Search Results for: types of vein disease problems
Types of Vein Disease Problems
Veins are responsible for circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body and back to the heart. However, while the veins are so important, they can develop problems, and these problems can cause a number of complications.
At the onset of vein disease, symptoms are often minimal, causing the disease to sometimes go unnoticed. With some diseases of the veins, if the condition goes untreated, it can become life-threatening. For that reason, being aware of the signs and symptoms of vein disease and seeking immediate medical treatment is vital to your health and well-being.
There are several vein diseases, but some of the most common include the following:
- Varicose veins –A chronic vein disease (CVD,) in this condition, the veins become dilated and they thicken. Varicose veins are comprised of twisted blood vessels, and they are unable to control proper blood flow.
- Spider veins – Another CVD, spider veins are dilated capillaries under the surface of the skin. They appear as small red, purple and blue vessels that resemble spider legs, hence the name. Like varicose veins, spider veins also twist and turn.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – This is a very serious condition that most commonly impacts the veins of the leg, though it can also develop in the veins of the pelvis and the arms. In DVT, blood clots form within the large veins, and if left untreated, these clots can loosen and travel to your lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.
- Lymphedema – This disease is caused by a blockage in the lymph vessels that drain fluid from the tissues of the body, allowing cells from the immune system to travel where they need to. If left untreated, lymphedema can cause serious infections and/or lymphangiosarcoma (a rare form of soft tissue cancer.
- Leg ulcers – These breaks in the skin, or lesions, usually impact subcutaneous tissues, muscle, or bone. They can occur in diabetics, and are the result of insufficiencies in the veins. They can cause serious, life-threatening infections.
- Vein sores – These chronic wounds of the veins are the result of the poor circulation of blood from your legs, back to the heart.
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) – When the venous wall and/or the valves within the leg veins don’t work properly, circulation of the blood from the legs to the heart is compromised. This vein disease causes blood to collect in the veins, causing stasis, a serious condition.
- Pulmonary embolism – This life-threatening condition causes a blood clot in the lungs. It restricts blood flow to the lungs, causing serious damage to the lungs.
- Phlebitis – This is an inflammation of the veins, which is caused by an injury to the blood vessel wall, insufficient venous flow, or abnormal coagulation.
Should you develop one of these more serious vein problems, immediate medical treatment is required.
Having the health of your veins assessed on a regular basis is crucial to your overall health and well-being. Contact our San Luis Obispo vein treatment clinic,Premier Heart & Vein Clinic for an appointment for vein care.
Should I See a Doctor for My Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can directly impact your health and quality of life — here’s how to know if you’re at risk.
While varicose veins may not pose an immediate risk for some people, they are a serious health concern for thousands of others. In fact, varicose veins may result in painful leg swelling, numbness, skin ulcers that refuse to heal, infections, excessive bleeding, blood clots, and more.
These symptoms make it difficult to enjoy daily activities and can, in some cases, be life-threatening. Keep an eye out for the following signs to determine if your varicose veins are putting you at risk:
1. Swollen, Tender Skin
While varicose veins are a common part of the aging process — a result of worn-out valves that are no longer able to effectively pump blood back to the heart — it’s important to pay close attention to your veins as they change. In particular, varicose veins are a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that develops deep within the body.
Signs you may have DVT include cramps, discoloration, swelling, and skin that is red, tight, tender and/or warm to the touch.
2. Legs that Ache, Throb, or Feel Uncharacteristically Weak
Blood that fails to circulate properly and pools in the veins can cause patients to experience persistent aches and pains throughout the day. Others may notice that their legs feel weak or heavy. These symptoms are often heightened during warm weather or as a result of excessive sitting or standing.
It’s important to pay attention to these signs of poor vein health, as they can make day-to-day tasks more difficult, directly impacting your quality of life.
3. Itchy, Dry Skin and/or Discoloration
Leg ulcers are breaks in the skin, or lesions, that usually impact tissues below the wound. If left untreated, they can cause serious, life-threatening infections.
