It’s the nearing the end of the year and there’s still plenty of planning to do to ensure your family is financially stable, happy, and healthy. Vein health is just as important as any other aspect, oftentimes more so, so don’t take it for granted and use your deductible! It’s estimated that as much as 30% of people who pay for health insurance don’t realize they’ve met they’re deductible and that potential paid money goes to waste. This is similar to winning the lotto but not cashing in. Use your benefits to the fullest extent!

Know Your Plan Details

By now you are probably well aware of how your health insurance plan works. You can figure out what it covers, how much you’ll pay out of pocket, and what your deductible is. If you can’t find out, call the number on your insurance card and they’ll tell you all you need to know! The old saying, “knowing is half the battle” is fitting here. As far as health plan coverage, this is vastly understated. Having a working knowledge of your insurance plan can be akin to money in the bank. As the year progresses, it can definitely benefit you. The ultimate goal is to use all of your benefits and then some. If you don’t use them, you will lose them.

Dr. Ford talking to a patient

Make Appointments Now

Between the free vein screenings and the consultations (both cosmetic and comprehensive), if you act now, you should have no problem scheduling your appointments and procedures. At this point, the longer you wait, the slimmer your chances of having all of your vein work done before the end of the year. If your plan offers HSA, you may be able to use that to pay out-of-pocket expenses and even medical expenses, tax-free. Again, this all depends on your plan and what your limits are.

Deductibles

The majority of health and wellness benefit programs carry a deductible that is set at a specific amount. This is the amount you must pay before your full coverage of insurance kicks in. Your plan will inform you how exactly that works and what it takes to reach it. Most plans vary, so go in knowing how your deductible works so that you can best exploit it. Be sure that you make sure that Vascular Solutions accepts your plan. Specific medical insurance may apply your deductible to all procedures at our office, while some might only apply your deductible to necessary treatments, check with your insurance beforehand.

Use Your Benefits Before the Year Is Over

As someone who knows how much it costs to ensure you and your family, you should know what you’re missing if you don’t use it to the fullest. The fall and winter are optimal times for patients to have elective and medically necessary procedures carried out, as they can prove to be quite costly if you wait until after the new year. Take advantage of every benefit your health coverage allows!

To sign up for a free vein screening, click here.

To request a cosmetic consultation, click here.

To request a comprehensive evaluation, click here.

Or, call us at 704-544-7535

Keeping your veins healthy is an important part of maintaining a well-functioning circulatory system. Thankfully, good vein health is fairly easy to achieve. Below are 5 things you can do to make sure your veins are being properly cared for.

1. Stay Active

two people running in a parkElevating your heart rate through aerobic activity every day is a vital part of maintaining vein and overall body health. Every adult should get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily, with 45 minutes being optimal. Moderate aerobic activities include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Gardening
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Light swimming or water aerobics
  • A casual game of tennis
  • Gentle biking
  • Kayaking

If you’re capable of doing vigorous aerobic activity, 75 minutes per week is recommended. Such activities include:

  • Running
  • Swimming laps
  • Weightlifting with limited rest periods
  • Cycling
  • Rock climbing
  • Basketball and other high-intensity sports

It’s also important that we reduce the amount of time spent sitting per day. The consensus within the scientific community is that we should be spending 4 hours of our day standing. Working in an office environment can sometimes make these tricky to achieve, but there are many clever ways to sneak in some standing time while at the office.

2. Eat A Good Diet

Along with staying active, sticking to a well-balanced diet is crucial for keeping your body healthy. But for maintaining vein health specifically, you’ll want to make sure your eating foods that contain a powerful phytochemical called bioflavonoids. These chemicals are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can be found in many colorful fruits and vegetables. Foods that contain high amounts of bioflavonoids include:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Rutabaga
  • Hot peppers
  • Spinach
  • Red onion
  • Citrus fruits

Of course, you should also be keeping track of the number of calories you eat per day. Use a calorie calculator to learn how many calories you should be taking in.

3. Stay Hydrated

When your body is properly hydrated, its blood is thinner and flows more easily through the veins. Most people should be drinking roughly 2 liters of water per day. But if you’re curious about getting a more exact number, take your body weight and multiply it by 0.67. This will give you the number of ounces you should be ingesting every day. But also be sure to add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise you do that day, as it will replace the water you expelled while sweating.

4. Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco deoxygenates and thickens the blood, forcing your circulatory system to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Inhaling nicotine also causes your veins to harden and narrow, making it more difficult for them to function properly. So if you’re a smoker, make today the day you quit.

compression socks

5. Wear Compression Socks

If you’re someone who suffers from chronic venous insufficiency due to their genetics or has a condition such as heart disease or obesity, compression socks will assist with contracting the muscles around the veins to help move blood up towards the heart. Women who are pregnant or those with jobs requiring them to stand for long periods of time should also consider wearing compression socks.

Know When to Seek Treatment

If you experience regular fatigue as well as heaviness or swelling around the legs, it’s time to see a vascular physician. At Vascular Solutions, we offer several minimally invasive procedures for treating varicose veins and other vein-related diseases. To schedule an appointment with our board-certified vascular surgeon, head on over to our consultation page to see what option works best for you. You can also give us a call at 704-544-7535. We are located in Charlotte, NC.

Vein problems have plagued humans since the beginning of time. Fortunately our understanding of vein problems has seen dramatic improvement and technological advancements that have led to a dramatic increase in the number of treatment options available.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE:

The first description of varicose veins dates back to 1550 BC, where varicose veins were described as “serpentine windings” in an ancient Egyptian scroll, now known as the Ebers Papyrus. During this era it was felt best to leave veins alone; “Thou shall not touch something like this”.

During the Greco-Roman era, Hippocrates of Kos, 460 BC – 370 BC, who many believe to be the father of modern medicine, described varicose veins, and counseled against performing vein surgery. The term “varicose” is actually a derivative of a Greek word meaning “grapelike”, and was used by Hippocrates to describe varicose veins

Roman physician Aulus Celsus, 25 BC – 45 AD, was one of the first to describe operating on varicose veins. A century later, Greek physician Aelius Galenas (Galen), 129 AD – 216 AD, described phlebectomy, a vein procedure that is still in use today!

“Vein stripping” was described in detail by an Arab surgeon Abu Al-Qasim Khalaf Ibn Al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi, 936 AD – 1013 AD, also known in the West as Abulcasis.

19th CENTURY:

In the 19th Century venous sclerotherapy was pioneered by Frenchman Joseph Petrequin. Sclerotherapy refers to injecting a medicine into the vein that results in the destruction of the vein.

In 1890 German physician Friedrich Trendelenburg described tying off the great saphenous vein a few centimeters from its end, also known as great saphenous vein ligation.  During 1896 an Australian surgeon, Jerry Moore, recommended tying off the great saphenous vein at a slightly higher level, where the vein connects with the deep vein.

20th CENTURY:

Over the course of the 20th Century the concept of performing vein surgery, to deliberately eliminate blood flow in diseased veins was validated. The purpose of these procedures was to divert vein blood from unhealthy to healthy veins. Although early vein procedures were highly effective, the procedures were typically performed using general anesthesia. These procedures were commonly performed in hospital operating rooms, or ambulatory surgery centers.

MODERN DAY TREATMENTS:

Between 1999-2002 two different types of “thermal ablation” procedures hit the market. These procedures were revolutionary in advancing vein care in the United States, and around the world. Because these minimally-invasive alternatives don’t require general anesthesia,  doctors can perform these procedures on an outpatient basis.

Thermal ablation procedures leverage the concept that if a dysfunctional vein is no longer open, then this simulates the same effect as surgically removing veins with disease. In both situations the blood flow in the diseased veins are eliminated, which in turn forces vein blood to flow through remaining, non-diseased veins.

The two major forms of thermal ablation vein procedures are radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and laser ablation (AKA endovenous laser ablation / EVLA). Radiofrequency ablation uses a catheter that has an active tip on its end. Thus allowing it to cauterize the target vein using radiofrequency energy. Laser ablation of works by using a catheter, which has an active tip on its end, to cauterize the target vein using laser light energy.

More Recent Treatments

Several “non-thermal” vein procedures are now available.

“Non-thermal” ablation procedures are a method that shuts down blood flow in superficial veins, without using heat energy. By avoiding heat, these procedurest eliminate the risk of any injury stemming from heat to surrounding tissues. They also reduce the amount of local anesthetic one may require to perform the procedure. Non-thermal procedures that have become FDA approved over the past few years include VenaSeal closure system, Varithena microfoam, and ClariVein.

