggest over 30% of adults suffer from this condition.

Now, that’s one way in which stress can impact your vein health. But, wait…there’s more. Have you ever heard of the expression stress eating? It was coined because people tend to make poor dietary choices when they are under stress. Over time, those poor choices can lead to weight gain. Plus, stress hormones—namely, cortisol—increase your blood sugar levels, which can impact your hunger levels, making weight gain and obesity even more likely. And obesity increases your risk of developing varicose veins because added weight puts added pressure on your veins. Additionally, if you are extremely obese, it may be harder to see your legs. So, if varicose veins develop and go unnoticed, they may worsen and progress to the point where serious complications like leg ulcers develop.

Fighting Stress and Varicose Veins with Movement leg exercise

Stress leads to weight gain, as we’ve just shown, and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Even 30 minutes a day of walking can help keep the pounds off, protecting your vein health in the process. But that’s not all—exercise can improve circulation, fighting off additional side effects of stress. And, exercise releases feel-good endorphins, which work as nice counterbalances to stress-related cortisol.

In short, stress takes a toll on your well-being, from your mental health down to your veins. And one great solution to all these problems? Exercise! Need inspiration for stepping up your workout routines? Follow our #MoveitMonday series here on the blog, and check out our movement board on Pinterest!

5 Reasons to Sleep on Your Side

Did you know that sleep on your side could save your health? Yup, it’s true. While it may not seem like a big deal, the side you sleep on, and how much sleep you get, can impact how your whole body works.

And guess what else? There’s a direct connection between sleep and vein health. Because, when you have varicose veins, studies show that symptoms such as leg cramps and itchiness are worst at night, making it harder for you to get enough rest. Want to get back on track with your sleep and learn your best positioning? From your vein health to your heart function and so much more, we’re guessing this post will get you switching up your sleep position.

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

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

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

Sleep on Your Side to Boost Vein Health

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

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

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

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

 

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

What’s the Varicose Vein Treatment for Men?

Are you exploring varicose vein treatment for men? We know people always say that men make the worst patients. And, as it turns out, that may actually be true!

Here’s the story. Statistics show that men are less likely than women to seek treatment for what they consider ‘minor health issues.’ Unfortunately, many people think of varicose veins as a simple cosmetic problem. So men are unlikely to seek medical attention for these bulging veins.

But this thinking is a problem. Because varicose veins aren’t just ugly: they can be a sign of more serious medical conditions like chronic venous disease (CVD).  For that reason, you can’t dismiss vein-related health issues. In fact, if they’re left untreated, those veins can actually cause life-threatening health complications.

Varicose Veins are not a Gender Issue

Varicose veins affect men and women of all ages. Now, while older individuals have a higher risk, they can develop at any age. And that happens when blood pools in the veins of your lower extremities, causing them to stretch out. Over time, they stop returning to their normal size, leaving them swollen, bumpy and visible through your skin.

Aside from age, risk factors for varicose veins in men include family history, standing in one spot for too long, and a sedentary lifestyle. Early on, varicose veins may be irritating at worst. Then, as your disease progresses, the veins can become so swollen that their valves no longer meet close completely. Which is a big problem, since that allows blood to flow in the wrong direction. (We call that reflux.)

As we mentioned before, varicose veins are more common in seniors. (That’s due to the loss of tissue and muscle mass and weakening of venous walls that naturally occurs with age.) But they can strike at any age, and are very common in men. In fact, approximately 45 percent of men will have varicose veins at some point in their life.

men

The likelihood of developing varicose veins is higher if you have a family history of vein-related health issues. Standing for long periods during the day and sitting for too long also increases the risk of varicose veins.

Worried you’ve got a problem? Symptoms of chronic venous disease include heaviness, pain, cramps, and swelling in the legs. On their own, or together, they  can keep you from your daily activities.

Health Risks of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are often the first sign of a serious, progressive condition called venous disease. Varicose veins can progress to cause swelling in the legs and hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) in the ankle area, caused by blood pooling in the veins. When this occurs, it is not unusual to develop painful, debilitating ulcers in the skin above the ankles on the inside of the leg.

