Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hidden signs of vein disease

Sometimes vein disease is unmistakable. Large, bulging varicose veins are a sure sign, as are bluish spider veins. But sometimes vein issues are harder to detect.

The 65-year-old woman in the picture to the right sought help because of veins in her right leg, but in her initial evaluation it became apparent through skilled ultrasound mapping that both legs were affected. Even she didn’t realize the disease was actually worse in her left leg than her right.

Other symptoms that may indicate vein problems are heaviness or aching in the legs. Swelling, throbbing, cramping, or burning sensations in the leg are other signs, as are restless legs. If you think you might be suffering from one or more symptoms of vein disease, ask yourself these 12 questions to find out more.

As for the patient in the picture, she had EVLA treatment on both legs, followed by ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. Both of her legs – and her quality of life – have distinctly improved.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Can I get vein treatment if I’m on blood thinners or chronic pain medication?

Yes, it is possible to be treated for venous issues when taking either blood thinners or chronic pain medications. In fact, for people who take these types of medications, treating their veins is not only possible, but can even be advantageous.

Blood thinners should not be an issue for someone receiving vein treatment, although those patients may be more prone to post-op bruising. However, blood thinners can be a relative contraindication – reason to withhold a certain medical treatment due to possible harm – in some cases. Your board-certified vein specialist should discuss with you if that is a potential issue.

As for chronic pain medications, this should have no bearing at all on vein procedures. In many cases, patients who are prescribed pain medication for leg pain are able to discontinue taking their chronic pain medications after their venous issues have been resolved.

The standard protocol at the VeinHealthcare Center is to offer patients a muscle relaxant before treatment – not because the procedure itself is painful, but because the time spent lying on the exam table may cause a strain on their neck or back. Every patient is different in this regard, and we offer pillows, bolts, blankets and hot packs to make the experience as comfortable as possible, whether the patient opts for pain medication or not.

Of course, patients should always tell their physician and care team about any medications that he or she is taking, no matter what the medical treatment, including vein treatment.