 

VenaSeal

The VenaSeal closure system uses an adhesive product to seal saphenous veins closed, without using thermal energy. VenaSeal adhesive is a cyanoacrylate polymer that comes inside a small jar, looking similar to translucent honey when outside the body. The doctor administers VenaSeal adhesive into the target vein by using a long catheter that connects to a dispensing gun. Conceptually, the delivery system is similar to a caulking gun that connects to a long delivery tube. When the polymer comes into contact with blood the VenaSeal product instantly “polymerizes”, occluding blood flow within the vein. VenaSeal has proven to be safe and effective, and has the FDA stamp of approval (2015). VenaSeal allows saphenous veins to close without risk of heat-induced nerve injury, and requires no bandages after the procedure. After VenaSeal procedures patients immediately return to work and full sporting activity.

 

Varithena

Varithena microfoam is a product that is a mixture of liquid medicine – polidocanol – along with oxygen. The Varithena microfoam comes in a small canister (that looks like a can of shaving cream!). The treating physician withdraws an appropriate amount of the foam product into a syringe. This solution is directly administered into the target using a catheter.

 

ClariVein

ClariVein is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a combination of mechanical and chemical forces to occlude the target vein. This process uses a rapidly rotating wire to cause mechanical trauma to the wall of the vein. It also gets a supplement from simultaneous administration of medicine to help occlude the vein. ClariVein uses a very slim catheter that the doctor inserts through a pin-sized skin entrance point.

In addition to saphenous vein treatments, physicians employ several minimally invasive procedures they use to treat “perforator” or bridging veins. This may be the cause of ulcers (wounds) that can develop around the ankle.

Overall, the increasing range of technological advancements for treatment options allow doctors to be more helpful. Vein specialists are now able to diagnose and treat patients with a variety of vein problems. This yields higher degrees of accuracy, less risk of complication, and faster return to full activity.

Sclerotherapy is a treatment that is used to treat varicose and spider veins. Most of the time, it’s chosen as the treatment for smaller size varicose veins and spider veins.

How it Works

The procedure involves injection of a solution into the diseased vein, which causes the vein to seal and then slowly scar. The small amount of blood within the treated vein naturally reroutes to surrounding healthy veins. The treated vein slowly contracts, gets reabsorbed into the surrounding tissues and slowly fades. The healing process typically takes a few weeks, although there are times when it can take longer to realize final results. Sometimes, multiple sclerotherapy treatments are needed.

Sclerotherapy can be performed to help relieve symptoms of pain, tenderness, tingling and burning caused by varicose or spider veins.  Sclerotherapy can also be used purely for cosmetic reasons – to improve the visible appearance of veins that are present at the skin surface. The ability of this procedure to improve low-grade symptoms and improve the cosmetic appearance of the leg allows “two birds to be killed with one stone”!

Methods of Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy can be performed using one of several different types of medicine,  including hypertonic saline, Asclera (polidocanol), glycerin and STS (sodium tetradecyl sulphate). Dr. Ford primarily uses polidocanol (Asclera) as his preferred form of treatment, as this product is FDA approved, and he believes it to be the most effective and versatile product, with the fastest recovery time. To best determine how Asclera might work for you, fill out a contact form today and schedule your consultation.

Side Effects

Potential mild side effects of sclerotherapy include bruising, red bumps, small sores, skin that appears temporarily darkened, and additional tiny red blood vessels. Though they seem unsightly, these typically go away in two to six weeks.

Inflammation is a normal yet longer lasting side effect. Once the procedure is done, discomfort and even warmth around the site of the injection can occur. On extremely rare occasions, blood clots in the deep veins have been known to form.

There is also a slight chance that you may have an allergic reaction to polidocanol, however, this is very uncommon.

Preparation

At your initial consultation you should anticipate the following;

  • Review of any symptoms
  • Review of your medical history
  • Review of any current medications
  • Review of any allergies
  • Physical examination of the concerning area

The days leading up to your appointment, it’s good to avoid excessive lotion, alcohol consumption, or any vigorous activity.