Varicose veins also put you at risk for blood clots, ulcers, and other painful and dangerous conditions. When blood pools in the legs as a result of varicose veins, it can easily develop into phlebitis, a superficial but painful blood clot that is not usually life threatening. However, if left untreated, phlebitis can worsen and grow into deep veins, where pieces of the clot may break off and move through the blood stream. Traveling bits of blood clots may become lodged in the lungs and cause a life-threatening blockage called a pulmonary embolism.

While a greater percentage of women get varicose veins than men, men often develop more severe cases. This is largely because men frequently ignore the signs of vein problems until they experience significant discomfort, while women are more likely to seek treatment before dangerous complications have a chance to arise.

Varicose Vein Treatment for Men (and Women)

Varicose veins are usually easy to treat, especially if we catch them early.

For minor cases, wearing compression socks is often enough to keep blood from pooling in the veins and keep it moving back to the heart. Exercise regularly to improve blood flow.  And think about limiting your salt intake. Remember, men who notice signs of varicose veins should consult a doctor right away. So they can choose simple treatments like switching to a different type of socks.

In more severe cases of varicose veins, it may be necessary to have veins treated with lasers in a process called radiofrequency laser ablation (RFA). In this quick outpatient procedure, energy is applied through a laser fiber inserted into the vein to collapse and seal it shut, which causes blood to be diverted into healthy veins nearby instead. The procedure is generally painless and takes about thirty minutes. Afterward you can return to work and resume normal activities almost immediately.

Want to hear even better news? Research from the Journal of Vascular Surgery proves that, after two years, RFA offers similar results to surgeries that remove varicose veins. Even better? with RFA, you don’t have to worry about hospital stays or extended recovery time. While you will have to follow our specialists’ post procedure instructions, you should be able to return to your daily activities almost immediately.

So listen up guys: if you suspect you may have varicose veins or venous disease, contact Texas Endovascular today to schedule an appointment. Don’t push off a consult: if you wait until your varicose veins progress, you may find yourself dealing with a more serious, potentially life-threatening condition.

Is medical glue a good varicose vein treatment?

Looking for varicose vein treatment? When we see patients for varicose vein treatment in our Houston area vein centers, they’re often a symptom of venous insufficiency. That’s a condition that can cause more serious health issues. These include high blood pressure, venous ulcers and so much more. In other words, varicose veins can be dangerous and unattractive. So treating these bulging, prominent veins is more than just a cosmetic decision: it’s imperative to your overall health.

Once you’ve decided to treat varicose veins, the question remains: what method will serve you best?

Procedures to get rid of varicose veins have come a long way, and, today, you’ve got many different options. At one time, patients with vein disease weren’t so lucky. Some chose a procedure commonly known as “vein stripping,” which was an inpatient surgery requiring general anesthesia, hospital admission, and a long, painful recovery period.

Now, this treatment option was highly invasive. So it wasn’t safe for some patients with pre-existing health conditions, including even mild liver disease. (Also called cirrhosis.) For that reason, many patients were left suffering, because the treatment risks were too high.

Even patients who could tolerate vein stripping faced a tough road. After that invasive therapy, patients had to take off time from work or school while they healed! Thankfully, those days are behind us! In our office, we offer a range of minimally invasive varicose vein treatments.

And we’re constantly watching the news for treatment development. Recently, one option involving medical glue was approved by the NHS in the UK. So, today, we wanted to discuss the effectiveness of this treatment.

Medical Glue and Varicose Veins Reasons for a Vein Evaluation

As we mentioned before, varicose veins are a symptom of a blood flow problem. When your valves fail, that allows blood to flow backward, instead of going against gravity and returning to your heart. As the blood sticks around your lower extremities, those veins in your legs get stretched, bulging and visible through your skin.

That’s where a medical glue product called VenaSeal is introduced. Using a small catheter, providers insert the glue into your vein to stop your blood from flowing backward into your legs. They often use a local anesthetic  alongside the glue to prevent any pain. The glue basically stops up the faulty vein so it can’t continue to cause problems. Afterward, many patients can avoid wearing compression stockings.