Dry, itchy skin, discoloration, and/or a rash on your lower legs or around your ankles all indicate poor circulation and warn of an impending ulcer. Other signs of a leg ulcer include swelling and firm skin that feels almost hard to the touch.
Seeking Treatment for Varicose Veins
If you’re experiencing any of the signs and symptoms described above, it’s important to make an appointment with a vein specialist as soon as possible. A vein expert will conduct a comprehensive exam and use the latest in diagnostic equipment to determine the best course of action.
Common forms of modern vein treatments include:
- VenaSeal™: VenaSeal is a type of “glue” injected into spider or varicose veins to create a barrier. This barrier prevents blood from entering the unhealthy vein, thus closing it off and relieving many painful vein-related symptoms.
- Venefit™: Venefit is designed to treat varicose veins, including those that are larger or located deep within the body. During this procedure, a vascular surgeon threads a thin catheter into the abnormal vein and administers radiofrequency energy. This causes the vein to collapse and shrink.
- Varithena®: Varithena is the only foam treatment that's been approved by the FDA to treat large leg veins. Once injected into the vein, the foam irritates the vein lining, causing it to close. After treatment, the body redirects blood to neighboring veins so circulation is improved and varicose vein symptoms are resolved.
- Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose and spider veins. It involves injecting a sclerosant, or solvent, into the damaged veins, causing them to collapse. This outpatient procedure is typically performed in less than an hour.
These are just a few of the many varicose vein treatment options available. Don’t put your health on hold any longer — get in touch with Premier Heart & Vein Care today to set up an appointment with a vein specialist.
5 Types of Venous Disease
Your veins do something amazing. Everyday, they fight against gravity, pumping blood up to your heart. Given the forces working against their veins, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that many people develop some form of venous disease or another. Vein disease develops when your veins have difficulty pumping the blood back to the heart. The walls of the veins might be weak or the valves damaged. Get to know a few types of common vein problems.
Examples of Vein Disease
Varicose Veins or Spider Veins
When you think of vein problems, spider veins or varicose veins are probably what comes to mind first. That shouldn't be much of a surprise, since about half of the population has or will have varicose or spider veins, according to the Office on Women's Health. Varicose veins form when the valves in the veins don't work as they should. Blood is allowed to flow backwards down the legs, causing the veins to bulge and twist.
Spider veins form when there is a backup of blood in the tiny vessels near the skin. Usually, spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins. They can also develop on the face and can form as a result of sun exposure.
Superficial Venous Reflux
Another common problem in the veins is superficial venous reflux. It's also known as venous insufficiency. When a person has venous reflux, the blood doesn't make its way up the legs to the heart. Instead, it pools in the veins, causing swelling, darkening of the skin and a feeling of pain or pressure in the legs. Venous insufficiency is often connected to varicose veins, but usually the symptoms it causes are much worse.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, develops when a blood clot forms deep in a person's veins, usually in the legs. Several things can put a person at an increased risk for developing DVT, including an inherited blood clotting disorder, hormonal birth control and sitting still for long periods of time, such as on a flight.
Some people with DVT don't have any symptoms. Others might have pain or swelling in the affected leg. The major concern with DVT is that the clot will come loose and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, a potentially life threatening problem. For that reason, treating the clot early is usually the best course of action. A doctor might prescribe blood thinners or other medications to reduce the clot or compression stockings to help with swelling.
At Premier Heart and Vein Care, Dr. Ken Stevens offers patients with vein disease a variety of treatment options. To learn more about vein problems and the options for treatment, call 1-805-979-4777 to schedule a consultation today.
Types of Tests Cardiovascular Doctor May Recommend
When you visit the cardiovascular doctor, he may recommend a series of tests for preventive cardiology reasons or for diagnostic reasons, Some of the common tests cardiac specialists might recommend are as follows.
Types of Cardiovascular Tests
This type of ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to take images of the internal structures of your body. It is usually performed so the doctor can check for artery-clogging plaque that can lead to strokes and other severe complications.