What to Expect

While the positive effects of sclerotherapy are long-lasting, the procedure itself is fairly simple and can be done in under 30 minutes.  These procedures are performed at the doctor’s premises and don’t require a different surgery center. Expect to lie on your back with legs elevated just a little bit. Once the area is cleaned with alcohol, the surgeon will use a very small needle to inject the solution into the affected vein or veins. Although not normally necessary topical local anesthetics medicines can be applied to the skin to make the procedure more comfortable.

Although the polidocanol (Asclera) solution is normally a liquid, there is a foam version of polidocanol called Varithena. Ask your doctor which one might be right for you. The foam is generally used for larger veins because it covers more surface volume than the liquid does.

It’s best to keep in mind that the number of injections a patient receives is heavily dependent on the size and number of veins that will receive treatment. No two patient’s experiences are the same, so you might need three sclerotherapy session where a friend may have only needed one.

Quick Recovery

You will be walking soon after your procedure, and this will be very important so that you can help prevent blood clots forming. Most patients return to normal day-to-day activities on the same day as their treatment. You should budget on  avoiding strenuous exercise for one week after the procedure.

If you require multiple sclerotherapy sessions the optimal timing of repeat treatments is variable and is typically individualized. If you have multiple extensive spider veins (or small varicose veins) additional treatments can often be scheduled shortly after the initial treatment. If “re-treatment” of a localized area is required these re-treatments are typically spaced at least six weeks apart to allow time for healing between treatments.

 

For most people, having healthy legs isn’t just something to wish for. It’s an attainable goal. Your legs can look and feel fantastic with a little daily effort. While leg health isn’t always the first thing on your mind when it comes to your body, it is important.

Moving for Just 30 Minutes

Though it doesn’t seem like a lot of time, finding 30 minutes to move your body is often hard to do. Our schedules are busier than ever, but you can find half an hour to improve your leg health! Not only does moving everyday help your heart, but it can also improve your leg functionality, as well. A study has shown that subjects who were not used to moving have managed to get in better shape and increase their lean muscle by simply moving for 30 minutes a day. After the month-long observation, the majority of the subjects lost body fat, had increased flexibility, and lowered their blood pressure – all by significant numbers.

Leg Health Could Mean Overall Health

Even if it’s just walking for half an hour, that alone will get fresh, oxygen-rich blood pumping to all of your organs and extremities. Once you have taken your first few walks it won’t be long before this becomes a healthy habit. Once you see results, you’ll want to do more. Of course, it takes dedication, time, and maybe even some inspiration.

Long-term health benefits of daily movement include reduced risk for heart disease and stroke, sturdier bones, better balance, and improved joint strength. Just 30 minutes a day, a few days a week, can lead to a healthier you and vastly improved vascular health. Meanwhile, all these steps can add up to stronger, healthier veins in your legs and body. That said, varicose and spider veins are oftentimes out of our control and might require professional treatment.

 

a woman jogging

Walking for 30 minutes (or approximately 5,000 steps) can seem daunting at first. However, once you start achieving this goal, you’ll want to go farther and for more time. You may even change up your exercise routine to include lifting weights, CrossFit workouts, or interval training. Any way you spin it, it’s a win-win situation. That said, any time you will be performing any kind of exercise it’s imperative that you stretch beforehand, and it doesn’t hurt to stretch again later that day. The more you stretch and exercise, the happier your veins, organs, muscles, tendons, and bones will be.

A Little About Varicose Veins

One of the benefits of regular walking and exercise is by eliminating, or avoiding, excess body weight.  It’s generally accepted the excess body weight places a strain on the cardiovascular system, and makes it more difficult for blood within the leg veins to return to the heart.

Many experts believe that progression of varicose and spider veins can minimized by maintaining an active lifestyle. Keep in mind that each person’s physiology is different and heredity factors can play a role.

Although unsightly varicose veins and spider veins are usually benign, there may be underlying issues causing the surface veins to appear. The best advice is to become and stay active. If you are concerned about your veins, getting a consult from a vascular surgeon that specializes in vein problems is likely your best bet.

Are All Varicose Veins Visible?