Now, VenaSeal can be effective. (In fact, this study suggests efficacy rates as high as 98%.) But some factors may impact its usefulness. First, you have to insert the glue into just the right spot, or backflow may continue. Additionally, it’s not yet cleared for use in pregnant women, and long term safety studies are still in the works.

Sclerotherapy and Ablation for Varicose Vein Treatment

Looking for an alternative to VenaSeal? Sclerotherapy is a great option using an ultrasound to access your varicose vein, under the skin, with a very small needle. Next, we mix medication with carbon dioxide gas to create a foam that we inject directly into the abnormal vein, closing it permanently. We recommend sclerotherapy for veins that aren’t yet bulging.

Now, for bulging varicose veins, radiofrequency vein ablation may be a better option. RFA is also a minimally invasive procedure involving the insertion of a catheter into your abnormal vein. We then supply it with heat energy, closing the vein permanently. Want the best news? We can perform RFA with just a local anesthetic. It is a virtually painless procedure that leaves virtually no scar. The procedure takes less than an hour to perform and patients can resume normal activities immediately afterward.

Before proceeding with radiofrequency ablation, or any other varicose vein treatment, your Houston vein specialists will perform a thorough medical examination, including a diagnostic ultrasound evaluation, to determine whether the procedure is appropriate for you. To find out the best treatment option for your medical reality, schedule your consult today!

 

Sources: Expert Review of Medical Devices, NHS.UK

 

What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Varicose Veins?

When you have bulging, painful varicose veins, you want them gone, but you need to know what’s the best way to get rid of varicose veins? 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!

Surgery and Varicose Veins: A Genetic Link best way to get rid of varicose veins: link to genetics

What’s the best way to get rid of varicose veins? A new study in Nature Communications suggests that some people’s genetics increase their risk for varicose vein surgery. This was the largest study to ever explore varicose veins, following over 400,000 individuals with varicose veins, plus another 400,000 of their relatives using the site 23andMe.

Now, it’s important to understand the genetic risks of developing these bulging veins. But here’s what’s even more exciting for your Houston vein specialists. In that same study, researchers noted that their findings pave the way for better treatments in the future. And, at least in our office, the future is now, thanks to our less invasive treatment options. Let’s take a closer look!

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. Before we get to the results of this study, let’s take a closer look at one of the options: Sclerotherapy!

What is Sclerotherapy?

The name of this varicose vein treatment comes from the words sclero,” (which means hard) and “therapeia,” (healing). With this treatment, we inject hardening agents to your varicose veins. This causes you to develop scar tissue in those veins. Then, it blocks blood flow, so your varicose veins shrink and eventually disappear.

Because the treatment involves an easy injection, it’s considered a minimally invasive procedure. But it’s not the best treatment for all varicose veins, since it works best for small vessels that are close to the surface of your skin. (In some cases, sclerotherapy may help heal your venous leg ulcers, too.)

Not everyone can handle this treatment option. You shouldn’t choose sclerotherapy if you’re pregnant or living with kidney disease, leukemia or HIV. Also, if you’ve had a blood clot or leg operation, this may not be your best treatment option.

So, now you understand what’s involved in this treatment option, let’s get back to answering our original question: which treatment option works best?

What’s the Best Varicose Vein Treatment? Science Weighs In! endovascular therapy boosts ischemia treatment

As we mentioned, the CLASS study compares the results of treating your veins with surgery or less invasive options. And the study didn’t just look at the 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 the 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

The Dos and Don’ts of Varicose Vein Exercises

Let’s talk about varicose vein exercises. We all know that exercise is good for your general health. But when vein disease gives you varicose veins, some exercises will help you, while others can hurt your condition. Usually, exercising more will make your veins bigger. That’s because they have to send all that pumping blood back to your heart. And, evidence suggests that the more you exercise, the healthier your veins will be as well. Basically, exercise gets your blood pumping, so it flows up your vein faster. That creates “shear stress” on your vein wall. Which causes vein wall cells to secrete nitric oxide. This is a chemical that preserves your vein wall health. So, for the most part, exercise is key to improving your vein health.

