Recent posts

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.

What Are the Advantages of Venefit?

Varicose veins affect up to 35 percent of Americans, and those with a family history of the condition are more likely to suffer from varicose veins, reports the Society for Vascular Surgery. While surgical removal of varicose veins is available, it can lead to scarring and extensive recovery periods. However, a newer, more effective treatment, known as Venefit, offers significant advantages over other treatment options.

Venefit™ Has a Lower Risk of Injury to Surrounding Tissues.

The procedure uses radio frequency (RF) energy to heat collagen in veins, resulting in their shrinkage. Unlike laser ablation, the amount of heat produced is restricted to a smaller treatment area, reducing the risk of damage to nearby tissues and gently causing the vein to collapse, asserts Medscape. In addition, RF energy puts out less heat, eliminating the development of a steam bubble in the vein, which further reduces risk of complications.

The Procedure Takes Less Time to Complete Than Other Treatment Options.

During this procedure, the physician administers a local anesthetic and saline in the affected leg. Afterward, a catheter is inserted to administer the RF energy. As a result, the procedure takes less time to complete than surgical treatment options.

A Faster Recovery Time Defines the Procedure.

Traditional treatments for varicose veins may lead to hospitalization and an extensive recovery period. Although individuals undergoing this treatment may need to avoid standing for prolonged periods or strenuous activities for a few weeks after the procedure, they rarely experience side effects, such as mild pain or bruising. However, any development of pain or bruising typically resolves within two weeks.

Get the Vein Treatment You Need Without the Hassle of Surgery Today.

The Venefit™ procedure is a safer, ideal treatment option for all ages and genders. Of course, each person is different, so a thorough venous insufficiency evaluation is necessary to determine your candidacy for the procedure. Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart and Vein Care can help you find out more about the causes of your varicose veins, conduct your evaluation and determine which vein treatment option is best for you. To get started on the path to less pain and discomfort from varicose veins, request your appointment online, or call 1 (805) 979-4777 today.

What to Expect After a Sclerotherapy Procedure

Physicians consider sclerotherapy a convenient and highly successful vein treatment when a patient seeks to eliminate spider veins or small varicose vessels.  Many individuals about to undergo the procedure wonder how they will feel after a session and when they will know if it was successful.

How Sclerotherapy Gets Rid of Unwanted Veins

To perform this treatment, a physician injects a special substance known as a sclerosant into each targeted abnormal blood vessel.  In some cases, the use of ultrasound precisely guides the doctor during the session.

The chemicals in the sclerosant irritate the lining of the vein, causing the walls to become swollen, to adhere to each other, and to finally collapse.  Eventually, the treated vessel becomes scar tissue and disappears.  Healthy remaining veins nearby assume its circulatory workload.

This is an outpatient procedure usually performed in a physician’s office or in a vein clinic.  The number of sessions required depends on the size and the location of the vessels selected plus the overall health of the patient.  A session typically lasts 45 minutes or less.

What to Expect After This Vein Treatment

The Cleveland Clinic reports that it is possible to eliminate 50 to 80 percent of veins injected during a single session.  More than 90 percent of individuals respond positively to the injections.

When the procedure targets spider veins, patients can expect to see results in 3 to 6 weeks.  The interval for a response for larger vessels is between 3 and 4 months.

The physician will apply compression and massage the area treated immediately after withdrawing the needle used for the injection.  The Mayo Clinic explains that this helps disperse the sclerosant and prevent blood from entering the treated vein.

Most patients experience little discomfort during a session.  A cramping sensation that lasts up to two minutes is not uncommon during a varicose vein injection, according to the Radiological Society of North America, Inc.

After treatment, the staff encourages patients to walk around as soon as possible to avoid blood clots.  Discharge orders include wearing compression stockings or wraps for a specified period.

Patients usually go home shortly after treatment.  By the following day, most are able to go back to work and return to their normal daily routines, with the exception of exercise and any strenuous exertion.

The Mayo Clinic notes that patients will want to avoid exposing all treated areas to sunlight for a period specified by the physician.  This is because the inflammatory response the injections cause can create dark spots on the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, particularly in individuals born with dark skin.

Patients should realize that no treatment will prevent the formation of new spider or varicose veins.  For this reason, some individuals opt to return for additional vein treatment when new abnormal vessels develop.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Heart disease a serious condition that can increase your risk of serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke. If you have heart disease, you need to seek treatment from a cardiologist as soon as possible. Below is some information to help you understand heart disease and recognize the symptoms so you can catch it as early as possible.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is a group of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. However, the most common form of heart disease is cardiovascular disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries. This plaque narrows the arteries and restricts or blocks the flow of blood, which leads to heart attack and other complications.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Some of the symptoms of heart disease may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Pain in the back, upper abdomen, throat, jaw or neck

Some people with heart disease in its earliest stages may not experience any symptoms.

How is heart disease diagnosed?

To diagnose heart disease, your cardiologist begins by reviewing your medical history and performing a thorough physical exam. Depending on the results of this part of the process, as well as your symptoms and level of risk, the cardiologist may recommend additional tests. Some of the most common tests used to diagnose heart disease include heart ultrasound, stress tests, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization and heart monitoring. 

