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What to Expect When Treating Lymphedema in the Legs

An Overview of Lymphedema

If you’re unfamiliar with lymphedema, this overview can help you recognize the condition. It normally describes swelling in one of your arms or legs, or sometimes in both arms or both legs. There can be varying causes, but it is most commonly the result of the removal of lymph nodes, commonly stemming from cancer treatment. This causes blockages in the lymphatic system, which leads to swelling by preventing lymph fluid from properly draining.

Symptoms & Causes

This condition can happen in the arms or the legs, and there are several common symptoms to watch for.

  • Swelling of the entire limb including fingers or toes, which can vary from mild to severe
  • Restricted motion
  • Aching and discomfort
  • Heavy or tight feelings
  • Thickening or hardening of the skin, which is called fibrosis
  • Recurrent infections

Causes of lymphedema most often stem from surgery or damage to lymph nodes. This type of lymphedema is referred to as “secondary” lymphedema because underlying causes may be unrelated to the condition originally though they’ve caused damage to the lymph nodes. Some of these causes include:

  • Infection that damages lymph nodes or restricts the flow of lymph fluid
  • Surgery to remove lymph nodes—most often cancer surgery, which can result in lymph node removal to check for cancer spread
  • Cancer, if cancerous growths restrict or block lymph vessels
  • Radiation treatment, which can inflame and scar lymph nodes

While much rarer, there are primary causes of lymphedema, too. Typically, these are inherited conditions.

  • Late onset lymphedema, which is very rare and typically occurs after age 35
  • Meige’s disease, which can cause lymphedema during puberty or pregnancy
  • Milroy’s disease, which is a congenital disorder beginning in infancy that results in lymph nodes forming abnormally.

Steps to Prevent Lymphedema

There is a lot that you can do to prevent lymphedema. For instance, staying fit promotes good circulation to help lymph fluid drain, and hygiene can help prevent secondary infections. Here are some other precautions to take if you have lymphedema:

  • Avoid tight clothing that can restrict circulation—including blood pressure cuffs. Ask for blood pressure to be taken using an unaffected limb.
  • Elevation can help to prevent fluid buildup or to drain fluid.
  • Protect affected limbs because cuts and other injuries can become infected.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures on the affected limb, including the use of ice or heat.
  • Make sure to get plenty of rest. Stretching and moderate exercise can help, but in the aftermath of surgery or other treatments, you should avoid strenuous exercise.

Common Treatment Types

There is no cure for lymphedema, but it can be managed using a variety of techniques—particularly exercise. Light exercise improves circulation, which can promote lymph fluid drainage. Other treatments include:

  • Wrapping the affected limb to encourage lymph fluid to flow toward your trunk. This means wrapping tighter around fingers or toes, and progressively looser along the length of your limb.
  • Compression garments put pressure on the limb, which encourages the flow of lymph fluid.
  • Manual lymph drainage is a massage technique that can help move lymph fluid away from your arm or leg. This treatment is typically administered by someone specifically trained in lymph drainage.
  • Pneumatic compression can help, too. This is a type of sleeve that covers the affected limb, featuring a pump to inflate the sleeve and place pressure on the limb.
  • Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is a combined approach to treatment that blends lifestyle changes with some of the other treatments listed above.

Get Treatment at Premier Heart & Vein Care in California

Meet Our Vein Physician in San Luis Obispo, CA

If you’re suffering with lymphedema, we encourage you to learn more about our lymphedema procedures. This is a manageable condition, and a diagnosis plus the right treatments can help you get relief. Contact us today for a consultation or to schedule an appointment.

Are Your Varicose Veins Making Your Legs Itch?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists itchiness among many unpleasant symptoms of varicose veins. This itching often goes hand in hand with other epidermal symptoms that include dry, irritated, discolored, swollen, and/or painful skin.

What is Varicose Vein Eczema?

Consistent with all the symptoms listed above, varicose vein eczema is a long-term skin condition that manifests in the lower legs. It commonly occurs in conjunction with varicose veins. If left untreated, varicose vein eczema can begin weeping and crusting, forming venous ulcers, causing shrinkage in the lower leg, and creating areas of scaly, thickened, and fibrotic skin.