In certain cases, however, exercises may cause vein problems. Especially if you already have varicose veins. Want to get your veins healthy the right way? Read on for our ‘dos’ and don’ts’ of exercising with varicose veins. Please note that we recognize many readers will currently be avoiding the gym, so we’ve included recommendations for great, at-home exercise options.

The Best Exercises for Varicose Vein Sufferers

First things first: if you have vein disease, talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise programs. (If you’re planning to start a new routine right now, we can help get you cleared in office, or with a Telemedicine appointment on the secure Doxy platform.) Once you’re cleared for activity, our Houston area vein specialists recommend starting with low-impact workouts like walking, bicycling or swimming.

Why are these great choices? First of all, you can try any of these activities while following social distancing guidelines. Plus, we like vein disease sufferers to use their legs. When you do, you strengthen those muscles, making them contract harder  and helping push blood out of your legs and back up to your heart.

In other words, stronger calf muscles make for better circulation. And that means you’re likely to experience pooling blood and other complications associated with venous insufficiency.

And, in addition to circulatory benefits, you can expect to see other positive effects:  your will likely lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels and keep your blood pressure down, helping improve your vein health—and keeping the rest of your body in tip-top shape.

Varicose Vein Warnings for Cyclists

While bicycling is a good vein health exercise, be careful about extended cycling routines. Serious bicyclists are more vulnerable to a kind of varicose vein known as a perforator vein. Perforator veins take blood through your muscles to your deep veins, where it goes back up to your heart. Your legs have about 150 perforator veins, and their valves come under pressure when you bike. Why?biking exercise for varicose veins

Serious cycling puts lots of pressure on your calf muscles. It starts when you push pedals. Then, it causes huge pressure in your leg, which should cause your blood to push back to your heart. That’s why vein specialists often recommend bike riding as a good exercise for varicose veins.

Unfortunately, in some cases that pressure is too much for your valves, causing them to fail. While we don’t know exactly why this happens, studies suggest it could be a result of hunched postures or other contributing factors.

Want to prevent cycling complications? Just use caution when you bike ride. Try to practice good posture, and don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you already have varicose veins. After all, studies still suggest that your potential vein benefits outweigh the chance of popping a valve. So just proceed with caution and follow your doctor’s advice.

What Workouts Should I Avoid if I have Varicose Veins?

When you have varicose veins, some workouts might actually worsen your condition. We tell our patients to avoid exercises like lifting weights, squatting, or even some yoga poses. So now’s not the time for a new, at-home yoga routine. Without the guidance of an instructor, it will be hard to make vein-safe modifications.

Running can also be a problem. Now, it may be ok to take a light jog on a grassy surface or on a trail. But pounding your legs on a treadmill or concrete surface puts lots of pressure on your feet and legs. Which is a big problem for varicose veins.

Here’s why: Anything that increases pressure on your abdomen and lower body is not recommended, since it can reduce or stop the amount of blood flowing from your legs back to your heart. That, in turn, may allow blood to pool in your legs, causing your veins to stretch out and, possibly, fail.

It’s also important to know that high-impact exercises, such as running and jogging, may cause your varicose veins to swell more, although wearing compression stockings and sticking to soft training surfaces can help lessen the impact of this form of exercise. But walking is always a great, lower impact option!

When Should I Treat my Varicose Veins?

Contrary to what you may have heard, varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic concern. They are a sign that something has gone seriously wrong within your circulatory system. For that reason, you should see a vein specialist as soon as you notice a vein that’s getting darker or sticking out above the profile of your skin, even if our initial consult is remote. The earlier we catch and treat varicose veins, the less likely it is that your vein disease will be able to progress. So please reach out today and request a Telemedicine or in-office visit.