Based on the results of the tests ordered, your cardiologist will determine whether you have heart disease. If you do have signs of heart disease, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment.

What should I do if I have symptoms of heart disease?

If you have any symptoms of heart disease, you should see a cardiologist as soon as possible for diagnosis and possible treatment. Please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist.

 

What to Do if Heart Disease Runs in Your Family

If heart disease runs in your family, you may be nervous about your chances of developing this condition. However, having a family history of heart disease doesn't necessarily mean you will have a heart problem. Nonetheless, you need to be vigilant and proactive to protect your heart and remain as healthy as possible throughout your life. 

About Heart Disease 

Heart disease encompasses a number of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. However, when the term "heart disease" is used, it's most often referring to cardiovascular disease, which is a condition that involves blocked or narrow blood vessels. If left untreated, cardiovascular disease can lead to chest pain, heart attack and stroke. 

How to Protect Yourself

A family history of heart disease isn't the only risk factor that can make this condition more likely. Other risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, obesity and poor hygiene. Minimizing or eliminating any of these risk factors can help to protect you from heart disease. 

Even with no risk factors aside from your family history, heart disease is still a possibility. For this reason, it is important to see a cardiologist regularly if you are at risk for heart disease. Your cardiology doctor will monitor the health of your heart over time and look for any signs of heart disease. He or she will also be able to prescribe appropriate treatments and/or recommend lifestyle changes to deal with any heart problems you may develop. 

How do cardiologists evaluate the heart?

Your cardiologist may perform a variety of tests to evaluate your heart function, depending on any symptoms you are experiencing, as well as your level of risk. Some of the tests cardiologists order to evaluate heart function include:

  • EKG
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Blood tests
  • Stress test 
  • Holter monitoring

Your cardiologist will let you know which of these tests you need, as well as the purpose of each test. 

If you are concerned about the possibility of heart disease, please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today to make an appointment. 

Factors That Determine What Vein Treatment Options You are Offered

In the past, patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins were limited to only one or two treatment options. Thanks to advances in technology, vein doctors now no longer have such limited vein treatment options. Today, treatment for varicose or spider veins is often less painful, more effective, and less invasive than the limited treatment options that were available in the past.

Currently, there are half a dozen different treatment options that are available to patients who are looking for treatment of varicose or spider veins. Doctors take a number of different factors into consideration when providing treatment recommendations.

Factors That Help Determine Your Vein Treatment Options

Vein doctors look at several key factors when trying to come up with various treatment options for you.

The things vein doctors take into consideration include:

  • Type of veins that need to be treated such as spider veins, varicose veins, or reticular veins
  • Location of the spider or varicose veins
  • Size of the varicose or spider veins
  • Previous attempted treatments
  • Health history

All of this information will be obtained by asking you a series of questions as well as conducting a brief exam. You will typically be asked about what symptoms you are experiencing, pain levels, and the previous history of varicose or spider veins.

In some cases, a Doppler ultrasound may be ordered. Doppler ultrasounds allow doctors to obtain detailed information about your condition. The results of the Doppler ultrasound will allow your vein doctor to determine the overall health and structure of your veins, as well as determine if a blood clot may be present.

Examples of Treatment Options for Your Spider Veins or Varicose Veins

Once your vein doctor has assessed your individual situation, he or she will provide you with a list of treatment recommendations. Typically, vein doctors will try to recommend treatments that are the least invasive, yet most effective.

Some vein treatment options that may be recommended to you when trying to treat your varicose veins or spider veins include:

  • ClosureFast – a radiofrequency ablation treatment
  • ClariVeinIC
  • VenaSeal
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Ambulatory Phlebecotmy
  • Varithena

Other treatment options may be offered depending upon your condition.

Choose a Vein Doctor That Creates Customized Treatment Plans

Treatment for problematic veins will vary from individual to individual. It is important that you visit a vein clinic that will create customized treatment plans based off of your individual needs.

A Specialized Vein Doctor Is Your Best Option for the Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins

Cosmetic Issues Associated with Varicose and Spider Veins

Varicose veins and spider veins are never a welcome sight. These unsightly monsters can add years to skin that otherwise appears smooth, even, and youthful. Thick and bulging, varicose veins often stick out above the surface of the skin in garish colors such that range from a bruised red to a deep blue.

Although they are smaller and rarely protrude, spider veins are not much better. Spreading out in spindly networks that often resemble cobwebs, these networks of diseased veins can cover large areas of skin.

For cosmetic reasons alone, it is a small wonder that people are increasingly taking advantage of the full range of treatment options that a modern vein doctor can offer.

Medical Issues Associated with Varicose and Spider Veins

Both varicose and spider veins can be signs of a dangerous condition called venous insufficiency. In short, this means that your circuiting blood is failing to return to your heart in a healthy and natural manner, causing an inordinate amount of blood to pool in the lower extremities. In extreme cases, venous insufficiency can lead to loss of limb or even death.