Reasons Why Your Varicose Veins Are Itchy

Varicose vein eczema and itchy varicose veins are byproducts of the natural degenerative processes of vascular disease. Namely, itchiness arises from elevated pressure in the leg veins and fluid leakage into surrounding tissue.

How Varicose Vein Eczema Forms

Healthy leg veins contain numerous small valves that help propel blood upwards against the force of gravity. When these valves malfunction, blood begins to pool in the lower legs causing varicose veins.

Experts point to fluid leakage into surrounding tissue as a primary cause for varicose vein eczema. As the immune system reacts to this leakage, varicose vein eczema spreads across the skin.

Ways to Treat the Symptoms

To ameliorate the discomfort of varicose vein eczema, your doctor may suggest a number of treatments. For the best medical advice, it is important to visit a dermatologist or a vein specialist who has specific expertise in varicose vein eczema.

The most popular pharmaceutical methods of calming the itchiness of varicose vein eczema and the varicose veins that underlie it include…

  • Antihistamines
  • Medicated creams
  • Dressings
  • Antibiotics

Antibiotics become helpful when varicose veins sores become infected with bacteria. Often used in conjunction with medication, compression stockings can help relieve inflammation and itch by placing increased pressure on damaged veins.

Treating the Source of the Problem

In order to address the roots of varicose vein eczema, physicians must treat varicose veins themselves. Outside of medication and compression therapy, the NIH limits effective varicose vein treatments to lifestyle changes and surgical procedures.

While losing weight and exercising can significantly improve circulation and overall vein health, surgery is the only way to directly and dramatically repair damaged leg veins. Fortunately, there are surgical options to choose from, and most of them are noninvasive in nature.

Today’s safe and effective varicose vein treatments include…

  • Sclerotherapy  – This procedure involves the intravenous injection of special chemicals that create scar tissue to form within damaged veins, causing them to close and rerouting blood to healthy veins nearby. Eventually, the closed veins will reabsorb into the body and disappear.
  • Endovenous ablation therapy – Physicians begin this procedure by making a tiny incision in the legs to inert a thin venous catheter under the skin. This catheter channels radiofrequency energy that heats up at its exposed tip. Closing any vein that it touches, it produces effects that are very much like those of sclerotherapy.
  • Other forms of vein closure – Similar methods of closing diseased vein may employ medical grade adhesive (VenaSeal) or medical grade foam (Varithena).

Your specific course of varicose vein treatment should meet your specific wants and needs. In many cases, physicians will recommend a combination of treatments. Furthermore, patients will often need to undergo a series of procedures in order to achieve and maintain relief.

Get Vein Treatment at Premier Heart & Vein Care in California

Located in San Luis, CA, Premier Heart & Vein Care operates under the leadership of Dr. Ken Steven, a board-certified physician and surgeon who has completed extensive cardiology and vascular postgraduate training, Dr. Steven has operated Premier in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade. If you have questions about varicose vein eczema or varicose veins in general, contact Premier today.

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:

  • heartburn
  • chest discomfort
  • stomach pain
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • jaw or throat pain
  • lightheadedness
  • snoring
  • pain that spreads to your arm
  • easily exhausted
  • sweating
  • 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.

Is Carotid Stenosis a Serious Condition?

Our bodies carry blood from the heart to the brain using two large arteries known as the Carotid arteries. When you place your fingers against your throat and feel your pulse, these are the arteries you feel. When plaque builds up inside the artery walls, these pathways narrow. The condition is called carotid stenosis or carotid artery disease. When left untreated, carotid stenosis can significantly increase the risk of stroke.

Carotid artery stenosis develops slowly. Risk factors include tobacco use, high blood pressure, diabetes and a family history of carotid artery disease. It is also more common in people as they get older and more common in people with obesity. Often, the first visible symptom of carotid stenosis is a stroke, so it is important to get regular check-ups to diagnose potential issues early.

Does carotid artery stenosis require surgery?

