Thursday, October 31, 2013

Books about vein health

More and more, patients are turning to their computers (and mobile devices) to gather information about health-related topics. But don’t forget about “good ol’ fashioned” books! There are a number of publications that can help people make informed decisions about their leg health and overall wellness.

Published by the American College of Phlebology (ACP), Healthy Veins…Healthy Legs was written by established vein specialists around the country. The Vein Healthcare Center’s own Dr. Cindy Asbjornsen contributed the chapter about risk factors and other causes for vein problems. The book gives patients a comprehensive look at vein disease, plus practical tips for prevention and management.

Many VHC patients turn to Understanding Venous Disease to learn more. The book, written by Dr. Asbjornsen, provides an overview of venous disease, including complications and the latest procedures. It also discusses alternative and conservative treatments.
Another consumer-friendly book is Say Goodbye to Varicose Veins & Spider Veins Now! by Dr. Greg Martin, a board certified phlebologist in Georgia. The book is written in a very accessible style that’s easy to understand.

For health professionals, the third (and latest) edition of Fundamentals of Phlebology: Venous Disease for Clinicians is soon to come out. It is considered “the Bible” for phlebologists other allied healthcare professionals who incorporate venous disease treatment in their practices.
Happy reading!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Alternative treatments for vein disease

For many years, most patients solely accepted the traditional Western world approach to medicine and health. A lot has changed in the last two decades. Remedies that many once regarded as “wacky,” such as acupuncture and meditation, are now quite common. Ask any kid and she can show you at least one yoga pose. There are alternatives in vein care, as well.

While there are proven, minimally invastive treatments for venous disease— endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and sclerotherapy, chief among them— there is growing interest in the effectiveness of herbal supplements and alternative medications. 

Butcher’s broom, gotu kola and horse chestnut extract are just a few of the natural, plant-based medicines that are available over the counter. Diosmin, one citrus-based compound, is considered a “medical food” and is available with a doctor’s prescription. (We take a closer look in Vein Health News; just click on the “Women and Veins” issue and turn to page 12.)

Current research on these and other herbs is promising, but it’s important to remember that while herbal treatments may help eliminate symptoms, their benefits are limited to the period of time that the medication is being taken. They do not fix the underlying cause of the symptoms. 

Something else to note: alternative medications are not regulated in the U.S. If you are considering taking them, understand the proper dosage recommendations, risks, and side effects. Some herbal supplements can be toxic if taken improperly. Work with your doctor (ideally, a board-certified phlebologist) and stay safe!