"The Know" is an informational resource concerning vein treatment options. It contains valuable information for prospective patients, physicians as well as those in the vein treatment industry. We will be regularly posting educational articles, video logs and other pertinent information. We encourage your feedback and welcome any suggestions that you feel may improve the blog.
July 2009 Blog Archive
Friday, July 31, 2009
Doctor Henry Childers of Southern Ohio Medical Center Heart and Vascular Associates is offering weekly free varicose vein screenings for anyone who is interested. These screenings are to help patients asses their own vein health and potentially spot a venous issue early. Many patients may not want to make a doctor appointment just to check on their veins. These free screenings allow patients the luxury of getting checked out, without the hassle and possible fees.
"There is nothing to loose at the free screening, if you are a candidate you will gain something. If you are not a candidate we are not going to do something that's not going to help," Dr. Childers said to his local paper The Community Common.
Many other doctors offer free services as well for the benefits it may provide. Physicians that are able to examine a patient may catch the disease early. If spotted, physicians can immediately set up an appointment with these new patients to fix the problem. Instead of waiting until there is a serious problem, patients can begin treatments early to improve their success.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
VNUS Makes Removal Quick
The VNUS closure procedure makes removing harmful and painful varicose veins quicker and easier than ever. Those suffering from varicose veins say they feel heaviness to their legs and perhaps fatigue. Once the procedure is complete, these symptoms usually disappear. The procedure takes about 15 minutes and uses a small incision hole, in comparison to traditional surgical treatments that are more invasive.
"Doctors say think of the vein system as a traffic map. When one freeway is faulty and the bloods not traveling efficiently the answer here is to shut it down" reports ABC News. Surrounding veins will take up the responsibilities of the diseased vein that is removed. The procedure is covered by most insurance companies and is growing in popularity due to the efficiency of treatment.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Compression stockings have been known to help patients with lowering the risk of DVT. One member who is also utilizing these stockings is the world renowned athlete Lance Armstrong. He is using the stockings for recovery after his workouts. The stockings help regulate blood flow to his fatigued muscles.
These stockings are normally worn by those of high risk for varicose veins or DVT, but this new media exposure may bring others into the market. Tests have not been completed to determine if compression stockings really help athletes in performance and recovery. Armstrong also wore the stockings on a plane ride overseas to regulate for the same purposes. The use of these stockings continues to grow, and Armstrong may be the leader in bringing compression stockings into the media. Perhaps more people will consider their use for their own issues, especially those with venous issues.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Short Flights Lower DVT Risks
A few posts ago, we discussed how airlines warn passengers about the possibility of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) while on long flights. In recent news, German researchers say that developing a blood clot, or DVT, is very unlikely in healthy travelers. The risk is lessened especially for flights that are under six hours in length.
At the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, research was conducted on DVT and air travel. This included the experiences of millions of air travelers. The results of the study show that about two to five passengers out of every 10,000 passengers (.05%) who took a flight longer than six to eight hours developed DVT. Even the passengers who were at higher risk due to large varicose veins or being overweight were not very likely to develop a blood clot. The study says that only 20 out of 10,000 (0.2%) of these travelers were affected.
Those taking shorter flights should not stress themselves too much in regards to venous health. Flying in coach seats, which are known to restrict leg space, may limit your leg mobility. Travelers should still be aware of their bodies and try to stretch their legs when possible.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Dangers in Recovery
Limited mobility is a major risk factor for developing DVT (deep vein thrombosis). When a person breaks or injures their leg, they are often put into a cast or splint. Although these devices may help heal the damaged bone, a person's risk of developing DVT significantly rises.
"To prevent serious complications, it is important to get back on your feet and move around again as soon as possible. If that is not possible, for example if putting strain on the leg too soon could slow down recovery, there are effective medications that can be used" states the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.
With a cast, the muscle is restricted from movement or contraction. Blood then moves much slower through the veins and can form clots. Anticoagulant medication can be prescribed to keep this from occurring, but should be monitored for reaction with other medications.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Many women find that their vein problems worsen with pregnancy. It is common for women during pregnancy to develop varicose veins. During pregnancy, the woman's uterus grows and put extra pressure on the large vein down the right side of the body. As a result, added pressure is exerted on the leg veins. In addition, pregnancy increases the amount of blood in a woman's body. Veins have to work twice as hard to pump blood to all extremities. Luckily, it is common to have venous problems lessen dramatically after one gives birth.