The good news is that carotid artery stenosis can be treated conservatively in many cases. People who only have a mild narrowing of the arteries may be able to improve their condition through lifestyle choices. These include adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise and quitting smoking. Many people can also treat carotid artery stenosis with over the country medications such as aspirin.

People who have more severe blockages or who have suffered a previous stroke may need surgery to correct their carotid artery stenosis. A procedure known as an endarterectomy is performed in order to remove plaque buildup and restore normal blood flow to the artery. After treatment, lifestyle changes can prevent a recurrence and also help prevent other health issues.

What is bilateral carotid artery stenosis?

Bilateral carotid stenosis occurs when both sides are affected. This means that there is narrowing in the arteries on both sides of the neck.

Common symptoms to watch for

In some cases, carotid stenosis does not cause any noticeable symptoms before an individual experiences a stroke. In others, signs of the condition may be discovered during a physical exam. When doctors suspect that a patient is experiencing carotid artery disease, they will follow up with tests such as a carotid artery stenosis ultrasound.

In some cases, symptoms are more distinct. Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • confusion and problems with memory.
  • difficulty seeing or sudden onset of blindness.
  • slurred speech that does not have obvious causes (such as consumption of alcohol).
  • inability to understand speech.
  • inability to speak.
  • tingling, numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs.

Get Treatment at Premier Heart & Vein Care

At Premier Heart & Vein Care in San Luis, we offer non-invasive tests that can help you and your doctor determine whether you have carotid artery disease and what treatments might be appropriate. Our caring team uses their years of expertise to carefully examine the health of your arteries and give you a fuller picture of your health. Get in touch for more information today.

Health Insurance & Medicare Coverage Concierge Medicine

Does Health Insurance or Medicare Cover Concierge Medicine?

As more Americans struggle to pay for various types of medical services, many believe the system is simply broken and needs a major overhaul. 

To address the problems of inefficiency, exorbitant treatment costs, and lack of optimal outcomes, many healthcare providers are turning to concierge medical service. A fee-based direct primary care option, this offers a variety of advantages and also some disadvantages to patients and doctors alike.

You Deserve Personalized Service with Extra Care

Rather than continually dealing with the many shortcomings that go along with traditional medical care, many doctors and patients are now viewing concierge services as a viable solution to the healthcare system's problems. Under a concierge plan, doctors who are primary care physicians charge their patients a retainer on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. By doing so, primary care services generally become more affordable, overhead costs are reduced, and preventive care becomes more readily available to patients.

Advantages of Concierge Medicine

As for the advantages of concierge services, there are many. One of the most important involves those patients who are concerned with Medicare coverage guidelines, since this has often been a sticking point in terms of what services patients can or cannot afford. For patients whose doctors use the Fee for Extra Care concierge model, Medicare can be used to cover services not included in the retainer, such as prescription medications and outpatient procedures. In addition, patients have shorter wait times for office visits, which is invaluable for most patients.

Disadvantages of Concierge Medical Service

When it comes to disadvantages of concierge service, the most common is expense. However, at Premier Heart & Vein Care we offer very affordable concierge medical services through our new program, Concierge Choice for a low annual fee of just $100, which comes out to less than five dollars a day. Most patients agree, that is extremely reasonable, considering the time and quality of care!  

Premier Heart & Vein Center Concierge Service

Here at Premier Heart & Vein Center, we are proud to offer a concierge program within our practice that we believe is one of the best you'll find anywhere. A unique hybrid plan, it is one of the few in the nation combining internal medicine, cardiology, and phlebology. Working with our patient's insurance plans when applicable, Premier Heart & Vein Center offers many options under our concierge services. Some of these include direct phone and email access after-hours and on weekends, personalized fitness and nutritional evaluations, same-day and next-day visits, extended and unhurried consultations, and much more.
If you would like to meet our vein physician in San Luis Obispo, CA, there is no better time than now to book an appointment with Premier Heart & Vein Care. To do so, give us a call at 805-979-4777 or visit us online at premierheartandveincare.com/contact/ and fill out the online form. By doing so, you'll be taking the first step to receiving the individualized care you deserve.

