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What Kind of Doctor Treats Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins can be both unsightly and embarrassing for patients. In many cases, they also cause uncomfortable symptoms. If you are struggling with varicose veins, you may wonder what type of doctor you should see to deal with this condition.

About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are abnormal veins that usually develop when the valves inside the veins stop working properly. Blood begins to flow backward and pool in the vein, causing it to dilate. If you have this condition, you may notice large, gnarled veins that may be blue, purple or red in color. They are most common on the legs, and they may be close to the surface of the skin or deep within the tissues. Some cases of varicose veins cause other symptoms as well, such as tingling, burning, cramping, weakness, and numbness in the affected leg. If varicose veins are left untreated, they may lead to more serious complications, such as ulcerations of the skin.

Varicose Vein Treatment

Patients who struggle with varicose veins can benefit from a variety of different treatment options available from a vascular surgeon. Some of the vein treatment options offered by vascular surgeons include procedures that close off the vein with a special adhesive, sclerotherapy and radiofrequency ablation. Each of these treatment options offers different advantages to patients. To find out which treatment options are best for you, you need to visit a qualified vascular surgeon.

Making an Appointment

If you have varicose veins or another type of vein abnormality, the experienced vascular surgeons at Premier Heart & Vein Care are here to help you find the right treatment. We offer a wide range of treatment options to meet the needs of almost any patient. Please contact us today to make an appointment.


Can You Detect Blocked Arteries From an ECG?

Cardiovascular problems are scary; simply not knowing enough about the health of your heart can lead to major medical problems later in life. Electrocardiography, the practice of measuring electrical signals to diagnose potential problems with the heart, gives medical staff a non-invasive way of reviewing the hearts’ activity. An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) refers to the actual test. While often used for many medical procedures, an ECG holds great potential for diagnosing cardiovascular problems.

How Does Electrocardiography Work?

During the test, a series of five to 12 leads are placed on the chest and extremities. The leads have a gel-like backing that allows the machine to measure slight changes in electrical activity across the heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart, rate, and regularity of the heartbeat.

An ECG Can Recognize the Signs of Blocked Arteries.

Since the test identifies anomalies of heart rhythm, impaired blood flow to the heart, otherwise known as ischemia, says WebMD, can also be identified. The electrical signals may be fainter or diverge from expected patterns. Additional issues detected by an ECG include signs of a heart attack, thickened heart muscle, signs of a previous heart attack, long-term damage from an electrolyte imbalance, cholesterol, or high blood pressure, problems with the protective covering of the heart, the pericardial sac, or malfunctioning electrical nodes, reports

Unfortunately, the accuracy of diagnosing blocked arteries further from the heart when using an ECG decrease, so your cardiologist may recommend an ultrasound, which is a non-invasive test, like a carotid ultrasound, to check for blockages in the extremities or neck. Even if the test does not show slight variations, your cardiologist may recommend an ultrasound to rule out potential blockages of the arteries furthest from the heart.

Take Advantage of Non-Invasive Testing to Maintain Your Heart Health Now.

Healthy coronary arteries are key to a healthy body, and blockages in arteries further from the heart could lead to stroke and other major health problems. Since the test does not require downtime and can be completed in as little as five minutes, it is the easiest way to keep an eye out for blocked arteries. Of course, your cardiologist may also consider performing an ultrasound of arteries in the extremities and neck to gain a complete view of the health of your cardiovascular system.

If you have a personal or family history of heart or cardiovascular health problems, you need to visit Premier Heart & Vein Care. Even those without a history of heart problems can benefit from having their heart’s function checked with these easy, non-invasive tests. Book your appointment online, or call the office at 1-805-979-4777 today.

What Does the Electrocardiogram Test Known as an Ultrasound of the Carotid Artery Show?

Heart diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, have earned the nickname "silent killer" because they don't often have noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do start to become noticeable, the disease has progressed to a point where it may have caused serious, irreversible damage. Luckily, an electrocardiogram diagnostic test known as a carotid artery ultrasound can help.

What is a Carotid Artery Ultrasound?

A carotid artery ultrasound is a simple, non-invasive test that uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of the two main arteries located on the sides of the neck. These imagines, which are shown in real time, can show plaque that is forming in the arteries. The formation of plaque can cause clogs or narrowing of the arteries if left untreated. If the artery becomes too clogged or narrow it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

From start to finish the test takes between 15 to 30 minutes and can provide healthcare professionals with valuable information that can get patients the proper treatment for their heart disease.