The short answer to the question is NO, but the reason why is a bit more complicated. The creation of varicose veins occurs when blood isn’t able to travel back to the heart as it should. The outcome is the blood pooling within the vein which can lead to bulgy, unsightly veins. Varicose veins are only visible when the vein is immediately beneath the skin. Many of our veins are hidden beneath the visible layers of skin, and can just as easily become varicose. If an observer were to simply see your legs, they wouldn’t be able to tell for sure if varicosities are present. Luckily, there are other symptoms that might bring you to see a vascular specialist.

What Symptoms Can Mean Varicose Veins?

Tired, heavy, achy legs are among the symptoms many suffer with or without surface varicose veins. Other symptoms can include but might not be limited to:

  • Standing that brings on swollen ankles or feet
  • Red, tender, or warmer locations of your leg
  • Flaky, bleeding, ulcer-like spots on your legs

It is important not to ignore these symptoms. Tired, aching legs may be normal after a long hike, but it is not normal for you to experience these after a short walk or just sitting. If you have a location like this on your body, please seek medical attention. This could be an indication of a blood clot or infection and must be diagnosed and treated immediately.

Should I See a Vein Doctor if I Cannot See Varicose Veins?

When you are tired, you may feel that you are abnormally swollen. Seeing your vein specialists can help ease your discomfort as we will address the underlying causes. Once we have determined the cause of your symptoms, we will continue with the treatment. Depending on your situation, we may start with conservative options such as compression stockings and certain lifestyle changes. If you’re still suffering or your condition improves after conservative treatment, we will continue to evaluate as we go along.

The majority of our treatments are minimally invasive, offer little discomfort, and are non-surgical. Most patients enjoy the benefits of non-invasive surgery. There is sometimes a little need for a self-adhesive bandage and/or over-the-counter pain relievers to quell any discomfort.

For visible varicose veins or other prominent symptoms, such as swelling of the legs or bruising, our free vein screenings may be an option for you. There we can provide you with a small evaluation and from there, determine the course of action. However, if you notice the not-so-obvious symptoms, you will need to schedule a comprehensive exam.

Those who suffer from varicose and spider veins likely know how winter months can be somewhat painful on varicose veins.

Weight gain is one of the common problems that exacerbate for varicose veins. Typically in winter people will add some weight due to cooler weather, less outdoor activity, and of course, get-togethers. We spend winter staying indoors, often with people we see seldom, which encourages not-so-healthy snacking, dinners, and grazing. So, chances are, a couple pounds here and there during the harsh cold months is a possibility.

When someone gains weight, sometimes even just a couple of pounds, it could mean more problems for your varicose veins during the winter months. This is more common in winter than during the rest of the year.

Atmospheric pressure is also a factor when the mercury starts dropping. A change in pressure like this can render the circulatory system inefficient, thus aggravating vein issues.

Some Helpful Tips

Patients who know the suffering of winter do not fear. There are a few steps you can take to alleviate poor circulation.

  • Bundle up, and go walking. Even just a mile spread out over a day will get that blood pumping and help a great deal.
  • Consume fiber-rich foods, these help promote circulation.
  • Keep your legs elevated for 30 minutes before bed, this also can help with circulation.
  • Massage your ankles and calves a few times a day to encourage blood movement.
  • Stretch at least three times per day. Morning, afternoon, and evening stretching can really ease the uncomfortable conditions varicose veins can cause.

To help ease the impact winter might cause on your veins, watch what you eat, and try and maintain some sort of daily physical activity. Even if you have limits to what you’re able to do, give each day a little effort to get the blood pumping.

Stay Hydrated!

A surefire way to do what you can, and this is an easy one – drink lots of water. Despite what season it is, this is good advice, but in the winter it may help minimize the effects of varicose vein discomfort. It might be a good idea to set a reminder every 15 minutes or so during cold snaps to take a sip. We tend not to drink as much water when it’s cooler out, and often end up less than hydrated.

Cold Weather Isn’t All Bad

But cold climates can also benefit veins. The truth is, venous health can be improved from winter weather also. Cold weather has the opposite effect of warm when it comes to blood pooling in veins, causing them to dilate. Therefore lower temps can actually shrink veins, which promotes increased blood flow and relief from symptoms like swelling and cramps.

a doctor filling out a medical invoice

As the summer comes to a close, it’s a great idea to check out the fine print in your health insurance policy.
Many policies contain what is called an annual maximum, and that is the highest amount of care your plan will cover per person in a single year. The annual maximum resets at the beginning of each year. At the opposite end of the spectrum, many plans have an out of pocket maximum. This means if you’ve already eclipsed your deductible and/or out of pocket maximum, and necessary procedures will be covered, often by as much as 100%. Either direction, this means NO cost to you (outside of your premium, of course).