What Does An Irregular Heartbeat Feel Like?

What Does An Irregular Heartbeat Feel Like?

Everyone’s heart beats at its own pace, but there are certain patterns that are considered “regular,” verus some anomalies that are considered “irregular.” Having an irregular heartbeat can be dangerous. While the likelihood of developing an irregular heart rhythm increases with age, it can occur to anyone, including the young. If you suspect that you may have an irregular heartbeat, it’s best to consult with a trusted heart and vein care professional. Following is more information about an irregular heartbeat.

How To Look Out For An Irregular Heartbeat

You may have a heartbeat that is not regular without showing any symptoms at all. However, in some cases, symptoms such as fainting or severe chest pains will be present. Medics have stated that since most people may not show signs at all, the surest way of detecting this condition is by regularly checking your pulse. If you are 65 years old or older, you should check your pulse monthly. You can check your pulse at home by placing the tips of two of your fingers (third and fourth) on your lower neck on any side of your windpipe or placing the two fingers on the front side of your other wrist. You will note blood throbbing underneath your fingers. Count all the beats you will feel for at least fifteen seconds and multiply them by four. This multiplication is to help you get your heart rate per minute. A regular resting heart rate is usually 60 beats for every minute for adults.

Signs You May Have Arrhythmia

You can have a range of symptoms when your heartbeat is not regular. These symptoms differ from one individual to another, depending on the heartbeat irregularity. You may note inconsistency if your heartbeat feels like your heart is racing or fluttering. Here are some of the severe symptoms that show your pulse is not normal:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe chest pains
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Rapid chest-pounding
  • Lightheadedness

Is Having an Irregular Heart Rhythm Dangerous?

Many times, having a heartbeat that is not regular is harmless. Nonetheless, it is essential to seek treatment to prevent any further complications. If you have any of the severe symptoms discussed above, you should contact a physician immediately. If left untreated, the condition can lead to severe complications, including sudden cardiac arrest, stroke, or even heart failure.

How To Treat An Irregular Heart Rhythm

If you have an abnormal heartbeat, your doctor will have to identify the irregularity sources or triggers. This may include detailed family history, medical history, information on your lifestyle, and diet. Once the physician has an understanding of the possible triggers, he or she may request specific tests to enable them to come up with a proper diagnosis. Some of the standard tests include:

Once the diagnostic tests are complete, any heart abnormalities will require different treatments, including medications to reduce the number of episodes, specific exercises and movements to lower the risk, and in some cases, ventricular aneurysm surgery to remove a bulge in the blood vessels leading to the heart.

If you are experiencing an abnormal heartbeat, do not wait until it is too late. Book an appointment with Premier Heart & Vein Care and meet our vein physician in San Luis Obispo, CA to have the irregularity checked out and diagnosed.

 

A Guide to VenaSeal™: Everything You Should Know

Varicose veins are no fun. Yet, as we begin to age, many of us begin seeing the appearance of those dark, telltale lines that indicate blood is pooling in our legs and around our ankles instead of returning to the heart as it should. While varicose veins are mostly benign, they may be a sign of a circulatory problem such as chronic venous insufficiency. This means that valves inside the veins of our legs are no longer functioning as they should. This can be due to normal aging, being overweight, or being on our feet too many hours out of the day. VenaSeal™ is a simple solution that can help alleviate the irritation of varicose veins. Book a consult today.

The Amazing Details About VenaSeal™ Procedure

VenaSeal™ is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that your vein specialist performs on an outpatient basis. You're able to return to your regular schedule immediately afterward, and blood flow to your heart from your legs may actually become stronger and healthier as a result. The steps of a VenaSeal™ procedure are simple:

  • You'll receive a shot of a local anesthetic for pain relief near the site of the initial injection.
  • Your vein specialist will make a single incision near the damaged vein and insert a catheter.
  • A special adhesive is pumped into the damaged vein and pressure is applied afterward, effectively sealing the vein.
  • Blood is automatically re-routed to healthy veins nearby, where it can be pumped back to the heart. 
  • The closed veins are harmlessly absorbed by the body, becoming invisible to the eye. 