Who Should Consider Undergoing This Electrocardiogram Diagnostic Test?

Since heart disease is often asymptomatic, many people believe they should have a carotid artery ultrasound performed "just in case". While performing this test "just in case" may give people peace of mind, it could subject some individuals to undergoing unnecessary testing.

Healthcare providers recommend performing carotid artery ultrasounds on certain individuals who have very specific symptoms, have a previous diagnosis of severe heart disease, or are considered at risk for heart disease.

A good candidate for carotid artery ultrasound may have the following:

  • Recently experienced a mini-stroke or a stroke
  • Abnormal sounds heard in the artery through a stethoscope
  • Potential blood clot in the carotid artery
  • A suspected tear or split that has occurred in the walls of the arteries
  • Recently underwent a procedure known as a carotid endarterectomy to clear any blockages caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries
  • Recently had a stent placed in the arteries
  • Symptoms that indicate the individual to be at risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke in the future
  • A family history of heart disease

If you have recently suffered a stroke or heart attack or you are at a high risk for heart disease, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist to get a carotid artery ultrasound. This diagnostic test could just save a life.

People located in or around the San Luis Obispo area can schedule an appointment at Premier Heart & Vein Care. Dr. Stevens will not only conduct a carotid artery ultrasound right in the office, but he can provide treatment recommendations and advice if anything should show up on the test. Call Premier Heart & Vein Care today to book an appointment.

Why Varicose Veins are More Common in Females

Gender plays a huge role in whether or not you get varicose veins. Discover why women are more susceptible to getting varicose or spider veins than men.

Varicose and Spider Veins are Caused by Increased Levels of Progesterone

Both males and females produce the hormone known as progesterone. However, women produce more than men. It is this increased production of progesterone that makes women more likely to experience varicose or spider veins.

Progesterone is a natural hormone that the body produces to help maintain several vital organs, but that isn't all it does. It also helps relax the walls of blood vessels. The relaxation of the blood vessel walls is what results in the development of varicose or spider veins.

Spider and varicose veins happen because the walls of the blood vessels weaken. When blood flows through the body it puts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. If the walls are weak the blood can start to pool in the leg which, over time, results in the development of varicose or spider veins.

Men can Still Get Spider and Varicose Veins

Just because men don't produce high amounts of progesterone, it doesn't mean they won't get varicose or spider veins. Other factors, such as weight, the type of food you eat, medications you take, and how frequent you exercise or move around, can increase or decrease your risk of getting varicose or spider veins.

Vein Treatment Options for Varicose and Spider Veins

At first, when varicose or spider veins start to develop they may be asymptomatic. However, as time goes on, they may cause more and more problems that interfere with your day-to-day life. Symptoms of varicose and spider veins can range from a dull ache or throb and skin discoloration to intense leg cramps, itching, and pain. It is best to seek treatment for varicose or spider veins before symptoms become problematic.

A number of vein treatment options exist for varicose and spider veins. Treatment options that may be recommended for these types of vein disorders include:

  • VenaSeal
  • Varithena
  • Venefit
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Cutera XEO – Laser

Most of these treatment options are non-invasive, relatively pain-free, and can be performed right at the vein clinic.

Dr. Stevens at Premier Heart & Vein Care in San Luis Obispo, California can provide you with recommendations for how to best treat your varicose and spider veins. During your first visit with Dr. Stevens, he will conduct a venous ultrasound exam and a physical exam. This allows him to accurately assess your case and create the best treatment plan for you.

If you believe you have varicose or spider veins don't wait to get treatment. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stevens.

How to Prevent Varicose Veins From Getting Worse

Varicose veins are a common problem that can be both painful and embarrassing. Unfortunately, once this condition develops, it tends to worsen over time without the right treatment. To prevent varicose veins from getting worse, you need to consult an experienced doctor for vein treatment as soon as possible.

About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are abnormal blood vessels that develop because of venous insufficiency, a condition that occurs when the valves in the veins weaken and allow blood to flow backward. They are most common in the legs, and they tend to be blue or purple in color. This condition may also cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain, cramping and numbness. These abnormal veins are often located deep within the tissues, but they may also protrude above the surface of the skin in some cases.

