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Checking for DVT Symptoms At Home

Worried You Have Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a potentially life-threatening condition that happens when a blood clot occurs inside a deep vein, such as in your leg. These blood clots have a risk of breaking apart and moving up to your lungs, which is considered a medical emergency. Knowing how to check for DVT at home is an important part of ensuring you receive prompt treatment for this condition.

How To Check Yourself at Home

DVT might not cause any symptoms, which can make it hard to detect. In some cases, this condition does cause noticeable symptoms to occur. Checking for these symptoms with a self evaluation involves knowing what to look for. Keep in mind that DVT typically occurs in the legs, but it can also occur in another part of your body. You might also have symptoms that affect other parts of your body, rather than just your affected leg, especially if a blood clot has broken off and traveled through your veins.

Symptoms to Look Out For

What are the signs that you might have DVT? If you have this condition, you should watch for the following symptoms:

  • Pain or soreness in the affected leg, which might start in your calf and spread to other areas
  • Swelling in your leg, although both legs might have swelling in rare cases
  • Discoloration or redness in the affected leg
  • Skin that feels warm in the affected leg

You should see a doctor when you notice any symptoms of DVT, so that you can have treatment done as soon as possible. This helps lower your risk of having life-threatening complications occur. Treatment for DVT usually involves preventing the clot from getting larger, stopping it from breaking up, and lowering your risk of having this condition happen again.

Can DVT Be Treated At Home?

While you can check for symptoms of DVT at home, you should avoid trying to treat this condition on your own. In fact, not seeking medical treatment for this condition can be highly dangerous. DVT requires treatment to prevent blood clots from breaking off and making their way to your lungs, which is known as a pulmonary embolism. This complication can be deadly without immediate medical care. If you have any symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, such as shortness of breath, sudden dizziness, chest pain, or a rapid pulse, you should seek emergency medical care.

Precautions To Take During Covid When Scheduling an Appointment

You shouldn’t avoid putting off treatment for DVT during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it's important to keep yourself safe from this illness. If you need to schedule an appointment, you can take certain precautions to lower your risk of getting COVID. These precautions include wearing a mask during your appointment, using hand sanitizer at the office, and avoiding touching your face. Keep in mind that medical offices are cleaned frequently to help prevent the spread of COVID and other diseases.

Schedule a Consult at Premier Heart & Vein Care in San Luis, California

If you need more information on vein treatments, please contact us to set up an appointment and meet our vein physicians in San Luis Obispo, CA. You can also visit us online to view our before and after results for vein procedures.

Facial Redness from Spider Veins

Facial Redness, Spider Veins, and Professional Advice

No one wants to look in the mirror and see that their face looks red and blotchy, yet chronic facial redness plagues many men and women of all ages. Let’s take a look at the core causes of facial redness and what you can do to treat this uncomfortable condition.

What Causes Facial Redness?

Facial redness is usually caused by a condition called telangiectasia. This occurs when blood vessels become widened or damaged in some way and show up as overall facial redness or blue, purple, or red lines on the face. These “spider veins” as they are also referred to, become apparent because the broken blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin.

Why People Get Spider Veins in Their Face

There are a number of reasons why spider veins on the face may appear. For most people, the main cause can be traced back to one of the following:

  • Weather or pressure changes: Especially when they happen all of a sudden, extreme changes in the weather or pressure can sometimes alter the body’s circulation. This can burst blood vessels. Likewise, if you suddenly sneeze in a violent way or cough hard for a long period of time, blood vessels may also end up bursting and cause redness.
  • Excessive exposure to the sun: Being in the sun for a long period of time can cause blood vessels to burst.
  • Genetics: If your parent or grandparent struggled with this problem, chances are you may too.
  • Pollutants and irritants in the environment: Exposure to certain chemicals can damage blood vessels and cause them to become more obvious.
  • Rosacea: Those who struggle with rosacea (redness caused by enlarged veins) may also struggle with broken veins.