The echocardiogram, or echo, is an ultrasound that sends high-pitched sound waves to a transducer. The different types of echocardiograms are:
- Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)
- Stress echocardiogram
- Doppler echocardiogram
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
This test might be recommended if the doctor suspects you have problems with the chambers or valves of your heart or heart issues that cause symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath.
Also known as a Electrocardiogram, or ECG or EKG, an electrocardiography test is simple, quick and painless and is used to amplify and record your heart's electrical impulses on paper. It's used to diagnosis many different cardiac pathologies including palpitations, syncope, myocardial ischemia and infarction. It's been an invaluable tool for doctors for decades.
It is often used when a doctor suspects a heart disorder. For older and middle-aged people, it is often used as part of their regular physical exams, even if the doctor doesn't suspect a heart disorder. The ECG can pick up various abnormalities including an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), excessive thickening of the muscular walls of your heart (hypertrophy) or an inadequate supply of oxygen and blood to your heart.
This test uses a portable, small device that records your heart's rhythms continuously as well as records your heart's electrical activity. The doctor places electrodes on your chest which you wear for 24 to 48 hours so he can record your heart's activity during this time.
Lab tests (blood tests) are performed for diagnosing and monitoring treatment for vascular and heart disease. Several factors are analyzed with these blood tests. A common set of lab tests performed is the cholesterol or lipid profile. Your customized treatment plan is developed based off of your lipid profile results as well as other tests.
This is a diagnostic test the cardiovascular doctor performs for evaluating how strong your heart muscle is while it is pumping blood throughout your body. It uses ultrasound imaging and detects and records any decrease of your blood flow to your heart that is caused by your coronary arteries narrowing. If the health of your heart is questioned or if the doctor needs to evaluate any ongoing cardiac treatment you have, he will use this test.
To schedule an appointment for one of these tests or to learn more about how preventative cardiology can benefit you, contact Premier Heart & Vein Care to meet with a San Luis Obispo cardiac specialist.
Spider Vein Treatment Options: Ultrasound-guided Sclerotherapy
Patients who suffer from unsightly spider veins can look forward to state-of-the-art non-surgical therapies offered on an outpatient basis. The gold standard for spider vein treatment is ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. Understanding how it works can help an individual decide whether this is an attractive option.
How Ultrasound Works
The technology has two uses in treating spider and varicose veins. Duplex ultrasound is helpful for diagnosing vein disease. It also guides a physician while performing sclerotherapy to eliminate spider and small varicose vessels.
Cedars-Sinai® states that the technology is beneficial in examining a variety of conditions that might affect blood vessels, such as:
- Carotid occlusive disease
- Leg vessel disease
- Arm artery disease
- The condition of veins
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Venous insufficiency
Duplex ultrasound is actually a combination of two distinct types of technology. According to MedlinePlus, one is traditional ultrasound, which uses sound waves bouncing off vessels to create images. The other is Doppler ultrasound, which makes a record of sound waves as they reflect off moving objects like blood to assess speed and flow pattern.
How a Vein Doctor Performs Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is the most frequent method to treat spider veins and is sometimes appropriate for small varicose vessels. Spider veins are generally much smaller than varicose vessels. They develop closer to the skin’s surface in red, blue, or purplish clusters that mimic a spider's web.
Although they seldom create serious medical problems, they can affect an individual’s self-image. While conservative measures like compression stockings might slow the progression of the vein disease that produces spider and varicose veins, they cannot eliminate existing vessels.
The physician who treats these abnormal vessels might be a vascular surgeon or other type of vein specialist. This specialist performs sclerotherapy using a fine needle to inject a liquid or a foam, known as a sclerosant, directly into a targeted vein to eliminate it, Wake Forest Baptist Health states. The procedure is most effective for veins with a diameter of less than 5 mm.
Injection of the sclerosant irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to stick together and close. Eventually, the body resorbs these treated vessels so that they seem to disappear. Healthier veins nearby take up the workload of the vessels destroyed.