Get The Most Out Of Your Insurance Policy

It’s always best to take care of these issues before the end of the year and to try and squeeze the most out of your insurance policy in any given year. If you do not hit your annual maximum or take advantage of your deductible by the end of the year, all the benefit from that money will be lost. In many cases, this is free or “paid for” money. Why not do everything you can to minimize your out of pocket costs? Have a flexible spending or health reimbursement account? Those can work for you too!

Next year, you or a family member who is your policy might need costly surgery that pushes you over your annual maximum. At that point, you’ll regret not getting the simpler issues-like spider and varicose veins-taken care of before the end of the year. There’s no point in paying for benefits if you’re not utilizing them to the utmost extent.

If you have already had various medical treatments this calendar year, then you might have met your deductible, which means you won’t have any more money out of pocket to spend for dental care. Of course, this varies from plan to plan. But it’s surely another good reason to schedule your vein screening before the end of the year.

varicose veins in a woman's leg

If you have varicose veins or are suffering from tired, achy, heavy-feeling legs, and you’ve been putting off a visit with a vascular surgeon, it might be time to get these issues addressed. Aside from the monthly free vein screenings, Dr. Peter Ford MD of Vascular Solutions also offers cosmetic consultations and comprehensive evaluations.

Don’t Put It Off

Often, waiting to get treatment could lead to more costly and complicated treatments and procedures. If you don’t address the smaller, underlying problems now, they have the potential to be serious in the not-too-distant future. In rare cases, delaying treatment for varicose veins could turn into something far more serious, like deep vein thrombosis.

varicose veins in a man's ankle

And finally, another great reason to schedule a vascular screening before the end of the year is that your current policy may include changes for next year, such as a higher deductible or a lower annual maximum. You have the health insurance benefits – don’t waste them by not using them!

 

by: Peter Ford MD

Whether you are a frequent flyer, once-in-a-while traveler, or a flight attendant, you may have found yourself asking whether flying is bad for your veins.  It is generally accepted that sitting in a stationary position for any extended period of time is not great for vein health.  When you are sitting for a long period of time your calf muscles are not contracting/squeezing, and the blood in your veins has a tendency to “pool” in the lower leg. This pooling of blood can result in swelling of the calf and ankles, which can increase the risk of blood clot formation.  These considerations are especially important for people who have a history of venous blood clot, known vein problems or obesity.

Fortunately, there are some easy things that can be done to reduce leg symptoms and minimize the risk of blood clot.

Walk Around

One of the things that you can do to reduce your chances of developing a venous blood clot around the time of air travel is simply walking up and down the aisle.  This can be a little tricky, as there is limited aisle space in an aircraft, and we are quite often encouraged to “remain in our seat with our seatbelt fastened,” but getting out of your seat and walking up-and-down the aisle once every hour or so helps prevent pooling of venous blood and decreases the likelihood of getting a blood clot.  In addition, walking before, after and in-between flights is also beneficial, and is perhaps one of the few advantages to having a departure/arrival gate located at the end of a terminal!

flight attendants waiting in line to board a plane

Flex Your Ankles

Another strategy that is occasionally recommended is flexing and extending the ankle joint. When you push the foot down the muscles on the back of your calf are contracting, and this helps shunt venous blood out of the leg.  Walking is actually much more effective than simply extending the foot, but in situations where you are not allowed to get up and walk around this may be the only alternative.

Wear Compression Stockings

Compression stockings have been recommended by some to reduce leg and ankle swelling that can occur on long plane flights. Although there is limited data to support the reduced risk of venous blood clots with compression hose, there really is not much downside to trying, and if you’ve had issues with leg or ankle swelling after flights in the past you may want to consider trying a pair.

Seek Medical Treatment If Your Legs Hurt or Swell

If you experience leg pain or leg swelling that persists after a flight, it’s prudent to seek immediate evaluation at a medical facility that has access to venous ultrasound.  Blood clots are fairly common, easy to diagnose, easy to treat and respond best to treatment when caught early.

