How to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis
There are simple steps patients can take to reduce their chances of developing a potentially dangerous blood clot.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) refers to a blood clot that forms deep in a leg vein. Roughly 600,000 Americans develop DVT every year, according to the Surgeon General. Not only does DVT cause painful swelling and discolored skin, it can also lead to a potentially serious pulmonary embolism (PE) if the clot travels to the lungs.
Normally, platelets and proteins in the bloodstream form a clot when a blood vessel is cut. In this case, the clot prevents the body from losing too much blood. However, the danger arises when there is no damage to the vessel but a clot occurs anyway, likely due to a condition called venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in the veins are unable to pump blood back up to the heart. As blood pools in the veins, there is a greater chance of clotting.
Several factors put people at a higher risk of DVT. These include a family or personal history of clotting disorders, being overweight, living a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking. The odds of DVT also rise when women are pregnant or undergoing hormone replacement therapy. People who are bedridden for long periods in the hospital must be carefully watched for DVT, as well.
Yet individuals at heightened risk of DVT can lower their chances with some prevention tips. Getting treatment at the first signs of DVT can also help avoid a more serious condition, such as a PE.
By following these precautions, patients can reduce their chances of developing blood clots.
- Don’t Sit or Stand for Too Long. Sitting or standing for long periods tends to cause blood to pool in the veins. In the case of long plane or car trips, get up and move around at least every two hours. When seated, encourage proper circulation by flexing ankles in a circular motion.
- Drink Plenty of Water. When muscles don’t get enough hydration, they tighten up and restrict blood flow in the veins. While drinking plenty of water is always recommended to maintain good blood flow, it’s especially true when traveling long distances. Another tip is to avoid alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
- Get Regular Exercise. Even a simple workout like walking for 30 minutes a day builds up the calf muscles so they can support the veins in pumping blood upwards. Further, since extra weight ups the chance of DVT, exercise can help maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep blood clots at bay.
- Wear Compression Stockings. Compression stockings aid circulation by squeezing the leg veins and forcing blood flow back to the heart. Available in drugstores and medical supply outlets, the strongest compression stockings can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription.
- Treat Varicose Veins. According to a recent study, having varicose veins increases the odds of DVT by 5.3 times. By proactively treating varicose veins, patients may also decrease their risk of DVT
Anyone who suspects they have a blood clot should visit a doctor immediately. An ultrasound exam or a venogram — a test during which a dye is injected into a vein followed by an X-ray — are used to diagnose DVT. The condition is then treated with an anticoagulant medication.
We’re Vein Specialists
The staff at Premier Heart & Vein Care are experts in diagnosing and treating varicose veins and other vein disorders. We also can assess your risk of DVT and recommend therapies to prevent blood clots. Make an appointment today to ensure your vein health for many years to come.
Are Varicose Veins Dangerous When Pregnant?
Pregnancy comes with all kinds of unexpected surprises -- your feet can change size, you’re craving strange foods, and your skin can even change pigmentation. Varicose veins during pregnancy can also come as a surprise. Learn about varicose veins during pregnancy and pregnancy-friendly vein care options.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Your veins bring deoxygenated blood from your body back to your heart to get more oxygen. The blood often travels long distances, like from your feet back up to your chest. When your vein walls become stressed, they can’t quite push the blood back as efficiently as they used to.
This causes blood to pool, leading to bulging and purple- or blue-colored veins. These varicose veins most commonly form in the legs and groin.
Why Do Women Get Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women are at higher risk for varicose veins. During pregnancy, your uterus gradually grows larger to accommodate the growing baby. As your womb grows, it places pressure on a vein called your inferior vena cava. This is the major vein that carries blood from your lower body back to your heart. As pressure is placed on the vein, it may begin to bulge and develop varicosity. Changes in your body’s hormones also make varicose veins more likely. Specifically, the hormone progestin makes veins wider and more susceptible to varicosities.
About 10 to 20% of women may develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Certain factors make varicose veins more common. For example, if your mother or grandmother developed varicose veins, you are at higher risk. Poor cardiovascular health may also increase your risk.
Varicose Vein Treatment Options During Pregnancy
Many pregnant women wonder about vein treatment options for varicose veins. The best treatment is to prevent varicose veins from developing in the first place. Some factors, like genetics and your uterus growing, are outside of your control. However, taking the following steps may prevent varicose veins during pregnancy:
- Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing, as this causes blood to pool in your legs.
- Stay physically active, even though the third trimester. Walking, swimming, and body weight exercises can help. Talk to your doctor about safe options for you.
- Don’t wear high-heeled shoes.
- Sleep on your left side. Your inferior vena cava runs down the right side of your body, so sleeping on the left reduces pressure on this important vein.
- Lower your sodium intake to reduce swelling.
- Drink lots of water.
- Wear maternity support hosiery, which keeps blood flowing in your legs.
The good news is that most women's varicose veins go away within three months after delivery. For this reason, surgical vein treatment during pregnancy is not usually recommended. If veins persist, however, you may want to consider vein treatment. Make an appointment in the early postpartum period to learn about the best vein care treatment options for you.