Tips on Prevention & Slowing the Damage

Here are our top tips on preventing and slowing the progression of spider veins and redness:

  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when out in the sun
  • When playing sports and doing other physical activities, wear the proper protective gear and helmets
  • Avoid drastic changes in heat
  • Seek medical assistance as soon as you notice serious signs of chronic redness and spider veins

Common Treatments for Redness Due to Spider Veins

Specialized vein treatment in San Luis, CA can help diminish or eradicate the appearance of spider veins and facial redness. Your unique condition will first be assessed and diagnosed before a focused treatment plan is created for you. This plan may include non-invasive treatments such as laser therapy, sclerotherapy, intense pulsed light, and other solutions.

Get Treatment at Premier Heart & Vein Care in California

No matter what vein-related challenges you’re facing, our staff at Premier Heart & Vein Care will do our best to provide you with the best-quality care and service.

Meet Our Vein Physician in San Luis Obispo, CA

Dr. Ken Stevens is a board-certified internal medicine, phlebology, and cardiovascular disease doctor. His extensive experience and expertise in the fields of cardiovascular treatment and varicose vein and venous insufficiency treatment have made him a premier physician in these areas.

If you are struggling with varicose veins or venous insufficiency, contact us today to learn about our treatment plans and book an appointment.

What Are the Warning Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis

An Overview of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that develops when you have a blood clot deep inside your veins. While DVT can occur in different parts of the body, it commonly occurs in leg veins. This condition can become a medical emergency known as pulmonary embolism if a clot breaks away and reaches your lungs, so it’s important to seek treatment for DVT. Knowing more about it, including the signs of it, can help you determine if you should see a vein physician.

Symptoms and Causes

You might not have any symptoms if you have DVT, so it can be difficult to know if you have this condition. If you do experience symptoms, they might be one or more of the following:

  • Swelling in the area where the affected veins are located
  • Discomfort or pain, such as cramping, in the affected area
  • Skin discoloration in the affected leg or area
  • Skin that feels warm to the touch in the affected area

You should seek emergency medical care if you develop any symptoms of pulmonary embolism, which can occur when you have DVT. Signs of this condition include the following:

  • Shortness of breath that occurs suddenly or rapid breathing
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Discomfort or soreness in your chest, especially when coughing or inhaling
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seeing blood when you cough

DVT can occur when a blood clot forms deep inside at least one of your veins. Your risk of having DVT can be higher due to certain risk factors, such as being over 60 years old or having a previous vein injury. Other risk factors include sitting too long, being overweight, going through pregnancy, having prolonged bed rest, and being a smoker.

Steps to Prevent DVT

Since DVT can lead to serious complications, it’s important to lower your risk of getting it. You can help prevent DVT in several ways, such as eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight or losing extra pounds if you’re overweight. Other ways to prevent DVT include getting regular physical activity, avoiding wearing tight clothing, and avoiding sitting for long periods of time.

Common Treatment Types

DVT treatment involves stopping blood clots from becoming bigger and breaking loose, as well as lowering your risk of having this condition again. The kind of treatment you might need for this condition will depend on how serious it is and whether or not you have any clots that have broken loose. Common types of treatment for DVT include blood thinners to prevent clots from getting bigger and stop more from forming. Medications that break up clots are sometimes used in more serious cases of DVT to lower the risk of pulmonary embolism. Other types of treatment include compression stockings and vena cava filters that prevent clots from getting to your lungs.

Schedule a Consult at Premier Heart and Vein Care in California

If you have any symptoms of DVT, please contact us to schedule an appointment and meet our vein physicians in San Luis Obispo, CA. You can also visit us online to view our before and after results for vein problems.

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.

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. 

What Causes an Irregular Heartbeat?

An arrhythmia occurs when the heart is beating too quickly, too slowly, or in an irregular pattern. What causes this condition and how can it be treated?

When the electrical impulses that control blood flow in the heart misfire, you may experience an irregular heartbeat. Known as a heart arrhythmia, this condition causes your heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or otherwise erratically.

A normal resting heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute. A heart rate faster than 100 beats per minute is classified as tachycardia, or a fast heart rate. A heart rate slower than 60 beats is called bradycardia. A slower than normal heart rate may not be a reason for concern since many athletes have slow heart rates due to being in peak physical condition. Medication to control high blood pressure may also cause bradycardia.

The most common type of heart arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, or AFib. If you have AFib, the upper chambers of the heart (the atrias) don’t pump blood properly to the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 2.7 million to 6.1 million people in the U.S. suffer from AFib. Knowing the signs of an irregular heartbeat and discussing any symptoms with a doctor can help ensure that your heart remains healthy.

