Friday, January 17, 2014

Healthy Veins in the Winter

The winter tends to be a good time for people with vein issues, like varicose veins or venous ulcers. According to Dr. Cindy Asbjornsen of the Vein Healthcare Center, the heat of summer actually causes veins to dilate or stretch, and symptoms often become worse. She finds that people are more likely to pursue vein treatments in the winter months because of the need for compression stockings post treatment.

Compression stockings or socks are therapeutic hosiery designed to increase blood circulation by placing pressure on the lower leg, foot and, in some cases, the thigh. Graduated compression stockings have strong elastics that are tightest at the ankles and then gradually become less constrictive toward the knees and thighs. They can be used after vein treatment or, in some cases, as a supplement to treatment.

During wintertime, patients with vein problems are much more likely to wear their compression stockings, treating them like a welcome layer of insulation, like longjohns. Though compression stockings won't completely cure a vein problem, they can dramatically improve the symptoms and keep an existing issue from escalating.

One drawback of winter is that many people prefer to stay indoors to avoid the cold. But less walking and more sitting is the worst thing one can do to keep legs healthy— or to keep bad legs from getting worse. So what’s the answer?

Walk, even if it’s just around the house. Dr. Asbjornsen has one dedicated patient who walks for two minutes, 15 times a day— by taking a stroll around her house every half-hour! Of course, if you belong to a gym or fitness club, get in there and hop on a treadmill.

Another option is the mall. Walking around inside a mall, or even a grocery store or large department store, can go a long way toward venous disease recovery and prevention. Walking just thirty minutes every day keeps the muscles of the lower legs healthy.

Whatever the season, if you're experiencing symptoms of venous insufficiency, the sooner you address it, the better. Left untreated, the problem could get much worse. Treatment can stop the progression of the disease and its complications for those in its early stages, and for those struggling with late-stage symptoms, it can restore health and quality of life.

Friday, January 3, 2014

3 reasons to visit a vein specialist this year

At the start of a new year, many people schedule visits to their family doctor, dentist and other physicians, but who should plan to visit a vein doctor, and why? People often discount their bulging or uncomfortable veins because they’ve been told for years that such issues are merely cosmetic and never covered by insurance. Not true!

Today, venous disease and its accompanying symptoms— including, but not limited to, varicose veins— are recognized for the health issues they truly are. Improving one’s quality of life also shouldn’t be underestimated, so here are just three reasons to consider an evaluation with an experienced, board-certified phlebologist:

1. You’re embarrassed to show your legs – Whether you have thick, ropy varicose veins, or spindly spider veins, there are modern, minimally invasive procedures to treat an array of vein disorders. While varicose veins can hinder confidence and the ability to participate fully in life’s activities, venous disease is never simply cosmetic. It is a progressive disease that can lead to incapacitating symptoms, heightened pain, and intensified health concerns.

2. Your legs often feel tired or heavy – These are two of the most common (and early) symptoms of a vein problem. Intense leg fatigue at the end of the day is a sign. Heaviness is usually a result of mild swelling due to poor venous return (blood flow back up to the heart). These symptoms can be easily treated with compression stockings or other minimally invasive therapies.

3. “Bad veins” run in the family – Approximately 60% of people who have one first-degree relative with venous issues will also have issues. That statistic shoots to almost 90% if someone has two first-degree relatives with vein problems. Many bleeding and blood clotting disorders are also hereditary. If someone has a family history, s/he should be proactive about vein disease prevention and consider going to a vein specialist for a baseline evaluation.

If you have any questions about problem veins, or just don't know where to begin, give us a call at the Vein Healthcare Center. We'll work with you understand venous disease and what your options for treatment may be.