Conservative Treatments

When your condition isn't severe, you may be able to prevent it from getting worse by using conservative treatment options. For example, some patients find that wearing compression stockings can improve the symptoms of varicose veins. Elevating your legs and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing may also be beneficial. In addition, if you are overweight, losing excess weight could improve your condition as well.

Other Vein Treatment Options

If conservative treatments don't resolve your condition successfully, other treatment options are available. Not only will these treatments prevent your abnormal veins from getting worse, but they can even eliminate the appearance of these veins entirely. Some of these treatments include Venefit™, Varithena®, VenaSeal™ and sclerotherapy. Each of these treatments offers different advantages for patients. A qualified vein doctor will be able to help you determine which of these treatments is best for your needs.

To learn more about treatment for varicose veins, please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today to schedule a consultation.

Can an Electrocardiogram Detect a Heart Attack?

If it is believed you had a heart attack, your cardiologist may wish to have you undergo electrocardiography testing. This diagnostic testing, which involves running a test known as an electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG as it is sometimes called, can help provide your cardiologist with valuable information that shows the overall health of your heart.

What can a Cardiologist Learn from an EKG?

Cardiologists can learn a lot from running a single EKG test. Everything from the size of the heart and where it may be damaged to heart rhythm problems can be discovered with the results provided by this test.

Some of the things that can be discovered from the test results of an EKG include:

  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Electrolyte imbalances throughout the body that cause sudden or severe changes in the heart's activity
  • Insufficient blood flow leading to and away from the heart
  • Inflammation in the sac that surrounds the heart
  • Enlargement of the heart
  • Evidence of injury or damage to the heart

How EKG/ECG/Electrocardiogram Testing Helps in Regards to Heart Attacks

While EKG testing can be used to diagnosis a number of heart problems, it is most commonly used when there is a suspected heart attack. This testing can provide the information your cardiologist needs to determine whether you had a heart attack in the past or if you are currently experiencing one.

Even though this testing is valuable in detecting previous or current heart attacks, it does have one limitation – predicting the future. These tests cannot predict how likely you will be to experience any future heart attacks.

Just because the test cannot predict future heart attacks, it doesn't mean there is no way to predict if one will happen. Cardiologists can use a number of things, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other information obtained from electrocardiography testing, to determine your risk level. If you are at a high risk for experiencing future heart attacks, your cardiologist can provide treatment recommendations and lifestyle changes that may help lower your risk.

Who Needs an Electrocardiogram?

EKG/ECG/electrocardiograms are not considered a part of a routine checkup unless you have some indication that you may be at risk for heart disease.

Your cardiologist or doctor may recommend you undergo EKG testing if you have any of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heavy heartbeats
  • Diabetes
  • Personal history of heart disease
  • Family history of heart disease

In some situations, your doctor may recommend you undergo electrocardiography testing if you have extensive health problems and wish to start exercising. This testing will determine if your heart is healthy enough to allow you to start exercising on a regular basis.

Has your doctor recommended you get an electrocardiogram? If so, call Premier Heart & Vein Care today to schedule an appointment.

The Best Vein Treatment Options for Spider Veins

Veins are the blood vessels responsible for moving blood from your extremities back to the heart to be replenished with more oxygen. Veins can be large, such as the veins in your legs that push blood from your feet back up to your heart. Other veins are very small and may be less than 1 mm in diameter. When these tiny veins become enlarged, they are known as spider veins.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins look just like their name implies: like a spider’s web. Spider veins occur when the walls of a vein become weakened, causing the vein to enlarge. As a result, spider veins look purple, blue, or red. They can be found on any part of the body, although they are perhaps most common on the legs.

Are Spider Veins Dangerous?

Spider veins occur when there is increased pressure in the veins. This could be due to sitting or standing for long periods each day, being overweight or obese, failing to get enough physical activity, or for hereditary reasons. In other cases, people with no discernable risk factors may develop spider veins.

Although spider veins are not inherently dangerous, they may be a sign of poor overall vein health. Spider veins often co-occur with varicose veins, which are larger, bulging veins that result when vein walls become very weak. Furthermore, people susceptible to spider veins may be at greater risk for more serious, chronic vein disease.