Do Veins Grow Back After a Radiofrequency Ablation?
Millions of people suffer from varicose veins in the U.S., and every year, many of them find relief from their symptoms through state-of-the-art varicose vein treatments like radiofrequency ablation. Many of these techniques are minimally-invasive, which means they can be done in the office without general anesthesia and without long incisions or large scars. Plus, they can be performed on an outpatient basis, with a fast return to the patient’s normal routines.
Another benefit of today’s varicose vein treatments: They’re extremely effective, and most everyone who has their veins treated can expect a high degree of success and an extremely low risk of recurrence. However, in some cases, there is a very low risk a problematic vein will form in the same area. Understanding the risk of recurrence - and why it can occur - is an important part of getting ready for your treatment.
Radiofrequency Ablation and Varicose Vein Recurrence
Radiofrequency ablation or RFA uses intense, controlled heat energy to irritate or “damage” the lining of a damaged vessel. Once the lining is irritated, it causes the vein to collapse on itself, shutting off the flow of blood through the vein. Instead, blood is rerouted to healthy veins to promote normal circulation in the area. Over time, the scarred vein tissue is usually absorbed into the body.
RFA is an extremely effective vein treatment technique. But as with other vein treatment options, there is a very minor risk of recurrence of varicose veins in the same location. Typically, recurrence occurs for one of three primary reasons:
- The doctor is inexperienced in using RFA. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your procedure is a success is to select a doctor who’s experienced in a variety of vein treatment techniques. Skilled, experienced vein doctors can make sure the technique they use is optimized for your needs so you can enjoy the best possible outcome.
- The patient’s veins and vein health were not properly evaluated. Having a thorough vein health evaluation prior to treatment is vitally important for determining the underlying cause of your varicose veins. An evaluation helps your doctor decide which treatment option is most likely to offer long-term success based on your health profile.
- The patient is genetically predisposed to varicose veins. There’s really nothing you can do about your genes, but whether you’re genetically more likely to develop varicose veins or not, you can - and should - take steps to improve your vascular health after your varicose vein treatment. That means following the doctor’s recommendations during recovery as well as leading a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet high in fiber and low in sodium and unhealthy fats, regular moderate exercise, and drinking lots of fluids. Keeping your weight under control can also help by decreasing pressure on the tiny valves inside your veins.
Eliminate Painful Varicose Veins Once and For All
Varicose veins should never be ignored. Even if they don't cause painful symptoms, they can still be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Take the next step toward better circulatory health. Call Premier Heart and Vein Care at 1-805-979-4777 and schedule your vein health evaluation today.
How to Avoid Varicose Veins
Almost everyone knows someone who has suffered from varicose veins. After deciding on the best vein treatment for these abnormal blood vessels, many patients want to know how to prevent additional ones from forming. Individuals who have not developed these unwanted veins seek to avoid the cosmetic and health issues linked to them. This is particularly important when elevated risk factors are present.
What Are the Advantages of Venefit?
Varicose veins affect up to 35 percent of Americans, and those with a family history of the condition are more likely to suffer from varicose veins, reports the Society for Vascular Surgery. While surgical removal of varicose veins is available, it can lead to scarring and extensive recovery periods. However, a newer, more effective treatment, known as Venefit™, offers significant advantages over other treatment options.
What to Expect After a Sclerotherapy Procedure
Physicians consider sclerotherapy a convenient and highly successful vein treatment when a patient seeks to eliminate spider veins or small varicose vessels. Many individuals about to undergo the procedure wonder how they will feel after a session and when they will know if it was successful.
8 Factors that Put You At Risk for Vein Disease
More than 31 million Americans have some form of vein disease, making this a very prevalent public health problem. Your veins are responsible for pushing deoxygenated blood from your tissues back to the heart to be replenished with oxygen. When the veins become weakened, they can no longer efficiently transport blood. This leads to a phenomenon known as chronic venous insufficiency, or venous disease. Learning the factors that place you at risk for vein disease can help you take action to prevent this health condition.
1. Older Age
Veins naturally change as you grow older. Your vein walls will become thinner and weaker over time, which can cause blood to pool in the veins. Individuals over age 50 are most susceptible to venous disease.
2. Physical Inactivity
Physical inactivity is one of the biggest culprits in contributing to vein disease. Getting plenty of exercise throughout the day keeps your circulatory system working properly.
3. Being a Woman
Women are more likely to develop vein disease and men. Scientists believe this may be due to differing levels of certain hormones that place women at higher risk.
Overweight or obese individuals have a markedly higher risk for varicose veins and advanced vein disease. Carrying excess body weight causes your veins to work harder to deliver blood back to the heart. Over time, this can cause blockages in veins or may weaken vein walls. Losing weight is one of the best ways to lower your risk for chronic venous insufficiency.
5. Sitting or Standing for Extended Periods of Time
Do you sit at an office desk for most of the day? If so, you are placing yourself at higher risk for vein disease. Prolonged periods of sitting or standing can cause blood to pool in your legs, leading to vein problems. Get up and move around to keep your blood pumping efficiently.