Along with all the other changes to the body, varicose veins are an additional worry for many women. To help alleviate worries, there are many things that pregnant women can do to lower their risk of venous complications. Pregnant women are advised to exercise regularly to ensure proper blood flow through the body. Elevating your legs also helps with a pillow or stool when you sit down. Lastly, wearing support hose can help keep circulation flowing in your legs, especially if they swell during the final months of pregnancy.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Bad Veins in the Workplace
You may go to work everyday without realizing that you may be causing damage to your veins. In the corporate world, employees spend eight hours of more sitting at a computer desk. This limits your range of motion and often restricts blood flow to your lower extremities. Although this may keep employees productive, sitting for an extended period of time is harmful to your veins.
In order to combat this problem, make sure to stand up and walk around every few hours. Maybe even take a walk around the office on your break. If you are unable to walk around, try to flex your calves on the hour. Employees should utilize their muscles while at their desk. By contracting your calf muscles, you are allowing blood to freely flow through your veins. Blood that clots in your veins could lead to serious complications, such as deep vein thrombosis. Be aware of the signals your body gives you and remember to stretch often.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tips for your Veins
Patients looking to diminish the look of spider and varicose veins may confused with the mass amount of information available. ABC 7 recently released some basic tips on venous disease prevention.
Listening to your body is very important when assessing the need to see a physician. Spider veins may seem like just a cosmetic concern, but a much more serious condition may develop if patients are not aware of the risks. It is important to stay active and to use your legs as much as possible to keep your venous system healthy. Exercise will also help patients maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight leads to unneeded pressure on your leg veins.
Lastly, patients should be aware of pressure exerted on their legs. Compression stockings help maintain equal pressure throughout the leg. This keeps blood flowing and does not limit blood flow to one area. Although not needed every day, compression stockings are helpful on long trips where you may be standing or sitting for a long period of time
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Risk of SVT to DVT
Superficial Vein Thrombosis (SVT) is a treatable condition where varicose veins become swollen or painful. However, an Australian study found that a quarter of patients who were diagnosed with SVT also had DVT (deep vein thrombosis), a much more serious condition.
"I think it's a good idea for anybody with superficial vein thrombosis to undergo routine ultrasound screening of the deep veins of their legs to exclude this very, very serious diagnosis" suggested the associate director of surgery of Mount Sinai School of Medicine to AJC News.
SVT can be seen on the skin's surface and is treatable by physicians. An ultrasound can help detect a larger problem that hides in the deeper veins. Without treatment, DVT can result in pulmonary embolism, post-thrombotic syndrome, or even a loss of a leg.
Monday, July 20, 2009
People inherit a variety of different traits from their parents and grandparents. Their genes provide part of the genetic code that you are formed with. But what about genetic traits that you do not want to inherit? Varicose veins, unfortunately, have been shown to be an inherited trait that typically develops between ages 30 to 50.
"Heredity plays a huge role in the development of varicose veins. Most people who have varicose veins inherited them from their parents or grandparents" says Dr. Reese, a vascular surgeon who recently answered a Q&A to News-Leader.
If your family has a history of varicose veins, you should be aware of the risk factors. Changes in your lifestyle may decrease your risk for varicose veins and may also help decrease symptoms.
Friday, July 17, 2009
VTE and Pancreatic Cancer
Patients undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer are at risk for development of symptomatic venous thromboembolism. However, a new study has found that the drug enoxaparin may reduce this risk and help save patients from this disease.
"The lowâ€“molecular-weight heparin enoxaparin can be applied safely on an outpatient basis. It significantly and clinically relevantly reduced the rate of symptomatic thromboembolism rates, and this effect is maintained even after dose reduction of enoxaparin after three months" explained the study leader to HemOnc Today, a leading news source for oncology and hematology.
