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What to Bring to Your Appointment with Your Cardiovascular Doctor

Going to a cardiovascular doctor can be intimidating if it is your first time, however, you do increase your chances of living a healthier, longer life by having a problem detected early and getting it treated. Before you show up you your appointment, there are some things that you will need to bring with you.

Medications

Bring a list of all your medications. Write or type them down including the dose, frequency, and name. Jot down any allergies you have to medications as well. Having this written down will help ensure your medical record is updated accurately.

Healthcare Providers

Write down a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all healthcare providers you have and the condition you are being treated for. This will allow the cardiologist to communicate with the other care providers if needed.

Family Medical History

Bring along your family history. Include any information regarding heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other important medical history you have in your family.

Your Medical History

Bring along your medical history as well. Be sure to include any information on surgeries or medical procedures you might have including lab reports, MRIs and other diagnostic work-ups.

Other things to bring include:

  • Your referral, identification, and insurance card.
  • Your coinsurance or copayment for your diagnostic test or visit.
  • Your physician's written order for any diagnostic testing you are having done.
  • A copy of any lab results or cardiovascular test results that you obtained from your physician if they haven't already faxed that information to the cardiologist.
  • A list of all questions you might have for the doctor concerning your cardiac care.
  • A list of any current symptoms you are experiencing, even if you don’t think they are related to your heart.

You can also consider bringing a friend or family member who can be a “second set of ears and eyes”, when having your consultation with your San Luis Obispo, CA cardiovascular doctor.

You can consider your cardiologist to be a detrimental part of your health team. Utilize the time spent with him wisely and develop a good relationship with him. Keep in mind that any information you have that could be beneficial for your appointment is important. You never know if it could be the key to a diagnosis and treatment.

Don't leave anything out. Even though communication and information systems are improving, you are the most reliable contributor of your healthcare records. Make sure all information you provide is up-to-date and accurate. This will help the cardiologist give you the best care possible.

It is also a good idea to download patient forms, and have them completed before your appointment.

Make An Appointment With Your Local Vein Clinic

Make an appointment with your local heart and vein clinic today for preventative and diagnostic cardiovascular care, as well as treatment.  Cardiologists use state-of-the-art medical equipment and technology to accurately evaluate, diagnose, and  treat cardiovascular problems. Prepare to talk to a cardiovascular doctor and get the most out of your visit.

 

What to Expect from an Electrocardiogram at a Cardiovascular Center

One of the tests most often administered at a cardiovascular center is an electrocardiogram.  It provides lots of useful information in sports cardiology.  Many patients find an appointment less stressful when they understand the basics of this test and what to expect from it.

What an Electrocardiogram Does

Sometimes patients first hear about this procedure under one of its nicknames:  EKG or ECG.  The American Heart Association describes it as a test to measure electrical activity of a patient’s heartbeat.  This outpatient test is noninvasive and gives quick results.

Each time the heart beats, an electrical impulse, or wave, moves through the organ.  This triggers the heart muscle to squeeze and start pumping blood from the heart.

A physician utilizes an electrocardiogram to identify patterns among rhythms and heartbeats in order to diagnose various heart disorders.  A sports cardiology practice uses it as one tool to make sure potentially serious vascular and cardiac issues are identified as early as possible.

According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors most commonly use an EKG to find:

  • Arrhythmias (heart rhythm irregularities)
  • A link between coronary artery disease and a heart attack or chest pain
  • Problems with the structure of heart chambers
  • Evidence of a prior heart attack
  • How well current treatments like pacemakers are working

What to Expect at the Cardiovascular Center

EKGs require no special preparation.  Since some supplements and medications affect the outcome of the test, it is important for patients to disclose any they are taking.

After changing into an exam gown, a patient lies on a special table or bed.  The staff attaches 12 to 15 electrodes to the chest, legs, and arms.  These are sticky patches that adhere with tape or gel in order to conduct the electrical current of the heart.