Sources: 220 Triathlon, Mayo Clinic, Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Are there Varicose Vein Complications? 7 Warning Signs to Watch For

Chronic vein conditions can lead to varicose vein complications. That’s why it’s important to treat those varicose veins quickly. Why is that the case? When you have this condition, you may develop varicose veins complications, many of which are serious. And you truly need to worry about these issues if you delay or forego vein treatment.

Are Varicose Veins Complications 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. Often, painful cramps go along with varicose veins. That can make it difficult to get around and do your regular activities.

But, if left untreated, your problems won’t stop there. Soon, you may notice other symptoms. Including these 7 complications of untreated varicose veins.

8 Symptoms of Untreated Vein Disease

  1. Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to swelling in your legs, also called edema.
  2. The swelling may be painful, so your legs can hurt, and need rest and elevation to feel better.
  3. You may experience fatigue since this study proves varicose vein complications can lead to restless leg syndrome. And that can disrupt your sleep, leaving you tired the next day. Alternatively, heavy legs can wear you out more throughout the day. Then, as this study shows, your legs may cramp more at night, making it harder to sleep. And the study shows this symptom is worse for women than for men.
  4. Next, 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.)
  5. 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 that resist healing.)
  6. Your skin can also change in appearance, turning dark and discolored. Over time, the skin may even thicken, and taken on a rough texture.
  7. Additionally, you’ll be more likely to experience bleeding episodes, some of which may be serious and require immediate medical attention.
  8. You’ll increase your risk for restless legs. This refers to a condition where you feel the constant urge to move your legs; it’s uncomfortable and can leave your sleep disturbed. About 30% of people with varicose veins experience restless leg symptoms, especially after bedtime.

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.

Treating Varicose Veins in Houston

After diagnosis, we can manage your vein health at home with some lifestyle changes. We can recommend compression garments to improve your blood flow, and reduce pooling and swelling. Plus, we can help you move more, which can also help varicose veins. And we can realistically determine whether you’ll need to schedule an in-office procedure to get rid of your varicose veins.

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: Harvard Health

American Heart Month: Show Your Heart Some Love This V-Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Did you know that the month of love is also American Heart Month, a time devoted to raising awareness about heart disease prevention. Heart disease is a more prevalent problem than cancer in this country, affecting so many Americans. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in this country. (It kills one out of every three women in this country.)

But why are your Houston area vein specialists talking about heart problems? Shouldn’t we stick to varicose veins? Well, as it turns out, protecting your heart can also help protect your veins. Here’s what you need to know,

Heart Month Update: Some Vein Issues are Actually Heart Problems

Your circulatory system is a team that consists of arteries, veins and your heart. Because all three work together, when any one team member is suffering, the entire group may be affected.

Venous insufficiency

When you have VI, not enough blood reaches your organs and extremities. And when that condition sets in, blood can collect or “pool”, in your veins. This pooling can lead to a domino effect—arteries may lose their ability to efficiently carry blood away from your heart, and the already struggling veins won’t be able to bring it back! And when blood stays stuck in places it doesn’t belong, you may start to develop…

Varicose and spider veins

Those bulging veins, most often seen along your leg, are unsightly, but they can often be a sign of a much bigger issue. In addition to being uncomfortable or even painful, the elevated vein pressure inside of those varicose veins has been linked to right-sided heart failure. Scary, we know…but the story doesn’t stop there! Circulatory problems can also lead to an elevated risk of:

Blood clots

Blood clots can cause kill you, plain and simple. The body naturally forms blood clots when you get a cut or other form of injury, but when they form inside your veins or arteries, the resulting decrease in blood flow can cause a stroke or heart attack. When you develop a clot in the deep veins of your legs, (Deep Vein Thrombosis, a condition for which you are at risk if you have varicose veins), the clot may break free without your knowledge, traveling to your lungs (pulmonary embolism) where it becomes a potentially fatal condition.

So, if you want to show yourself some love this V-day, make some moves to protect your veins, heart and your entire circulatory system. Here are some important steps you can take to protect your heart health:

Heart Month (and Vein) Saving Lifestyle Changes

We know that some of these changes may be more difficult than others, but here’s the good news: it’s not an all or nothing game! Even shooting for one simple lifestyle change can help you make important health gains. And who knows? Once you start feeling better, you may be inspired to keep on making positive changes! Or to consider scheduling a diagnostic ultrasound with our team of Houston area vein and PAD specialists.