Chemotherapy increases the risk of VTE six fold in pancreatic cancer patients. Scientists hope to use this new drug to lower the risk. The drug is safe to administer to patients without hospital supervision and the dosage can even be decreased over time. The test is still in the early stages and more conclusive results still need to be verified.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Treating Hemorrhoids Naturally
Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins in the rectum or near the anus that have become swollen. These become uncomfortable, itchy, and sometimes painful. Hemorrhoids often form in those who sit for long periods of time, are pregnant, have hormonal changes, or deal with constant constipation.
The Examiner investigated new natural ways to help alleviate the pain associated with hemorrhoids. The first involves increasing your fiber intake for your diet, which relieves constipation. Foods high in fiber include nuts, beans, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Nutritional supplements for fiber are also helpful.
They also suggest topical treatments to help alleviate pain and reduce swelling. These are to be applied 3 to 4 times a day for best results. Topical treatments include aloe vera, st. john's wort, and witch hazel.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Leg Veins and Heart Surgery
A recent study found that using endoscopic techniques to remove leg veins prior to heart bypass surgery may cause more harm to patients later on. In contrast to open harvesting, where physicians make an incision down the leg, endoscopic procedures are less painful and have less scarring. However, a new study found that this type of technique may cause more damage to the veins and lead to a 52% higher risk of death in the years after heart bypass surgery.
"Open harvesting, though more invasive and associated with more wound complications, may be less traumatic to the vein and could result in a better conduit" described Reuters.
Veins removed endoscopically were found to be at a high risk for clotting after the heart surgery, leading to the danger for a heart attack. In conclusion, doctors need to be aware that new procedures may not necessarily be best in all situations. Physicians need to discuss risks with patients prior to such large surgeries and warn them of these dangers.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Dangerous High Heels
Ladies, next time you go shopping for the next pair of Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks, take caution. High heels have proven to increase your risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). Remember that the hundreds of dollars you spend on shoes may be costing you more in the long run. Procedures to cure venous disease can range of upward to thousands of dollars without insurance.
To protect your vein health, women are suggested to wear lower heel shoes with less than 1.5 inch lift. Flats are preferable, but a small heel will cause less pressure on your legs and veins. With a high heel, the calf muscle is not effectively pumping blood out of the leg. If your calf muscle is not able to contract when you walk, then the heel you are wearing may put you at risk.
Do not be alarmed, wearing high heels on occasion is not going to be harmful to your health. If you have proven to be of high risk for venous disease, limit the time you wear high heels to one or two days a week at most.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Migraines as a Possible Risk for VTE
It has been hypothesized for quite some time that migraines may be a risk factor for atherosclerosis, the thickening of the artery walls. However, a new study conducted in northern Italy refuted this hypothesis and found a surprising result regarding VTE (venous thromboembolism).
"Migraine patients did seem to be at increased risk for VTE. Overall, 18.9% of migraineurs had VTE compared with 7.6% of non-migraineurs" explained Reuters Health.
Ultrasounds were used to track patients over a six year period. Patients with VTE have been found to also be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Migraines may be a warning factor for those at high risk of VTE and patients should monitor their health and seek medical attention if their migraine pain is a concern.
Monday, July 13, 2009
New EVLT Laser
Bay Area Interventional Radiology has introduced a new laser treatment system to cure varicose veins called VenaCure. This new system uses only a general anesthetic and has a quicker recovery time than traditional surgical procedures such as vein stripping.
"VenaCure EVLT takes less than an hour in our office. The patient has no need for a stay in the hospital. Problematic symptoms show near immediate relief. Patients find there is practically no scarring and no tedious recovery time, nor significant side effects. The procedure has a reported 98% success rate according to recent clinical evidence. It's the new standard of care" stated the doctor at Bay Area Interventional Radiology.
Without treatment, varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort for those afflicted. This new endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) marks another step towards the most effective treatment for venous disease. New technology is welcomed by the medical community and VenaCure may become a popular technology for those physicians working with EVLT systems.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
FDA Approves New Vein Technology
The FDA has recently approved a new technology called Veinwave that is currently in use in the UK. Veinwave is set to be released to US doctors in September and is to be introduced at vascular conferences and exhibitions. This new technology minimizes the risks associated with conventional vein removal such as burning, scarring, or skin coloration.