Causes of an Irregular Heartbeat

Besides an erratic pulse or racing heart palpitations, common symptoms of a heart arrhythmia include shortness of breath, chest pain, sweating, pale skin, or feeling dizzy and light-headed. Heart arrhythmias put you at risk of a stroke or heart disease, so any unusual heartbeat should be checked by a doctor.

To diagnose an arrhythmia, an echocardiogram (EKG) measures electrical activity in your heart. Or, you can wear a Holter monitor which records your heart rate throughout the day. Lastly, a stress test to check how your heart performs when exercising may be done. This test takes place on a treadmill as you walk or jog.

Heart arrhythmias can be attributed to a number of factors, such as blocked arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, congenital heart defects, and sleep apnea. Lifestyle also impacts our heart health. Smoking, caffeine, excessive drinking, and stress have all been linked to an irregular heartbeat. An arrhythmia could even be a sign of a heart attack — and if that’s the case, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Arrhythmias can also be brought on by certain prescription drugs and cold medications. In addition, the electrolyte levels in your blood — substances such as potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium that control the electrical activity in your heart — may be too high or too low, which leads to an irregular heartbeat. People with an underactive or overactive thyroid have a greater chance of suffering heart arrhythmias, as well.

Treatment for Arrhythmia

If your symptoms are diminishing your quality of life or your doctor believes you may be at risk for complications due to an arrhythmia, you’ll begin a treatment program. This may include medication to control your heart rate or an implantable device like a pacemaker. Inserted under the skin near the collarbone, the pacemaker jolts the heart to a normal heart rate when it detects an abnormal rhythm.

A minor surgical procedure — a catheter ablation — has been used to treat arrhythmias. This procedure pulses heat, radiofrequency waves, or cold through a thin catheter into the heart tissue to short-circuit the area where the irregular heartbeat originates. Heart surgery is recommended only when other methods have failed to regulate your heart rate.

Along with medical treatment, your doctor may advise lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, following an exercise routine, eating a heart-healthy diet, and practicing stress reduction will maintain your heart health and prevent cardiovascular problems in the future.

Let Us Care for Your Heart

If you notice your heart rate is irregular or experience other cardiac symptoms, the physicians and staff at Premier Heart & Vein Care employ a variety of diagnostic tools to determine what may be causing your arrhythmia. We’ll then prescribe a treatment program to maintain your cardiovascular fitness. Your heart health is important to us — find how our compassionate, knowledgeable staff can help by making an appointment today.


What Are the Symptoms of Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a condition that affects your lymph nodes and causes your limbs to swell. Learn the symptoms so that you can identify it early and take steps to keep it from worsening. 

Lymphedema is a condition where one of your arms or legs, or possibly both of them, swells up. It is often caused by the removal of or damage to the lymph nodes, which causes a blockage in your lymphatic system that prevents fluid from draining effectively. This fluid then builds up, resulting in swelling in your limbs.

There are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary. Primary is especially rare, and is caused by the absence of certain lymph nodes at birth. Secondary is more common, and is the result of damage to your lymphatic system, which can happen during surgery, infection, or cancer treatment.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for lymphedema. However, early diagnosis and careful care for your affected limb can help you manage the condition.

Symptoms of Lymphedema

The most obvious symptom of lymphedema is the swelling of either all or part of your arm or leg, including your fingers and toes. This swelling can range from mild to severe, and may appear months or years after lymphatic injury.

Other symptoms of lymphedema include:

  • A restricted range of motion
  • General aching or discomfort
  • Feelings of tightness or heaviness
  • Fibrosis, a thickening and hardening of the skin tissue 
  • Recurring wounds and infections

It’s important to properly care for your affected limb, as the smallest injury can become an entry point for serious infection. Two common types of infections for people with lymphedema are lymphangitis, which is an infection of the lymph vessels, and cellulitis, which is a serious bacterial infection of the skin.

Treatment for Lymphedema

Unfortunately, chronic lymphedema cannot be cured. However, there are a number of treatment options that can help reduce discomfort and prevent the condition from worsening. These are particularly important given that untreated lymphedema can lead to decreased mobility and function of the affected limb as well as increased swelling and infection.