The Best Vein Treatment Options for Spider Veins

Fortunately, you do not have to live with spider veins. There are several treatment options that are effective at getting rid of these unattractive veins. Make an appointment with your vein doctor to learn more about spider veins and the treatment options that may be best for you. Two of the most common spider vein treatments are as follows:

  • Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a common vein removal technique. In this treatment, your vein doctor will inject a special solution into the affected veins. This solution, known as a sclerosant, causes the vein walls to collapse. Over the next few weeks, the body will reabsorb the vein material and the vein will disappear. Sclerotherapy is one of the most common treatments for spider veins and has a high effectiveness rate.
  • Laser treatment. A more recent development in spider vein treatment is the use of lasers to get rid of unsightly spider veins. During a laser treatment session, your vein doctor will direct laser energy at the spider vein. This heats the vein, causing it to collapse and be destroyed by the body. Laser vein treatment is highly effective for spider veins, although it may take multiple sessions to see results. Your doctor can advise you about the best spider vein treatment options for your situation.

Preventive Cardiology

It's an old adage that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. That's particularly true when it comes to heart and blood vessel disease. At Premier Heart and Vein Care, our cardiac specialists would much rather help our patients stay healthy than have to treat a problem, so we do our best to practice preventive cardiology. Preventive cardiology strategies fall into three groups: primordial, primary and secondary.

Primordial Preventive Cardiology

Primordial treatment focuses on prevention of risk factors. In some cases, these are not preventable. For example, older people are more likely to develop heart, blood vessel and vein disease, and many of these conditions have genetic components. However, lifestyle can make a difference, even in those who may have a family history of heart disease. For example, Jim Fixx, who was a noted runner in the 1970s and helped popularize the sport, died of a heart attack while jogging at the age of 52. However, his father died at age 43 of a heart attack and had his first heart attack at age 35. An assessment by aerobic and fitness expert Dr. Kenneth Cooper suggested Fixx bought himself years of time despite his inherited heart condition because of his exercise habits and improved health (he was formerly obese and a heavy smoker). Primordial prevention may focus on an individual patient or on communities, with smoking cessation programs or decreasing air pollution.

Primary Preventive Cardiology

Primary prevention focuses on the treatment of identified risk factors. Patients who have conditions like irregular heart beats (arrhythmia) narrowed blood vessels or abnormal lab work have a higher risk of a heart attack or blood vessel disease. People who are obese or who spend much of their time at work on their feet are more likely to develop varicose veins. In these cases, doctors treat the problems that increase the risk of more serous conditions. For example, the patient with an arrhythmia receives a medication to make the heart beats more regular, and those who are at risk of varicose veins wear support stockings.

Secondary Preventive Cardiology

Sometimes preventive strategies aren't enough, or patients aren't inspired to change their lifestyles until something like a heart attack occurs. In those cases, doctors practice secondary prevention. These strategies might include medications to help thin the blood (anticoagulants) and prevent heart attacks or stokes from blood clots. Other secondary prevention strategies include cardiac rehabilitation to promote circulation and physical fitness after a heart attack. Diagnostic tools like carotid ultrasounds or Holter monitors can track a patient's condition and spot potential problems early. Small varicose veins are treated early to prevent them from growing and possibly causing leg ulcers.

Prevention is a great strategy for heart and blood vessel disease, and preventive cardiology can make a difference. If you have any concerns about symptoms or your medical history and risks, contact Premier Heart and Vein Care. Our cardiac specialists can assess your risks and develop a care plan that meets your individual needs.


How to Avoid Varicose Veins

Almost everyone knows someone who has suffered from varicose veins.  After deciding on the best vein treatment for these abnormal blood vessels, many patients want to know how to prevent additional ones from forming.  Individuals who have not developed these unwanted veins seek to avoid the cosmetic and health issues linked to them.  This is particularly important when elevated risk factors are present.

Varicose Vein Risk Factors

Abnormal leg veins affect 50 percent of Americans who are at least 50 years old, according to the Office on Women’s Health.  As many as 55 percents of U.S. females and up to 45 percent of males experience some kind vein issue.

Complications of vein disease can create significant discomfort and medical issues when defective valves prevent veins from properly doing their job of returning blood from the extremities to the heart.  Among the possible results are throbbing and pain, skin ulcers, blood clots, and the appearance of ropelike bulging veins.