A standard electrocardiogram takes only a few minutes.  During the test, a patient needs to avoid moving, shivering, or talking, any of which can distort results.  The equipment records as waves the impulses that cause the heart to beat.  The physician overseeing the test evaluates a printed version of these waves.

Since some heartbeat irregularities occur only periodically, a physician might not see them on a standard EKG and could recommend a specialized type of electrocardiogram:

  • Holter monitor.  An ambulatory monitor, it records rhythms for 24 hours.  While wearing a recording device operated by a battery, the patient keeps a symptom and activity diary.  The physician reviews it along with the recordings.
  • Event recorder.  This device allows patients to forward readings to a physician over a telephone line.  Similar to a Holter, it permits recording heart rhythm when symptoms actually occur.
  • Stress tests.  They involve riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill during an EKG.  They are particularly useful for heart problems that most frequently occur while exercising.

 

What to Expect from Sclerotherapy as a Spider Vein Treatment

For most patients, spider veins are a cosmetic issue.  These small red, blue, or purple vessels are annoying and can steal an individual’s self-confidence.  In recent years, sclerotherapy ranks as the foremost spider vein treatment, particularly when treating blood vessels in the leg.

Issues With Spider Veins

These flat vessels are abnormal but typically cause no serious health problems.  They most often appear on a patient’s legs or face.  They are significantly smaller than varicose veins, which have a raised, ropelike appearance and can cause medical complications.

Some doctors believe that a spider vein is a type of varicose vein.  Other physicians consider them a separate condition.  The UCLA School of Medicine indicates that the official name for these vessels, which resemble a spider’s web, is telangiectasias.  They also tend to appear closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins do.

Common causes include:

  • A family history
  • Gaining weight
  • Pregnancy
  • Medication that result in shifts in hormones
  • Standing or sitting for long periods

Doctors treat spider veins on an outpatient basis.

How Physicians Use Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a process of injecting a spider vein or a small varicose vein with a special solution or foam called a sclerosing agent or sclerosant.  It is a non-invasive procedure with few complications.  A physician injects the agent into each targeted vessel using a very fine needle, the University of Michigan Vein Centers reports.  In recent years, use of ultrasound to guide a physician during the procedure has become common.

Once the sclerosant reaches the vein, it irritates the walls, causing the vessel to seal shut and eventually resorb.  Healthier veins nearby resume the work of the destroyed vessel.  The treated vein disappears over time.

What to Expect

The path to eliminating a spider vein problem begins with a consultation with a specialist.  At the initial appointment, the physician determines whether a patient is an acceptable sclerotherapy candidate and provides detailed instructions to those who qualify.

Most patients report only cramping or minor stinging during the procedure, according to the Mayo Clinic.  The number of sessions required depends on how many veins need treatment and where they are located.

After a sclerotherapy procedure, patients remain on their backs while resting.  Discharge orders specify how long they are required to wear compression stockings.

Although it is necessary for another adult to drive the patient home, most individuals get back to their normal routines the same day as the procedure, absent any strenuous activity.  Physicians encourage walking because it helps prevent the formation of blood clots.  Sun exposure to treated areas can result in the formation of dark spots on the skin.

No treatment can prevent the development of new veins.  For this reason, some individuals come back from time to time for additional sclerotherapy sessions.

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.

Venous Disease

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.

 

Best Foods to Help Make your Spider Vein Treatment More Effective

Research shows that somewhere around a third of the adult population in the United States has a condition that would benefit from spider vein or varicose vein treatment. Spider veins, are a common problem, especially in women. The Society for Vascular Surgery estimates that in the U.S., as much as 35 percent of adults are affected by the condition. The higher risk categories include women, people who are obese, and women who have had several children.

Good nutrition can help both your condition and speed healing from spider vein treatment. The human body is an intricate machine that responds very well when it is supplied with the proper nutrition. As you recover from your vein treatment, incorporate some of these foods into your diet – and eliminate the ones that could cause you problems.