Combining ultrasound with sclerotherapy offers the physician added precision. It identifies veins that might not be obvious to the naked eye. The technology transmits the images it creates to a computer screen where the doctor can view them in real time and also look at a recorded edition later if necessary.
For most patients, there is no required preparation in advance of an ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy appointment. A session typically takes less than an hour. The number of injections required depends on the number of targeted vessels. Patients typically return to their normal schedules the following day except for strenuous activities.
How to Prepare to See a Vein Doctor
Preparing for a doctor’s visit can be hectic and sometimes confusing. Some types of doctor appointments require that you stop eating the night before, for example, or stop taking your medication at a certain time. Fortunately, there are no special preparations necessary to see a vein doctor but there are some things you can do ahead of time to improve the quality of your visit. The time with your doctor is limited, so you want to optimize every minute of your vein treatment appointment.
Preparing to See your Vein Doctor
Write down any symptoms you may be experiencing. Common symptoms of varicose veins, for example, include the presence of red or blue bulging veins in the legs, pain, and sometimes sores known as skin ulcers.
Make a list of key personal information that might give your vein doctor more insight into your condition. For example, jot down your personal or family history of varicose veins, spider veins, or other vascular problems. Many vein problems, such as spider veins and varicose veins, are passed down through the generations. Your vein doctor can diagnose your vein problems more easily if he knows you have a genetic predisposition to these vein diseases.
Create a list of all your medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.
Jot down any questions you may have for your vein doctor. Common questions include:
- What might be causing my symptoms?
- What other causes might there be?
- Will I need the help of vascular surgeons?
- What kinds of tests should I get?
- What types of vein treatments are available?
Leave enough space to write down the answers between each question. Bring a pen or pencil to the appointment.
Bring a small empty bag or pouch to the appointment so you can take home brochures, pamphlets and leaflets regarding your condition.
Create a list of things you have already tried to resolve your vein problems. Note whether you avoid sitting or standing for long periods, for example, or if you have started wearing compression hose. Knowing what you have already tried will help your vein doctor decide what you should try next.
Learn as much as you can about varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein diseases so that you can have an informed conversation with your vein doctor. The more you know about your condition, the better your vein treatment outcome is likely to be.
Make an Appointment with your Local Vein Clinic
Make an appointment with your local vein clinic today to start relieving your vein problems tomorrow. Vein doctors use state-of-the-art medical technology to evaluate, diagnose and treat vein problems. Prepare to talk to a vein doctor and get the most out of your visit to your vein clinic.
What Can An Echocardiogram Detect?
When a doctor needs to see how the heart is working, an echocardiogram is often ordered. This common and low-risk test uses sound waves to generate images of the heart. These are then used by a physician to determine if you have heart disease.
Having Heart Problems? It’s Time To Get an Echocardiogram
If your doctor suspects that your heart might not be working as well as it should be, an echocardiogram will likely be ordered. Depending on what your doctor suspects is the issue, you may undergo one or more different types of echocardiograms. These include transthoracic, transesophageal, stress and/or Doppler echocardiograms.
Your physician might also order an echocardiogram for other reasons in addition to diagnosing heart problems. It can be used as a tool to monitor any improvements or changes during treatments and help determine if additional testing is needed. An echocardiogram can also help guide your doctor when they are considering the next steps in your treatment plan.
These are some heart problems an echocardiogram can diagnose
If your doctor recommends that you get an echocardiogram, it's probably to check for issues such as:
- to diagnosis if your chest pain or shortness of breath is caused by a heart problem
- find congenital heart conditions before a baby is born. This is known as a fetal echocardiogram.
- detect any issues with the heart's chambers and/or valves
How to know if you’re having heart troubles
With heart disease being one of the most common causes of death in the United States, it's important to be aware of the myriad of symptoms that could indicate that this vital organ is having trouble. Below is a list of issues that you shouldn't ignore if you experience them:
- chest discomfort
- stomach pain
- jaw or throat pain
- pain that spreads to your arm
- easily exhausted
- irregular heartbeat
- persistent cough
- swollen feet, ankles and/or legs
What is the cost of an echocardiogram?