Pregnancy puts a strain on your circulatory system. In particular, veins in the legs can become compressed by the weight gain associated with bearing a child. This compression may cause venous disease. Fortunately, most affected veins return to normal after childbirth, although you may remain at elevated risk for vein disease in the future.
7. Family History of Vein Disease
Some aspects of venous disease are hereditary. If you have a first-degree relative (e.g., parent, sibling, or child) with varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency, you are also at greater risk.
8. Varicose Veins
Varicose veins occur when blood pools in the veins, causing them to bulge and become an unsightly purple or blue color. These varicose veins are a sign of venous insufficiency. If you notice yourself beginning to develop varicose veins, visit your vein doctor for diagnosis and treatment options.
5 Types of Venous Disease
Your veins do something amazing. Everyday, they fight against gravity, pumping blood up to your heart. Given the forces working against their veins, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that many people develop some form of venous disease or another. Vein disease develops when your veins have difficulty pumping the blood back to the heart. The walls of the veins might be weak or the valves damaged. Get to know a few types of common vein problems.
Examples of Vein Disease
Varicose Veins or Spider Veins
When you think of vein problems, spider veins or varicose veins are probably what comes to mind first. That shouldn't be much of a surprise, since about half of the population has or will have varicose or spider veins, according to the Office on Women's Health. Varicose veins form when the valves in the veins don't work as they should. Blood is allowed to flow backwards down the legs, causing the veins to bulge and twist.
Spider veins form when there is a backup of blood in the tiny vessels near the skin. Usually, spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins. They can also develop on the face and can form as a result of sun exposure.
Superficial Venous Reflux
Another common problem in the veins is superficial venous reflux. It's also known as venous insufficiency. When a person has venous reflux, the blood doesn't make its way up the legs to the heart. Instead, it pools in the veins, causing swelling, darkening of the skin and a feeling of pain or pressure in the legs. Venous insufficiency is often connected to varicose veins, but usually the symptoms it causes are much worse.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, develops when a blood clot forms deep in a person's veins, usually in the legs. Several things can put a person at an increased risk for developing DVT, including an inherited blood clotting disorder, hormonal birth control and sitting still for long periods of time, such as on a flight.
Some people with DVT don't have any symptoms. Others might have pain or swelling in the affected leg. The major concern with DVT is that the clot will come loose and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, a potentially life threatening problem. For that reason, treating the clot early is usually the best course of action. A doctor might prescribe blood thinners or other medications to reduce the clot or compression stockings to help with swelling.
At Premier Heart and Vein Care, Dr. Ken Stevens offers patients with vein disease a variety of treatment options. To learn more about vein problems and the options for treatment, call 1-805-979-4777 to schedule a consultation today.
Types of Vein Disease Problems
Veins are responsible for circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body and back to the heart. However, while the veins are so important, they can develop problems, and these problems can cause a number of complications.
At the onset of vein disease, symptoms are often minimal, causing the disease to sometimes go unnoticed. With some diseases of the veins, if the condition goes untreated, it can become life-threatening. For that reason, being aware of the signs and symptoms of vein disease and seeking immediate medical treatment is vital to your health and well-being.
There are several vein diseases, but some of the most common include the following:
- Varicose veins –A chronic vein disease (CVD,) in this condition, the veins become dilated and they thicken. Varicose veins are comprised of twisted blood vessels, and they are unable to control proper blood flow.
- Spider veins – Another CVD, spider veins are dilated capillaries under the surface of the skin. They appear as small red, purple and blue vessels that resemble spider legs, hence the name. Like varicose veins, spider veins also twist and turn.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – This is a very serious condition that most commonly impacts the veins of the leg, though it can also develop in the veins of the pelvis and the arms. In DVT, blood clots form within the large veins, and if left untreated, these clots can loosen and travel to your lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.
- Lymphedema – This disease is caused by a blockage in the lymph vessels that drain fluid from the tissues of the body, allowing cells from the immune system to travel where they need to. If left untreated, lymphedema can cause serious infections and/or lymphangiosarcoma (a rare form of soft tissue cancer.
- Leg ulcers – These breaks in the skin, or lesions, usually impact subcutaneous tissues, muscle, or bone. They can occur in diabetics, and are the result of insufficiencies in the veins. They can cause serious, life-threatening infections.
- Vein sores – These chronic wounds of the veins are the result of the poor circulation of blood from your legs, back to the heart.
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) – When the venous wall and/or the valves within the leg veins don’t work properly, circulation of the blood from the legs to the heart is compromised. This vein disease causes blood to collect in the veins, causing stasis, a serious condition.
- Pulmonary embolism – This life-threatening condition causes a blood clot in the lungs. It restricts blood flow to the lungs, causing serious damage to the lungs.
- Phlebitis – This is an inflammation of the veins, which is caused by an injury to the blood vessel wall, insufficient venous flow, or abnormal coagulation.
Should you develop one of these more serious vein problems, immediate medical treatment is required.
Having the health of your veins assessed on a regular basis is crucial to your overall health and well-being. Contact our San Luis Obispo vein treatment clinic,Premier Heart & Vein Clinic for an appointment for vein care.
The Basics of Venous Insufficiency
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.