Eat More Fiber

Most people do not get enough fiber in their diet and that isn’t good. Fiber makes the body function much better by moving waste through the digestive tract. It also helps you feel fuller longer which can help reduce your waistline. More to the point of varicose veins, though. Straining while having a bowel movement puts a long of pressure on the veins that are in the lower portion of the rectum, causing hemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Do your body a favor and make healthy, high fiber choices including;

  • Brown and wild rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat flour

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is very beneficial to keeping your body functioning at an optimal level. It keeps your skin soft and supple, helps flush out toxins, and hydrates your organs and body. When adding fiber to your diet, make sure you drink lots of water to keep things moving freely.

Select Foods Containing Rutin

Rutin is a flavonoid and is very beneficial for spider veins. While it offers multiple, whole body benefits, one of the most notable is its ability to minimize the permeability and fragility of capillaries. This means that it can actually help to decrease your risk of developing spider veins, really boosting the impact of your vein treatment. Foods rich in Rutin include:

  • Apple (especially the skin)
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Buckwheat
  • Apricot
  • Grapes

Foods to Avoid

As you make healthy food choices, you will have to get rid of some foods that aren’t so healthy. Eliminate these foods from your diet for healthier veins and overall wellbeing;

  • White rice
  • White flour
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol (no more than 1 glass a day)

The doctor who does your vein treatment can help you target specific foods that would best benefit your body, but you can start eating healthy today. It doesn’t have to be a singular big change, rather a series of baby steps leading you to a more nutritious, healthier lifestyle.

Exploring Spider Vein Treatment Options

Spider veins are an embarrassing condition that can affect your self-esteem and your quality of life. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options are available. Below is some information about spider veins and spider vein treatment options to help you make the best decision.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are abnormal veins that often develop in the hands, chest, face and legs. They appear in web-like formations, and they tend to be blue, red or purple in color. Spider veins are rarely raised above the surface of the skin. Many people with spider veins experience no other symptoms in addition to the appearance of the veins. However, some people may notice throbbing, cramping, tingling and other uncomfortable symptoms, especially when spider veins are located in the legs.

Spider Vein Treatment Options

If you are suffering from spider veins, you may be able to alleviate your symptoms with several different treatments. At Premier Heart and Vein Care, we offer the following treatment options for people with spider veins.

  • Veinwave - Veinwave is a treatment option that utilizes high frequency thermal energy to treat spider veins. The energy is delivered through a fine needle inserted into the abnormal veins. This procedure is ideal for delicate areas that cannot be treated using other methods, such as the face. Veinwave is also appropriate for hard-to-treat areas, such as your knees and ankles.
  • Sclerotherapy - Sclerotherapy is a procedure that treats spider veins with a special sclerosing solution. During this procedure, the surgeon uses a fine needle to inject the solution into individual spider veins. This solution irritates the veins and causes them to collapse. The results of this procedure will not be immediately apparent, but instead will appear over the next few weeks and months.

Seeking Spider Vein Treatment

If you are interested in scheduling treatment for spider veins, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with a vascular surgeon. To get started, contact Premier Heart and Vein Care today.

Is it Time to Visit a Vein Clinic?

If you think you may be dealing with the symptoms of abnormal veins, you may wonder if it is time for you visit a vein clinic. To determine whether the time is right, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Do my veins appear abnormal?

For most people, the first sign of abnormal veins is a change in the veins' appearance. Spider veins typically appear as thin, web-like veins that are visible from the surface of the skin but are not raised. These veins are most common on the chest, hands, face and legs. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are larger veins that may be deep within the tissues or raised above the skin's surface. These veins may be twisted or gnarled, and they are most common in the legs.

2. Do I have other symptoms?

Many people with abnormal veins experience physical symptoms in addition to veins' abnormal appearance. These symptoms may include cramping, throbbing, burning, numbness, tingling and weakness. Some people with severe varicose veins may also develop ulcerations in the skin near the affected vein. If you have any of these symptoms, it is time to see a vein doctor.