The cost of an echocardiogram can vary widely. For those patients who do not have health insurance, the charge can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.
Patients who are covered under a health insurance plan can expect their out-of-pocket expenses for an echocardiogram to range from 10 to 50 percent -- depending on copays and other factors. In order to get the most accurate cost for an echocardiogram, it's best to consult with your provider directly.
Get Treatment at Premier Heart & Vein Care
At Premier Heart & Vein Care, located in San Luis, California, Dr. Ken Stevens and his dedicated staff take a holistic and comprehensive approach to healthcare and medicine. A minimally-invasive procedure that provides your doctor with a wealth of information, an echocardiogram produces invaluable three-dimensional images of your heart. Contact our office today and learn more about how we can partner with you to provide you with the best quality of life possible.
How to Improve Heart Health with Exercise
It's a fairly new concept that exercise can help the heart recover. In fact, up until the 1950s, physicians often told patients with cardiac problems they should avoid physical activity. It was in the late 1950s guidelines for exercise came forth for heart patients. These days, aerobic exercise is actually seen as an important factor in recovery.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), only around one in five teens and adults get the proper amount of exercise to maintain good health. And, the organization recommends you fit in a minimum of 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of heart-pumping physical activity (aerobics) each week. Aerobic exercises help improve lung and heart health and could even help you avoid vein treatment because exercise helps with vein care.
Exercises to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
So, which exercises should you be performing for proper heart care?
Walking is one of the best types of aerobic exercise. It's safe, enjoyable and simple to fit into just about anyone's busy schedule. You can walk to work, to the grocery store or around your neighborhood. When the weather is inclement, you can walk inside on a treadmill at your home or gym.
2. Strength Training
Using weights, your own body weight or resistance bands are ideal for strength training. Perform this type of exercise a couple of times a week. Allow your muscles to recover by skipping a day between sessions.
Stretching a few times a week can help you become more flexible. Gently stretch before exercising as a warm up and after you've finished exercising.
4. Bike Riding
Bike riding is the perfect aerobic exercise for the heart due to the pumping motion of your large leg muscles. Either a stationary bike in your home or a road bike will work.
Another great aerobic exercise is swimming and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the fourth most popular U.S. sports activity. You receive healthy heart benefits simply by swimming for two and a half hours each week. Swimming also puts less stress on the joints and bones, which is another benefit of this exercise.
Science has linked sitting too much and being inactive with a greater heart disease risk. Therefore, it's clear you can live a healthier, longer life by being active. So, get out there and get moving. A little can go a long way.
Learn More About Heart Health
At Premier Heart and Vein Care, our cardiology team offers individualized, state-of-the-art care patient care. To learn what you can do to improve the health of your heart, call us at 1-805-979-4777 and schedule an appointment today.
Is radiofrequency ablation considered surgery?
Millions of people suffer from varicose veins, along with symptoms like pain, swelling, and heaviness in the legs and feet. Without proper medical care, those ugly, twisted veins can cause skin changes and stubborn sores, increasing your risk for infection and other serious medical problems. In addition to being physically unattractive, varicose veins can also be a sign of a more serious underlying vein condition, and no matter what, these diseased veins prevent areas of your body from receiving the normal blood flow they need to stay supplied with important nutrients as well as oxygen.
Fortunately, today there are a variety of vein treatment options that can help eliminate varicose veins and restore normal, healthy circulation. One of the most popular options is radiofrequency ablation (or RFA), a state-of-the-art outpatient procedure that offers patients fast results with little to no downtime.
Radiofrequency Ablation: The Procedure
Strictly speaking, you might classify RFA as surgery, but more frequently, it’s referred to as a medical procedure. That’s because unlike many types of surgery that require general anesthesia and large incisions, RFA uses tiny openings in your vein, and it’s most commonly performed under local anesthesia used to numb the area being treated.