VenaSeal™ is safe and effective and allows you to return to work immediately. You can drive yourself to and from treatment. It's that minimally invasive, and closed veins will never open up again. 

How Much Does VenaSeal™ Cost? 

The average cost of a VenaSeal™ procedure is around $3,000, but may vary depending upon where you live and other circumstances. This may sound expensive, but in reality, it's a state-of-the-art medical procedure that allows patients to find immediate relief from the pain, itching, and swelling of varicose veins, while alleviating the unsightly bulging, black lines that develop as a result. 

Is VenaSeal™ Covered by Insurance?

Unlike other forms of treatment for chronic venous insufficiency, VenaSeal™ may not be covered by your insurance carrier because it's the newest, most cutting-edge treatment available for closing varicose veins. Before having your procedure, speak with your insurance representative to learn more about coverage. 

If VenaSeal™ is not covered by your insurance carrier, talk with your vein specialist regarding radiofrequency vein ablation (RVA). RVA is normally considered effective treatment for chronic venous insufficiency, and as such, most carriers provide coverage. 

Is VenaSeal™ Covered by Medicare? 

Happily, Medicare often covers at least a percentage of the cost of the VenaSeal™ procedure as long as it's considered medically necessary. Talk with your vein specialist to find out whether your procedure is considered necessary or cosmetic. Because varicose veins can lead to bigger problems such as venous ulcers, seeking treatment is typically recommended. 

Schedule a Consultation Today

When you're ready to find relief for the discomfort and embarrassment of varicose veins, Premier Heart & Vein Care is ready to help. Our dedicated vein specialist is an expert at performing the newest, most scientific treatments for varicose veins, including VenaSeal™. Meet our vein physician in San Luis Obispo, CA, when you book your consultation today.

Everything You Need to Know About Carotid Artery Stenosis

Carotid artery stenosis, or better known simply as carotid artery disease, occurs when the two main arteries — one located on each side of the neck — that carry blood from the heart to the brain and head narrow. This condition is typically caused by a gradual buildup of plaque within the artery, which over time leads in the narrowing of it. If untreated, this disease can increase the likelihood of a stroke, which can result in permanent long-term medical issues and even death.

What causes carotid stenosis? Being the disease is progressive, it's largely a combination of a number of factors over time. Those who suffer from medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with carotid artery stenosis. Smoking is another risk factor. In this post, we'll cover everything that you should know about carotid artery disease, from its early symptoms to how it's treated to how to prevent it. Here's a look:

Early Symptoms of Carotid Artery Stenosis

In some cases, carotid stenosis may be an unknown health condition and not evident until an individual experiences signs of a stroke or suffers an actual stroke. In other situations, an annual medical physical exam may suggest to a doctor that there's an issue, which may be followed up with a specialty test, like a carotid ultrasound. And in other cases, there are tell-tale signs and symptoms that individuals and healthcare professionals alike can take note of that may indicate a problem. Here's a look at some of the early symptoms of carotid artery stenosis to be on the lookout for:

  • Difficulty seeing suddenly or blindness.
  • Slurring speech without alcohol consumption or other obvious causes.
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in the face and/or arm and/or leg.
  • Inability to speak or understand speech.
  • Confusion and memory problems.

Treating Carotid Artery Stenosis

The good news about carotid artery stenosis is that it's treatable and certain lifestyle choices can make living with the disease more manageable. Mild cases can even be treated with over-the-counter medications, like aspirin, which can help decrease the likelihood of blood clotting and reduce the risk of stroke. More severe blockages typically involve a more invasive surgical procedure where an endarterectomy is performed to remove plaque buildup within the artery and restore normal blood flow.

As we hinted above, following a carotid artery stenosis, individuals should make immediate changes to their lifestyle, which may include quitting smoking, adopting a healthier diet, exercising more and taking medication to treat conditions that may be aiding in plaque buildup. Eating healthy is particularly important, and a steady diet of fruits and vegetables don't just provide antioxidants, reduce inflammation and strengthen connective tissue, but stimulate blood flow throughout the body as well. A good diet isn't just important for heart health, but vein health as well. 