3. Have I tried at-home treatments?

In some cases, you may be able to improve some of the symptoms of abnormal veins with at-home treatments, such as elevation of the legs, wearing compression stockings or engaging in more physical exercise. Some people with abnormal veins may also benefit from weight loss. If you have tried these conservative treatment options without success, or if you don't want to try at-home treatments first, it may be time to make an appointment at a vein clinic.

4. Am I interested in vein clinic treatment options?

If you seek treatment at a vein clinic, you may have several different treatment options to choose from. For example, at Premier Heart and Vein Care, we offer the following vein treatment options:

  • Sclerotherapy - Sclerotherapy is a procedure used to treat spider veins and some smaller varicose veins. During this procedure, a vein surgeon injects your abnormal veins with a special solution designed to irritate the walls of the veins and force them to swell. The walls stick together, and the vein collapses. Over time, it fades from view.
  • Veinwave - Veinwave is a procedure designed to address spider veins. This procedure treats spider veins with high frequency thermal energy.
  • Venefit - Venefit is designed to treat varicose veins, including those that are larger or located deep within the tissues. During this procedure, a vascular surgeon threads a thin catheter into the abnormal vein and administers radiofrequency energy. This energy causes the vein to collapse and shrink.

Ready to make an appointment at a vein clinic? Contact Premier Heart and Vein Care to learn more.

 

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

Carotid Ultrasound

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.

Echocardiogram

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.

Electrocardiography

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.

Holter Monitoring

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.

Laboratory Testing

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.

Stress Echocardiogram

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
  • Aneurysms
  • 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.

 

The Basics of Venous Insufficiency

Upload: October 1, 2015

Vein diseases such as varicose veins, spider veins, and venous insufficiency or venous reflux are so common that you might think of them as harmless, but they’re not always purely cosmetic. They can be painful and uncomfortable, and should be treated. You can take steps to manage venous insufficiency yourself, but a visit to a vein clinic can be necessary if you don’t get the condition under control.

Causes and Effects of Venous Reflux

Normally, your vein return blood to your heart so it can be circulated again in the body. Venous reflux occurs when your veins are unable to return blood as efficiently. The following are common causes of venous reflux.

  • Varicose veins, which don’t function as well as healthy veins and have blood pooled in them.
  • Blood clots, which interfere with regular blood flow.
  • Damage to valves in the vein, which allow blood to flow backwards instead of progressing forward to the heart.
  • Weak leg muscles which are unable to squeeze hard enough to get blood back to the heart.

If you have venous reflux, you can experience the following symptoms.

  • Swelling in your legs.
  • Aching, cramping, and throbbing in your legs.
  • Leg weakness.
  • Skin ulcers.

Home Remedies for Venous Reflux

Obesity is a risk factor for venous insufficiency. You can reduce your risk of developing it and slow progression by losing extra pounds. A safe way to lose weight is to eat smaller portions and choose healthy foods, such as vegetables, lean proteins, fruits, and beans.

Exercise helps you lose weight by burning calories, but weight loss isn’t the only benefit of exercise for venous reflux. Exercising can strengthen your leg muscles to improve venous return, or blood flow back to your heart. Walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and weight training can all build your leg muscles.

Vein doctors may recommend compression socks to reduce venous insufficiency. These socks squeeze your legs, increasing the pressure so blood can be pumped back to your heart. You can find them in pharmacies, and a pharmacist can assist you in selecting the proper size and level of compression for your situation.

Therapies from a Vein Clinic

Don’t despair if these treatments don’t work, At a San Luis Obispo vein treatment clinic, you can discuss even more options. These can include the following.

  • Quitting smoking, since smokers are at higher risk for damage to blood vessels like veins.
  • Trying anticoagulant medications if your venous reflux is the result of blood clots.
  • Laser therapy or sclerotherapy to get rid of varicose veins.

If you can’t get the relief you need by using home treatments for venous reflux, it may be time to go to a vein clinic. Vascular surgeons are experts at helping patients with vein disorders, and Tampa Bay treatment can be effective.

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