Even varicose and spider veins that don’t present grave health threats can present some extremely unpleasant symptoms. Individuals who are living with these conditions

complain of issues that include….

  • Sharp pain along the course of the affected vein
  • Localized inflammation/swelling
  • Localized itching
  • Heavy or restless legs
  • Vein tearing and/or bleeding during activities such as shaving
  • Sores, wounds, and/or ulcers on the skin

Find a Vein Specialist

If you are concerned about varicose or spider veins, it's best to consult with a qualified vein doctor (or phlebologist) as soon as possible. These medical professionals have completed specialized training that goes far above and beyond that of a typical family doctor or general practitioner. In short, vein doctors have built on their general Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees with extensive educational and clinical practice that places you and your diseased veins in the best possible hands.

When You Need Spider Vein Treatment

Spider veins can be distressing in appearance, although they often have no symptoms. However, many people seek spider vein treatment because the colored “starbursts” are so noticeable, especially when they occur on the face. Here's what you need to know about spider veins and their treatment, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens and Premier Heart and Vein Care.

About Spider Veins

Spider veins - the medical name is telangiectasis - are a type of small varicose vein. They are most likely to occur on the legs but may also occur in other areas of the body, like the face. They develop because small flaps of tissue in the veins, called valves, become weak and allow blood to flow backward to pool in the vein. Many people have no symptoms with spider veins. Others may complain of itching, pain or burning in the area of the spider vein. It is common for patients to have both varicose and spider veins.

Are Spider Veins a Problem?

In most cases, spider veins are primarily a cosmetic issue. If symptoms do occur, they are usually minimal. They can be easily hidden with long pants or skirts or with makeup. Those strategies are uncomfortable on hot days, however. Spider veins do tend to coexist with varicose veins – they are actually just a small varicose vein – and many patients choose to treat both.

Who Can Provide Vein Treatment?

A vein doctor or vascular surgeon usually offers vein treatment services. The term “vein doctor” doesn't describe a medical specialty, and a vein doctor might be a general practitioner, radiologist, internist, cardiologist or vascular surgeon. The services these doctors typically offer include what are known as minimally invasive procedures like laser treatments, sclerotherapy and ambulatory phlebectomy. Only a vascular surgeon, however, can actually perform surgery such as a vein stripping.

Treating Spider Veins

As vein disease goes, spider veins are a relatively minor problem. Luckily, there are different treatments for spider veins that can be performed in your doctor's office and require no or only local anesthesia. You can usually resume your normal activities within a day or so, except for strenuous exercise. Spider vein treatment includes:

Sclerotherapy – considered the gold standard of spider vein treatment, sclerotherapy scars the veins closed. The doctor injects a solution into the vein with a tiny needle. This solution is very irritating, and makes the vein swell, then collapse. Pressure dressings or compression stockings applied over the area keep the vein closed while the vein walls scar and fuse together. The veins gradually fade and are absorbed in to the surrounding tissue, although they don't become completely invisible.

Laser Treatment – this treatment does not require a needle or incision. The laser is passed along the skin over the vein, sending strong bursts of high-energy light into the vein. As with sclerotherapy, the treated veins collapse and scar closed.

If you have spider veins, Premier Heart and Vein Care can help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment or for any questions or concerns.

 

Advances in Technology Provide New Vein Treatment Options for Patients

In the past, patients who were suffering from spider veins or varicose veins could only find relief by going through a lengthy, and sometimes painful, surgical procedure. Recent technological advances have changed the vein treatment options that are available to patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins.

New, state-of-the-art treatment options, such as VenaSeal, and Varithena, help patients treat spider or varicose veins quickly, easily, and with minimal downtime or pain. Taking a closer look at the new varicose or spider vein treatment options that are available through Premier Heart & Vein Care can help you determine which treatment may be best for your unique situation.

Treat Large Varicose Veins in the Leg with Varithena

Large varicose veins that run down the leg can be extremely painful, not to mention unsightly. Varithena is an FDA approved treatment option for men and women who are suffering from large, bulging varicose veins in the leg.

Varithena is unique because it uses a special type of foam to treat the varicose veins. The foam is injected directly into the vein. Once it is injected into the vein, it will slowly start to irritate the inner lining of the vein. The irritation causes the vein to close. Once the vein closes, the body will naturally redirect the blood to other healthier veins, which dramatically reduces the appearance and symptoms associated with varicose veins.

VenaSeal Uses "Super Glue" to Treat Problematic Veins

VenaSeal relies upon a unique type of "glue" to treat spider and varicose veins. The glue is injected into the damaged or unhealthy vein. Once in the vein, it will form a sealed barrier which will relieve any symptoms associated with varicose or spider veins. The symptoms are relieved because the body reroutes the blood to nearby veins that are often stronger and healthier.

Every patient is unique when it comes to seeking vein treatment. What works for one individual may not work for another. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart & Vein Care in San Luis Obispo, California. Dr. Stevens will gladly discuss your individual case with you and provide you with treatment recommendations.

Maps & Directions

Get Directions

Latest Blog Posts

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 Read More

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 sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy may be particularly useful for targeting tiny veins that are challenging Read More