How to Prevent Carotid Artery Stenosis and Other Vein Issues

As we noted above, the best way to prevent carotid artery stenosis is to live a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise and refrain from any lifestyle habits — like smoking — that could lead to long-term health issues. Additionally, preventative medical care is key to catching certain health issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that could lead to the sudden onset of carotid artery stenosis. 

Contact Premier Heart and Vein Care for More Information

One of the ways to diagnose carotid artery stenosis is via a carotid ultrasound, a non-invasive, safe procedure where images of the body's internal structures are taken and can be analyzed to assess the carotid artery's overall health in real-time. At Premier Heart and Vein Care, we're proud to offer this type of test as a way to carefully examine the health of the carotid artery. Contact us today, and we'll be happy to introduce you to Dr. Ken Stevens, our industry-leading vein physician. Contact our office today for more information.

Why Do Pregnant Women Get Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are common during pregnancy, but usually fade after delivery. Follow these tips to manage the discomfort and make your pregnancy as pleasant as possible.

Awaiting the birth of a child is often a joyous time. But for 40 percent of pregnant women, it comes with an uncomfortable side effect: varicose veins.

Shortly after childbirth, pregnancy-related varicose veins tend to disappear, and for that reason, don’t require medical intervention. But while you’re carrying your baby, you may experience the uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins — pain, swelling, cramping, and tired legs. Fortunately, alleviating those symptoms can be accomplished with some simple, at-home remedies.

Why Varicose Veins Appear During Pregnancy

Changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy may lead to the development of bulging, twisting varicose veins. When carrying a baby, the body produces excess blood to nourish both the mother and the fetus. This occurs at the same time the pregnancy hormone progesterone weakens the vein walls, making it harder for the veins to manage that extra volume of blood. A third factor is the additional weight the growing baby puts on the abdominal veins, which, in turn, slows circulation between the pelvis and the heart.

All of these components strain the vein valves whose job it is to return blood to the heart. These tiny flaps become overwhelmed by the force of gravity when pumping blood from the legs up to the heart. Eventually, the veins swell under the skin and appear as protruding varicose veins.

Treating Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Besides the legs, varicose veins may also develop on the vulva and rectum as hemorrhoids. Although surgical treatment isn’t necessary because the varicose veins will typically recede after delivery, you should alert your doctor to the condition, especially if there are any skin changes or if the veins bleed. Varicose veins can increase the risk of blood clots, so you’ll need to be monitored for that, too.

During your pregnancy, try these self-care tips to manage any discomfort. Each can help counteract the swelling, pain, and cramping that comes along with varicose veins.

  1. Stay Active. Always check with your doctor about which exercises are safe, but walking and swimming are common low-impact workouts that strengthen the calf muscles. When you work your calf muscles, you’re also helping the vein valves push blood back to the heart.
  2. Don’t Sit or Stand For Too Long. Sitting or standing for long hours adds pressure to already stressed veins. Give yourself — and your veins — a break by taking brief strolls periodically or flexing your ankles while you sit.
  3. Put Your Feet Up. An easy way to encourage blood flow back to the chest is by elevating your legs above your heart several times a day. Doing so makes it easier for your veins to circulate blood freely between the extremities and the heart.
  4. Ditch the High Heels. Instead of heels, switch to flats that work the calf muscles when you walk. Also avoid tight-fitting garments, especially around the waist. Tightly cinching your waist will block blood flow between the inferior vena cava (a large vein in the abdomen) and the extremities.
  5. Sleep on Your Left Side. Your sleeping position can either help — or hinder — your circulation. To relieve pressure on the inferior vena cava and boost blood flow, sleep on your left side. 
  6. Wear Compression Stockings. These tightly woven socks provide the extra support your veins need to pump blood back to the heart. By compressing the veins, the stockings prevent blood from pooling in the legs.
  7. Stock Up on Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a vital role in your circulatory system. That’s because your body uses it to produce collagen, a substance that repairs and keeps blood vessels strong.