Certain factors boost an individual’s risk.  The University of California San Francisco cites these important considerations:

  • Approximately 50 percent of individuals with a family history develop a varicose vein problem.
  • Advancing age adds wear and tear to vein valves.
  • Hormonal changes associated with being the female elevate risk.
  • Pregnancy adds pressure to leg veins.
  • Carrying extra pounds can exert unwanted pressure on veins.
  • Sitting or standing for long periods, particularly with the legs crossed or bent, causes extra work for veins pumping blood back to the heart.

Steps for Avoiding Varicose Veins

Individuals can take a number of self-care steps to help prevent the development of varicose vessels.  Many of them are also helpful for relieving discomfort when these veins are already present.  The Office on Women’s Health recommends these lifestyle changes:

  • Shedding extra pounds to avoid excess pressure on leg veins
  • Whenever possible, elevating legs when at rest
  • Avoiding standing or sitting for extended periods, or at least shift weight from one limb to the other periodically
  • Exercising on a regular basis to boost leg and vein strength and circulation
  • Avoiding crossing the legs when seated for a long time
  • Trading high heels worn for long periods for shoes with lower heels that help tone muscles in the calf and foster better blood movement through veins
  • Following a low-salt diet that includes plenty of foods high in fiber to avoid constipation, which sometimes contributes to varicose vessel formation
  • Wearing support stockings recommended by a vein doctor and fitted by a trained individual
  • Steering clear of clothing that fits the legs, groin, or waist tightly

It is especially important for patients who have undergone vein treatment to realize that no therapy to eliminate unwanted vessels can prevent the formation of new ones.  Fortunately, however, individuals can take a number of specific steps to help them avoid new problem veins.

When Should You Get Sclerotherapy Treatment?

Millions of Americans suffer from varicose veins and spider veins. Treatments to get rid of unsightly veins are also very common. One of the best available vein treatments is called sclerotherapySclerotherapy may be particularly useful for targeting tiny veins that are challenging to treat with other methods. Learn when you should get sclerotherapy treatment and when to take the next step.

What Is Sclerotherapy Treatment?

Before making a decision about vein treatment, it is important to understand your options. There are many treatment modalities, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Sclerotherapy is one of the most popular vein treatments because of its safety, effectiveness, and low risk of side effects.

The purpose of sclerotherapy is to use special chemicals to get rid of varicose veins or spider veins. During the sclerotherapy procedure, your vein doctor will inject a chemical directly into the affected vein. This chemical causes the walls of the vein to collapse, preventing additional blood to flow through it. Instead, blood will be diverted to nearby healthy veins. Once the vein walls have collapsed, the body will gradually reabsorb the vein tissue. This leaves nearly no sign that there was once an unattractive varicose or spider vein in that place.

Sclerotherapy involves an injection, meaning that it is not completely painless. However, most people find the procedure easy to tolerate. It also comes with a low risk of scarring. Plus, you can typically return home or to work the same day.

When Should You Get Sclerotherapy Treatment?

There is no perfect time or reason to get sclerotherapy treatment. However, understanding the process of sclerotherapy and why it is used can help you make a decision. Consider the following reasons that people commonly choose to get sclerotherapy treatment:

  • You have unsightly varicose veins or spider veins. Concern about the appearance of your veins is a good reason to seek treatment. Contact the vein clinic to make an appointment to learn about your options.
  • Your vein doctor has expressed concern about your vein health. Venous insufficiency is a condition in which your veins are not efficiently returning blood from your extremities back to your heart for reoxygenation. This can lead to a variety of vein problems, including varicose veins. If your vein doctor has expressed concern, it may be time to seek sclerotherapy treatment.
  • You’re looking for a vein treatment that is safe and effective. One of the biggest advantages of sclerotherapy is that it is safe and minimally invasive.
  • Your vein doctor thinks you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy. If your vein doctor says you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy, it can be a highly effective way to get rid of pesky veins. The best time to get rid of varicose veins is right away, before they become a bigger problem.

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What Kind of Doctor Treats Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins can be both unsightly and embarrassing for patients. In many cases, they also cause uncomfortable symptoms. If you are struggling with varicose veins, you may wonder what type of doctor you should see to deal with this condition. Read More

Can You Detect Blocked Arteries From an ECG?

Cardiovascular problems are scary; simply not knowing enough about the health of your heart can lead to major medical problems later in life. Electrocardiography, the practice of measuring electrical signals to diagnose potential problems with the heart, gives medical staff a non-invasive Read More