Prior to the RFA procedure, your veins are carefully evaluated and “mapped” so Dr. Stevens can plan the best “approach” for removing the damaged vein. Just prior to the procedure, the insertion site is determined, and the area is carefully cleaned, then numbed. Once the area is completely anesthetized, one small incision is made into the skin, and a very thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the vein through an introducer sheath. The catheter serves as a conduit for the RFA energy delivery.
Once the catheter is inserted into the vein, it’s “triggered” to emit tiny, controlled bursts of radiofrequency energy, which in turn heats up the vein lining, damaging it and causing it to collapse or close, preventing the flow of blood through the vein. Once the entire length of the damaged vein is treated, the catheter and introducer sheath are removed, and the incision is closed with a steristrip. No sutures or stitches are needed.
After the procedure, you’ll be observed for a brief period before being discharged. A compression bandage or stocking will be placed over the treatment site to aid in healing, and over time, the sealed-off vein will be absorbed by your body and carried away by your body’s “waste disposal” system. Normal blood flow will be redirected to neighboring healthy veins. During a follow-up visit, your vein will be evaluated to ensure it’s completely sealed.
Learn more about RFA in San Luis Obispo.
Premier Heart & Vein Care is a leading provider of vein care for men and women in and around San Luis Obispo, California. Dr. Ken Stevens and the entire staff provide customized, safe, effective vein treatment to relieve varicose vein symptoms and help patients enjoy optimal health at every age. To learn more about RFA and other vein treatment options or to schedule a vein evaluation, call Premier Heart & Vein Care at 805-979-4777 today.
Visit Our Cardiovascular Center for State-of-the-Art Stress Testing
Cardiac testing plays an important role in identifying heart disease and its risk factors, and it’s also important for ensuring ongoing treatment stays on track. Our practice offers several types of cardiac testing depending on each patient’s individual needs and the type of information that’s being sought. One of the most useful tests for diagnosing heart problems and managing their treatment is called a cardiac stress test - and although the name may sound a little scary, it’s actually a simple, straightforward, noninvasive evaluation that can be performed right here in our cardiovascular center.
Cardiac Stress Tests: What Are They?
Cardiac stress tests are designed to evaluate how well the heart performs during strenuous physical activity.
The tests can be useful in diagnosing and treating an array of heart-related issues, including:
- coronary artery disease
- valve-related problems
- rhythm problems, including atrial fibrillation
- congestive heart failure
Plus, the tests can be very helpful in managing treatment for existing cardiovascular problems and in identifying risk factors for heart disease.
How is a stress test performed at a cardiovascular center?
Prior to the test, you’ll be given instructions about whether or not to take certain types of meds, and it’s a good idea to eat only a light meal during the few hours before the test. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes since you’ll be exercising.
At the start of the test, EKG leads will be attached to your skin in specific areas using a sticky gel. The EKG will be used throughout the entire test to monitor your heart’s electrical activity. An ultrasound (echocardiogram) of the heart may also be performed to obtain detailed images of the heart’s structures (including the heart’s walls, valves and chambers) and the blood vessels and blood flow around the heart. During the echocardiogram, a special handpiece called a transducer will be passed over your skin, transmitting data to a computer and monitor where the images can be viewed.
Next, you’ll be asked to walk on a treadmill at a steadily increasing speed until a target heart rate is reached. A second ultrasound will be performed once that target rate is achieved. Once the test is complete, you’ll be able to resume your regular activities, and the doctor will carefully review your results and discuss them with you, either the same day or within the next day or two.
Keep your heart healthy.
Stress tests are also used in preventive cardiology to help people reduce their risks for cardiovascular disease. If you’ve been experiencing heart-related problems, if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, or if you just want to understand your risks for disease, a cardiac evaluation is essential. At Premier Heart and Vein, we offer state-of-the-art cardiac testing to help men and women improve their heart health and reduce their risk for serious heart-related problems. To schedule your evaluation at our cardiovascular center, give us a call at 805-979-4777 today.