Visit the Vein Specialists

If your varicose veins don’t go away within a year after delivery, or you want to know more about how to take care of your varicose veins while pregnant, visit the vein specialists at Premier Heart and Vein Care. We’ll discuss all your surgical and non-surgical treatment options. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

 

Get Rid of Spider Veins Quickly and Painlessly

When you notice annoying webs of spider veins on your skin, there's no reason to put up with them. You can get rid of spider veins fast with fast, pain-free sclerotherapy at our vein center. Whether your spider veins are on your face, chest, legs or elsewhere, treatment is quick and effective.

Our vein doctor offers a number of minimally invasive vein procedures, including sclerotherapy for spider veins. These high-tech procedures erase your red, blue or purple veins, with no downtime needed. After making the quick stop at our vein center, you can immediately go on with your busy day. 

Does Getting Rid of Spider Veins With Sclerotherapy Hurt?

Most patients consider the procedure to be painless, like most modern vein treatments we offer. Some patients may be a bit squeamish about needles, but they generally relax when shown the tiny, thin needle we use to inject and destroy spider veins. It's nothing like needles used for flu shots or vaccinations you might have had as a child. In some cases, our vein physician may recommend laser vein treatment, where no needle is used.

How Long Does it Take for Spider Veins to Heal After Treatment

Shortly after treatment, the body begins breaking down the collapsed, web-like vein clusters. Over the next few days and weeks, the treated veins will be completely broken down. Then they are carried away for disposal by your body. The first few days after receiving sclerotherapy, you may notice bruises forming. This is simply part of the natural healing process. Any bruises will fade and heal within a few weeks.

Questions to Ask Your Vein Doctor During Your Consultation

You may be wondering what else to know about treating spider veins with sclerotherapy. Our vein doctor is happy to answer any questions before your sclerotherapy treatment. Here are some questions sclerotherapy patients often ask:

  • How does sclerotherapy work to destroy spider veins? During the procedure, our vein doctor injects a chemical solution into the veins, making them shut down and collapse. The solution is safe and mild, often made of sterile saltwater. The injected liquid or foam irritates the vein's lining and it "caves in" so blood can no longer flow into it. The body gradually breaks down the vein.
  • Is sclerotherapy the best option for my case? We offer multiple advanced methods to get rid of problem veins. Our vein doctor will go over your options and may recommend sclerotherapy. If you also have varicose veins or other issues, this may affect which treatment is best for your needs. 
  • Will insurance pay for this vein treatment? Insurance considers spider vein treatments to be cosmetic. It is usually not covered. 
  • Will my spider veins ever come back? No, your treated veins are gone forever, but you may need touch-up treatments for new discolored veins in the future. Individuals who have spider veins tend to keep getting them, especially as you get older. Sun exposure, and even rough scrubbing of the skin, can cause these web-like veins in certain people. You can also inherit the tendency. 

Meet Our Vein Physician in San Luis Obispo, CA

Our friendly and experienced vein doctor, Dr. Ken Stevens, is an expert in non-surgical treatment for spider veins, varicose veins and more serious vein problems. Dr. Stevens founded Premier Heart Care in 2008 and Premier Vein Care in 2010, which are now joined into a single practice serving the San Luis Obispo community.

Let us get rid of your spider veins, the quick and easy way! Contact Premier Heart & Vein Care online or call 805-979-4777 to schedule your consultation today. 

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Latest Blog Posts

What to Expect When Treating Lymphedema in the Legs

An Overview of Lymphedema If you’re unfamiliar with lymphedema, this overview can help you recognize the condition. It normally describes swelling in one of your arms or legs, or sometimes in both arms or both legs. There can be varying Read More

Are Your Varicose Veins Making Your Legs Itch?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists itchiness among many unpleasant symptoms of varicose veins. This itching often goes hand in hand with other epidermal symptoms that include dry, irritated, discolored, swollen, and/or painful skin. What is Varicose Vein Eczema? Read More

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