 

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!

Check out the Gel and Bandage that Could Cure Leg Ulcers

If you have untreated vascular disease, you could develop leg ulcers. These open sores often develop just above your ankle, on the inside of your leg. But, what causes them to develop? When your veins aren’t functioning well—as is the case if you’ve got varicose veins —the pressure inside those veins can build up rapidly. And, if that pressure isn’t relieved, it can damage your skin, leaving you with open sores. Plus, once those sores develop, they are slower to heal.  Why? The answer lies in your circulation problems.

Without getting enough oxygen-rich blood, the skin on your legs can’t regenerate as well as it should. And this can make it harder for wounds to heal. Which is why, as Houston vein specialists, we’re very excited about a newly developed wound treatment. And a new bandage that can detect wound healing. Want to hear the coolest part? The former is developed from blood! And the latter does its work wirelessly!

Using Blood to Speed Up Wound Healing Fish Oil

According to a study in Advances in Skin and Wound Care, researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a gel, made from blood, that’s speeding up healing times for ulcers. Typically, these ulcers take at least three months to heal but, studies show that for at least 14% of patients, wounds are still a problem one whole year later. And, for others, the wounds just don’t heal, making it necessary to amputate.

For all these reasons, a new, faster wound treatment is a very big deal. So, how does the new gel work? Doctors take a little more than a teaspoon of your own blood and spin it around in a piece of equipment called a centrifuge.

While your blood spins, your plasma gets separated from the other parts of your blood. Plasma is rich in platelets, and platelet are full of ‘growth factors’ that boost your body’s healing. Once your plasma has been isolated, it gets mixed with a few other compounds, and, in about 30 seconds, it takes on a gel form. Your doctor puts that gel on your wound right away, and then covers the area with a bandage to help your wound heal faster.

But, you may be wondering, just how effective is the gel? Forty-eight percent of patients treated with gel had full wound healing, compared to 30% of patients treated with other methods. And, even more exciting news: the healing time was cut in half! Wounds had shrunk by 50% in 21 days for patients using the gel. Patients not using the gel had to wait 42 days to get that same result.

While the gel is still being studied, the results are certainly exciting. We can’t wait to learn more about this therapy, which harnesses your own body’s potential to self-heal!

Detecting Wound Healing with a Wireless Bandage

Scientists at the National University of Singapore just developed a wearable sensor that wirelessly assesses your wound through an app. It can test the temperature, pH, bacteria type and inflammation levels in your ulcer. And it can do so in just 15 minutes, meaning you get fast accurate results. Without disturbing the wound dressing!  Or, in many cases, without forcing you to make the long trip into your doctor’s office.

Changing the Game

Wireless wound assessment reflects a major treatment turning point. Right now, we have to visually inspect ulcers, often collecting fluid from your wounds to help decide the most effective treatment options. The process takes a few days. And it means we need to dress and undress your open sore, which can slow the healing process since it disturbs the sensitive tissue.

But with VeCare, this new bandage, we’d dress your ulcer with one layer that touches your wound. Then, a breathable barrier covers that layer, with an electronic chip, a fluid collector and a flexible immunosensor forming the top layer. The combination allows us to quickly track your wound’s healing and drive treatment choices. All without leaving you open to infection.

Currently, this bandage isn’t available for mass distribution. But the research team is working on rolling their bandage out to the public. And our team of Houston vein specialists will keep you posted when it becomes available.

Leg Ulcers care in Houston, TX

For now, know that our team of vein specialists offers the latest in personalized wound care. Even better, we offer preventative vein treatments, so you never develop leg ulcers in the first place. Ready to take control of your vein health? Schedule a consultation at one of our vein centers today, with locations in Houston, Katy, Clear Lake, Sugar Land and the Woodlands!

 

 

 

 

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