Sovereign Medical Health released a press release explaining this new procedure. "Utilizing the process of UTC (Unipolar Thermo-Coagulation), Veinwave applies a unique localized heat energy, via an ultra fine insulated needle, causing the vein walls to collapse and the vein to disappear instantly."
The creators of Veinwave are excited about the opportunity to market their product in the US. Dozens of doctors have already expressed interest in receiving information on the technology. Advancements in safety and efficiency are welcomed in the profession and Veinwave may provide doctors with a new option in vein care.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Travel and DVT
The summer months show the highest rate for air travel nationwide. Long plane rides have been proven to be a dangerous venture for those at high risk for DVT. Blood flow is limited when a person sits for an extended period of time, forming dangerous blood clots. These clots can form in knees and have the ability to travel toward the lungs.
Travelbite reports that "there is a measurable increase in the chance of a blood clot for every two hours spent sitting in a stationary position while traveling." Travelers are suggested to walk around often when taking long flights. In addition, drinking more water will also help with blood flow.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Alcohol and VTE
The American College of Cardiology released a study this week showing daily
alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in
older women. The study was focused on a variety of diet factors, but
alcohol was found to be the best contributing factor, having a 26% decreased
in number of VTE cases over a 19 year period.
The study went on to say, "for the practitioner, it can be problematic to
recommend alcoholic consumption. However, mounting epidemiologic evidence
would suggest that it is perfectly reasonable to report to patients that
moderate alcoholic consumption (one drink per day) is associated with better
health outcomes than abstinence or consumption of more than one alcoholic
drink per day."
The study emphasizes that only one drink a day is beneficial to health.
Excess consumption may counter your efforts, as well as lead to a variety of
other health problems. Alcohol in moderation can be a helpful tool to help
fight off cardiovascular disease as well as VTE. However, patients should
consult with their doctor before any drastic dietary changes are made.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Free Clinic in Honduras
Dr. Rosenberg, a vascular surgeon from Charles Town, recently visited Honduras to participate in a free clinic for patients afflicted with vein-related issues. The experience allowed him the opportunity to help those who have been unable to receive treatment due to lack of resources and proper medical care.
In an article by The Journal, Rosenberg was quoted to say "I knew the quality of medical care there is poor, not because the doctors aren't good but because there aren't many of them so access to any doctor is limited. A lot of patients there are living with varicose veins because there is not a lot of means for private transportation so walking often puts a lot of stress on the legs. Also, many of the women there have had eight or 10 kids and pregnancy is a huge cause of varicose veins."
Doctors participating in the program treated over 500 patients, many with very serious venous disease complications. He went on to say that Americans are very fortunate to have access to such a wide variety of health care resources and should be thankful for the technology which is readily available.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Compression Stocking Contest
SIGVARIS, a large manufacturer of compression therapy equipment, has chosen a winner from their Life for Legs Compression Therapy Contest. The contest was held through the month of March and the winner was recently chosen from the entries. The goal of the contest was to promoted educational awareness for DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).
"Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism affect an estimated 350,000 to 600,000 Americans each year. Together, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism contribute to at least 100,000 deaths each year. More people die from DVT complications in the US each year than breast cancer, motor vehicle accidents and AIDS combined" stated the article by PR Inside.
Companies, such as SIGVARIS, are taking the steps to educate the public about DVT through contests, videos, websites, and brochures. The winner was a man from the Bronx, New York, who has been wearing compression stockings for years and showed the most support for the SIGVARIS product lines.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Traffic Takes a Toll on your Veins
As we have discussed in previous blogs, sitting in a confined space for an extended period of time can cause Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). The fourth of July is a popular holiday in the US, and many use this weekend as a time to visit friends and family. Unfortunately, sitting in traffic has become a staple of the holiday weekend as well.
If taking a long trip, please remember to stretch often. Sitting in one position for hours can put tremendous pressure on your legs and veins. Pulling off the road for a quick stop will help your venous system, as well as your sanity.