When blood clots develop in the leg veins this can potentially be a potentially serious problem. Unfortunately, the location, size, and significance of a blood clot cannot be determined by symptoms or the appearance of your leg.

If your leg is painful or swollen an ultrasound test can define the location and size of the clot.  If a blood clot is identified within a “superficial vein” this is not typically a serious or life-threatening condition. However, if a blood clot is located within a “deep” vein, this is known as deep vein thrombosis, and can be potentially serious.

Deep vein thrombosis is more sinister than superficial vein blood clots, because deep vein blood clots can come loose and move through the bloodstream to your heart and lungs, which is known as a pulmonary embolism. Most patients who experience a pulmonary embolism will experience chest pain and/or shortness of breath. Although symptoms of pulmonary embolism can vary, they can mimic those of a heart attack. It’s very important to get emergency help if you believe you’re suffering from a pulmonary embolism, as this could result in permanent injury or even be fatal.

Some tips for those traveling by plane:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Stand and stretch frequently (when the seatbelt sign is OFF)
  • Use compression stockings while traveling
  • Move your toes and flex your feet every 15 minutes or so to keep fresh blood flowing
  • Stand and walk up and down the aisle when you can
  • Rub your calves and feet (if you’re able) once per hour

Using any or all of these methods could reduce the chances of complications due to flying for extended periods of time. It wouldn’t hurt to practice these on a regular basis outside of air travel, too.

Though there is quite a bit of research out there, that basically all points the same direction, there is still much undiscovered about air travel and vein diseases. It’s widely accepted to wait a few weeks after any type of vein procedure to travel by plane, though short distance flights may be resumed within a week or so.

We Are Here to Help

If you have vein issues or leg symptoms or want to discuss your vein health or treatment options your best bet is to call Dr. Ford and his team at Vascular Solutions. His team is fully equipped to accurately diagnose and treat any vein problems including varicose veins, venous reflux disease, and deep vein thrombosis. They offer minimally-invasive treatment options and treat a wide variety of vein conditions in both men and women on a daily basis. If vein issues run in your family, be sure to contact Dr. Ford and his wonderfully gentle and knowledgeable staff today.

Safe travels!

by: Peter Ford MD

When you hear about varicose or spider veins, many people are under the false assumption this is a “woman’s problem”. Although women are more commonly affected by vein issues, up to 40% of men have varicose veins on their legs. While the fairer sex is at greater risk, it doesn’t mean men are exempt. Men often have vein challenges to deal with.

In general, men typically don’t talk too much about health problems and rarely discuss leg vein issues. Men have a tendency to downplay leg symptoms and downplay concerns about the cosmetic appearance of their leg veins. Things like varicose veins, spider veins, swelling of the legs, and skin appearance often go out the window. Men are often reluctant to ask their doctor about treatment options.

In general, men’s clothing hides problem areas on the legs. Long pants cover shins, calves, and ankles, and even most shorts disguise the upper and outer thigh areas that are often affected in guys. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist, right? Since men have a tendency to procrastinate about health issues, evaluation of these vein issues is often needlessly delayed.

a man grabs his leg in pain

WHAT OPTIONS DO MEN HAVE?

The good news about vein problems is there’s a wide range of low-risk, procedural (and non-procedural) treatment options that can help. Quite often the results are dramatic, resulting in resolution of symptoms and simultaneous improvement in the appearance of the legs.

Non-procedural options include elevating the legs, using compression hose, and regular exercise. Although compression hose is not a cure, compression hose can help minimize leg swelling and can help provide symptom relief.

Advancements in medical technology have allowed vein procedures to become “walk-in / walk-out”. Vein procedures are now routinely performed in the doctor’s office, and no longer require a trip to the hospital or to a surgery center. Recovery from vein procedures is surprisingly quick, and many people are able to return to work and sporting activities the next day.

Schedule an Appointment with Vascular Solutions Today!

At Vascular Solutions, men are nearly half of our clientele. We offer a variety of treatment options for a multitude of vein conditions. Dr. Ford and his highly experienced team specialize in minimally invasive vein treatment and treat the full spectrum of vein problems.

If you’re a man who might be suffering from heavy, achy legs, or simply has visible veins you would like removed, please fill out our contact form today.

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