The best practices for treatment are:

  • Wearing compression garments on the affected limb or utilizing other compression devices.
  • Elevating the limb whenever possible. 
  • Engaging in gentle exercise through muscle contraction. 
  • Getting massage therapy to help with fluid drainage. 
  • Avoiding situations that might result in injury given that small wounds can open you up to major infections. 
  • Being especially mindful of hygiene. 
  • Avoiding heat or extreme cold.

Some of these best practices focus on preventing infection. If you do get a wound in a limb affected by lymphedema, it’s important that you act quickly to prevent infection. Gentle scrubbing and irrigation of the wound is critical as is the aggressive administration of antibiotics to prevent cellulitis. Non-adhesive, compression dressings can also help the wound heal.

If you believe you might have lymphedema, or if you have any questions about the condition, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with the specialists at Premier Heart & Vein Care. We can help you navigate the condition and determine the best treatment options for you.

How Heart Disease Affects the Digestive System

Stomach pain and other gastrointestinal issues can indicate a heart condition like heart disease (i.e., cardiovascular disease). Typically, these gastrointestinal symptoms occur because the heart is having difficulty pumping blood throughout the body. As blood circulation slows, the body chemistry changes from alkaline to acidic: Once the body transitions to this acidic state, organ systems, including the digestive tract, are unable to function properly.

What is Heart Disease?

Cardiovascular disease is characterized by the inability to supply an adequate amount of oxygenated blood to the heart due to the narrowing or blocking of arteries. This narrowing and blocking are caused by a buildup of fatty plaques. This buildup of plaque is dangerous because it can limit blood flow during physical activity, resulting in pain or pressure (i.e., angina) in the chest. Furthermore, when clots form, they can block off the blood flow completely, which will cause the individual to suffer a heart attack or a cardiac arrest. Narrowing and blocking of the arteries can occur elsewhere in the body as well, hindering blood flow and negatively affecting organ systems.

How Cardiovascular Disease Affects the Digestive System

Initially, the stomach pains that may indicate bad heart health are sharp and sporadic; however, as time passes symptoms usually become chronic. These pains frequently occur close to the upper left side section of the stomach. Additionally, pain may be experienced in the esophageal sphincter. These pangs may be happening due to uncommon electrical activity that is being emitted from the heart.

Other symptoms that may indicate heart disease include sweating, nausea, and fatigue. These symptoms can be experienced at the same time or individually. Since these three symptoms may be a sign of myocardial infarction, seeking immediate heart care if these symptoms arise is essential.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal issues due to cardiovascular disease:

  • Intestinal angina — due to the pain and problems associated with eating, people may lose a significant amount of weight. The symptoms of intestinal angina include diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting following meals. Sharp abdominal pain usually begins within an hour of eating a meal and lasts up to two hours. The pain associated with intestinal angina includes dull cramps located near the pit of the stomach; however, this pain can radiate to the back.
  • Acute intestinal ischemia — this occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in one of the intestinal arteries. These clots usually originate in the heart and are caused by atrial fibrillation. If severe enough, a portion of the intestine may die, which is a medical emergency.
  • Nausea — although the nausea is related to stomach pain, this symptom also indicates that the individual's heart health is continuing to deteriorate. The stomach’s ability to digest and process nutrients is inhibited due to the body’s continued acidic state. When the body is in this state, the stomach begins producing more hydrochloric acid (HCI), which is the acid used during digestion. As it erodes away the lining of the stomach, this excess HCI causes the individual to experience nausea: If not addressed, this erosion could lead to the formation of an ulcer.

To learn more about how you can improve your heart health with natural heart care, contact Premier Heart and Vein Care today at 1-805-979-4777.

What is the Best Exercise for the Heart?

Serving as the powerhouse of the cardiovascular system, a strong heart is crucial to maintaining overall health. Following a heart-healthy diet, like the DASH or Mediterranean Diet, and incorporating an exercise routine geared towards strengthening the heart are two of the easiest ways to ensure your heart remains strong and healthy.

Exercise Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

As the heart becomes stronger, each beat pumps more blood. As this oxygenated blood begins moving more quickly throughout the body, the efficiency of organ systems improves. In addition, exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease, can lower blood pressure as well as decrease the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood. LDL is the cholesterol responsible for clogging the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. Exercise also helps counteract the effects of LDL by raising the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels in the blood. HDL helps improve heart health by carrying fatty deposits out of the arteries; thus, reducing the likelihood of a heart attack.

