Tag: vein specialists

When Should I Treat PAD?

Are you wondering, when should I treat PAD? This read is for you because, if you’re showing signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), you may be scared. Chances are you’re experiencing symptoms such as leg cramps when you walk, changes in skin color, cold or numb feet, or even ulcers. Obviously, you want relief from the discomfort. But we understand that you may live quite some distance from our Houston area offices. (That’s why we still offer Telemedicine appointments for many vein conditions.) PAD magnified

Still, you need to understand that PAD poses a very serious risk to your health. In fact, studies show that having PAD is one of the strongest predictors for cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. In other words, it’s not something you ignore, or even delay addressing. Want to learn more? Just keep reading!

When Should I Treat PAD? When Symptoms Develop

It’s important to seek PAD treatment as soon as you notice symptoms. The most common symptom of PAD is leg cramps. They tend to appear when you’re walking or exercising, and improve when you rest.

But other symptoms could mean you have PAD. Another common PAD sign is having cold feet. Now, in some cases, cold feet and hands just mean your blood flow is compromised. Other times, cold feet are a sign that narrowed arteries are restricting blood flow to your extremities. If that’s the case, you need immediate PAD treatment. Otherwise, your risk for cardiovascular disease will increase dramatically.

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease impacts your heart and blood vessels. It takes many forms, including atherosclerosis (narrowing of your arteries due to the build-up of ‘plaque.’) But, basically, it encompasses four main conditions: strokes, aortic disease, coronary heart disease, and peripheral arterial disease. Cardiovascular disease is very serious. It is still the leading cause of death in the United States—meaning it’s still more life-threatening than the Coronavirus.

Given the serious nature of heart-related conditions, you must stay on top of problems like PAD, even now. Because, according to our study, doing so could mean the difference between progressive heart disease or improved health.

In this new study from Penn State University, researchers explored the connection between your heart health and your blood pressure, diet, and physical activity levels. To reach its findings, the study followed over 74,000 participants for a few years, watching their lifestyle patterns and their cardiovascular health. Here’s what they found.

How Can I Prevent Heart Disease?

angioplasty for PAD

In order to really reduce your risk for cardiovascular problems, participants needed to follow the American Heart Association’s 7 measures for good heart health. They involving maintaining healthy cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels. You must also exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, follow a healthy diet and avoid or quit smoking.

Interestingly, the study discovered that each of these seven measures is equally important. Doing just one is obviously better than nothing; but they have the highest heart-protecting power when they work together.

In other words, if you’re still deciding when to treat your PAD, the answer is: right now. Because even minimally-invasive PAD treatment offers lasting relief.

Restored Blood Flow Translates to Pain Relief

Findings presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 reveals that restoring blood flow with an arterial stent or balloon angioplasty reduces pain and improves quality of life for patients with PAD. (We offer both these endovascular treatments in our Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, Clear Lake and the Woodlands locations.)

In contrast, a recent statement from the American Heart Association says that the quality of life toll that PAD takes on your daily life “cannot be overstated.” And the impact isn’t just one you’ll feel in the short-term. Why is that the case?

Once atherosclerosis limits blood flow to your legs, that’s already a sign you’ve got cardiovascular problems. And that means your car’s on the road to more serious complications. So, before you get stuck in the traffic jam leading to strokes or heart attacks, take a detour to better health.

Need help finding that off-ramp? Request an appointment with our Houston area PAD specialists today. We are here to offer timely PAD treatment.

Sources:

Journal of Cardiology, “Association of Trajectory of Cardiovascular Health Score and Incident Cardiovascular Disease.”

 

 

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 

Why Going Barefoot Hurts Your Veins

Hello to all our at-home readers out there: we’re here to talk about going barefoot. Did you use the COVID shut downs 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. 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. Which is very important, if you want to avoid long term damage to your veins or arteries. Not to mention conditions such as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD.)

Going Barefoot and PAD

If you develop swelling or leg pain after going barefoot, that could spell problems for your arteries, too. How could that be? Well, PAD is a condition that develops when your arteries narrow (atherosclerosis.) But many patients miss or delay a PAD diagnosis. Because it’s symptoms (including leg pain, and changes in skin color on your legs) look like other problems.

Other things add to the trouble when it comes to diagnosing PAD. Recently, presenters at the American College of Cardiology‘s annual conference noticed that there’s a research gap when it comes to PAD patients. Already, doctors are trying to close that gap with new studies like the Voyager PAD trial.

But as researcher Mar Bonaca, MD, said, “I think that has to change…The PAD patient is complicated…They are at very high risk of limb events. And the risk there is not the same over time.” He also noted, “We need to understand what therapies do, their risks and benefits in a fragile population, and we need to look at outcomes that are relevant for this population.”

We could not agree more! In our Houston area vein clinics, we already make a major difference for PAD patients, by offering treatments such as angioplasty, stenting or atherectomy. But we also want to do our part and educate people about their PAD disease risk. Which is why, for now, we ask you to stop going barefoot. To pay attention to any unusual new symptoms in your legs. And to make an appointment with our specialists at the first sign of any changes in the look or appearance of your legs!

Sources: Footwear News

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