What Type of Exercise is the Best for Strengthening the Heart?

When it comes to heart care, aerobic exercise works the heart muscle the most. In fact, due to its ability to build the heart muscle, aerobic exercise is frequently referred to as “cardiovascular exercise.”

Examples of cardiovascular exercises include:

  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Biking

After receiving approval to begin a heart-strengthening exercise routine, patients need to start out slow, gradually increasing stamina per their physician's approval. Eventually reaching the recommendations as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, adults should incorporate at least 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise into their schedule every week. To be effective, the length of aerobic exercise sessions must be at least 10 minutes.

Examples of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercises include:

  • Cycling on a flat surface
  • Taking a brisk walk
  • Swimming leisurely
  • Dancing
  • Working in a garden

Stay Flexible for Overall Health

As we age, our bodies become more rigid. Stretching promotes flexibility, helps keep the joints limber and allows the muscles to maintain a full range of motion. In addition, remaining flexible reduces the likelihood of suffering an injury while exercising or participating in other activities.

Flexibility exercises include:

  • Taichi
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Basic stretches

Once you know that you are healthy enough, getting active is the best way to improve your quality of life. Walking is a simple activity that most people already do. Many patients find that using a pedometer to track their steps keeps them motivated and provides them the information they need to gradually increase the number of steps they walk each day.

Dr. Ken Stevens can evaluate your heart to ensure you are healthy enough to begin a cardiovascular exercise routine. As your cardiologist, Dr. Stevens can help you as you work towards improving your health. To schedule an appointment, please contact Premier Heart and Vein Care today at 805-979-4777.

How do I prepare for radiofrequency ablation (RFA)?

State-of-the-art treatments such as radiofrequency ablation are minimally invasive, low risk, and effective options to get rid of varicose veins. Learn what this procedure entails and how to prepare for radiofrequency ablation.

Purpose of Radiofrequency Ablation

Varicose veins form when the walls of your veins become weakened. This causes veins to bulge and swell. Traditional methods of vein treatment involved stripping the veins from the skin, leading to pain and scarring. Newer methods like radiofrequency ablation, or RFA, remove varicose veins without causing these complications.

In radiofrequency ablation, your vein doctor will insert a small catheter, or tube, into the diseased vein. This requires a very tiny incision. The catheter then delivers heat using radiofrequency energy. This targets the collagen in the vein walls, causing the molecules to collapse. Once the vein walls have collapsed, your body naturally diverts blood to alternative pathways and reabsorbs the varicose vein.s

How to Prepare for Radiofrequency Ablation

Before you arrive for your RFA appointment, your vein doctor will provide specific instructions about how to prepare. In general, you should do the following to prepare for radiofrequency ablation:

  • Arrange transportation to and from the appointment if you are taking a sedative medication
  • Take your sedative (if prescribed) approximately 1 hour before the procedure
  • Drink lots of water
  • Remember your compression stockings
  • Wear loose clothing. This might include sweatpants, shorts, or a skirt. Tight clothing restricts your motion and may affect healing.
  • Know that your underwear may get stained. Depending on the placement of the affected vein, your doctor may prep your entire leg, including groin area.
  • Fill out paperwork and bring your health insurance card.

What to Expect After Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is minimally invasive. As a result, most people find that they experience only minor discomfort during the procedure. Additionally, receiving radiofrequency ablation can lead to lower rates of pain, bruising, and scarring compared to other vein treatment options. For best outcomes, follow this advice after your RFA procedure:

  • Do not sit or stand for long periods of time
  • Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 2 weeks.
  • Walk frequently after your procedure.
  • Wear your compression stockings for at least 3 days after the RFA procedure (taking them off at night). Wearing them longer may help.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment with your vein doctor. This typically includes an ultrasound within 1-3 days.
  • Take showers, but avoid submerging yourself in water for at least one week. This means no baths, swimming, or hot tubs.
  • Try to move around at least once per hour.
  • Take baby aspirin, if medically indicated by your doctor.

The area affected by the varicose vein may be tender and have slight bruising after radiofrequency ablation. Follow your doctor’s care instructions to ensure a healthy recovery.

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