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Varicose Veins

Everything You Need to Know About Sclerotherapy

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If you’re self-conscious about the appearance of your varicose or spider veins or find that they cause discomfort, pain, and cramping in your legs, it’s time to explore treatment options. One common treatment method is known as sclerotherapy. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about sclerotherapy, including a couple variations of this popular treatment.

Sclerotherapy Explained

Your doctor can treat both varicose and spider veins with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into your problematic veins. The solution from the injection then causes scar tissue to form in the vein. This scar tissue will reroute the vein’s blood flow to healthy veins, basically starving the troublesome veins of blood.

Without the flow of blood, your body’s surrounding tissues will start to absorb the vein. The vein fades completely over the next few weeks. It may take a few sclerotherapy sessions to achieve your desired results. 

Sclerotherapy Treatment

Your board-certified vascular surgeon will evaluate you to determine what treatment option is right for you. There are different types of injections used in sclerotherapy depending on your evaluation, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Liquid sclerotherapy injections use a liquid solution to penetrate the veins. Other types of sclerotherapy treatments use a foam solution for their injections. The foam solution is similar to the liquid alternatives, but it contains air or another chemical to give the solution a voluminous texture.

There are key differences between liquid and foam sclerotherapy solutions. Liquid injections mix with your blood to trigger the formation of scar tissue. The foam injections remain separate from your blood. The foam displaces your blood so that it can’t flow through your veins. Foam injections also contain less sclerosing agent (the chemical that causes the death of the vein), making them a good option for patients who want to eradicate their veins with minimal chemicals.

While both liquid and foam sclerotherapy solutions are effective at eliminating your veins, one type of solution might be more effective for the types of veins in your legs. Since the foam solution covers a larger surface area, it usually works better for large or long veins. 

The side effects for both types of injections are minimal. It’s common to experience bruising, redness, and soreness around the site of your injection. These side effects usually go away within a few weeks. 

What to Expect

Depending on the placement of your veins, your doctor may use an ultrasound machine to properly locate them for your injections. Most patients find the injections relatively painless, though you might experience a small amount of burning, tingling, or discomfort. The injections often contain a small amount of numbing agent to minimize any pain related to the procedure.

Your doctor will clean the area before administering the injection. Once the solution is in your veins, expect your doctor to massage the area to help distribute the solution.

Most patients are free to resume normal activities after the treatment. Walking and light activity are encouraged because they help prevent the formation of blood clots.

Ready to eliminate pesky veins from your legs? Contact the Vein Centre today to schedule your consultation.

4 Varicose Vein Myths, Debunked

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Varicose veins are large, swollen, purple or blue veins that are visible through the skin. While they are most common on the legs, these unsightly veins can develop on the feet and arms, too. In many cases, the veins bulge out of the skin, displaying dark-colored, twisty bumps on the skin’s surface.

Fortunately, help is available if you or a loved one has varicose veins. This guide and your board certified vascular surgeon will help you learn the truth about a few common varicose vein myths.

Varicose Vein Myths


1. Varicose Veins Affect Women Only

Varicose veins affect about 23 percent of the population in the United States. Even though they are more common in women, these veins can affect men, as well. An estimated 22 million women and 11 million men between the ages of 40 and 80 have varicose veins.

2. Standing Too Long Causes Varicose Veins

Most varicose veins develop in the legs simply because of gravity. As blood moves through your veins, it has to work against gravity to return to the heart. If the valves in the veins are weak, blood will leak and pool up in the veins. This excess blood will cause the veins to swell and enlarge, resulting in the visible varicose veins.

Standing on your feet too long places excess pressure on the veins in your leg, which can increase your risk of developing varicose veins. However, standing too long is not the only cause or risk factor.

As you age, your veins get weaker. Therefore, older individuals have a higher risk of developing varicose veins. Also, if you are overweight, the excess weight places more pressure on the veins, which can lead to varicose veins.

If you have a family history of varicose veins, you are more likely to develop these unappealing veins. If you are constantly dehydrated, suffer from lung disease, or sit for long periods of time, blood is more likely to pool in the lower veins, which can lead to varicose veins.

3. Varicose Veins Are Cosmetic Problems Only

Varicose veins can negatively affect your appearance. Many people struggle wearing shorts, shorter-sleeve shirts, and sandals because they do not want others to see the veins. Although they do affect your overall look and self-esteem, varicose veins are not just cosmetic problems.

Without treatment, varicose veins can actually be dangerous in some cases. For example, you may develop hyperpigmentation, which is when blood from the veins leaks into the tissues of your leg. This discolors the skin, but it can also cause severe swelling and pain.

Ulcers, which can be painful and irritating, are also common in patients who have varicose veins. The pooling of blood in the veins can weaken the vein, causing the skin/tissue to break down.

Deep vein thrombosis is one of the most serious problems that can occur if you do not treat varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis occurs is a blood clot forms in the vein, causing a pulling sensation in the legs and painful pinching in the nerves. If the clot travels up towards the heart, deep vein thrombosis can be life-threatening.

4. Treating Varicose Veins Is Painful

Because of the effects and dangers of varicose veins, treatment is wise. Fortunately, you have many pain-free and minimally painful treatment options.

For example, simple changes in your lifestyle may be sufficient for reducing the appearance of your varicose veins. These changes may include wearing compression stockings, exercising, and elevating the legs to strengthen the veins and improve blood flow.

In-office treatments are also available. Endovascular laser therapy uses laser technology to close weak, leaking varicose veins and only causes slight bruising and temporary numbness.

From lifestyle changes to laser treatments, pain-free help is available for your varicose veins. For more information on varicose veins, contact The Vein Centre today.

How to Wear and Care for Compression Stockings

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Compression stockings are garments that tightly squeeze the skin for medical purposes, and may be worn for a variety of reasons. For instance, they may be recommended by a doctor after certain kinds of surgery. They may also be recommended by physicians for people who are non-ambulatory for a time. For those who suffer from conditions like varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis, a doctor may also recommend the wearing of compression stockings or hosiery.

Compression stockings are generally graded by the amount of compression they provide.

  • 15-20 mmHg stockings are the lowest grade, typically available over the counter. These may come in knee-high, thigh-high, pantyhose or maternity pantyhose styles.
  • 20-30 mmHg stockings are the first medical grade compression stockings. It is the most widely used, providing ample compression without being too strong. These are generally recommended for the treatment of varicose veins, spider veins, leg swelling, and after surgery.
  • 30-40 mmHg stockings are stockings that are recommended for more serious symptoms. They are also commonly recommended for those with deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, and lymphedema.
  • 40-50 mmHg stockings offer the strongest grade of compression. This level of compression is usually reserved for those with severe venous stasis and lymphedema.

Once your doctor has recommended compression stockings, you’ll generally have a wide variety of styles to choose from to fit your lifestyle. Always wear your compression stockings as the doctor recommends if they are prescribed to you.

How To Use Compression Stockings

Many doctors will recommend that you put on your compression stockings when you first wake up, before swelling has had a chance to occur. It may also be recommended that you wear them prior to long flights or trips in a car where you will be sedentary for a long period.

Before putting on your compression stockings, you will want to lay them out so that they are smooth, and to prevent wrinkles. When pulling them on, make sure to avoid bunching. Do not roll them down, because this may put too much compression in one area. Your doctor will let you know how long you need to wear them, but doctors generally recommend removing them before sleeping. Of course, you’ll also want to remove them while bathing.

When you purchase your compression stockings, they will probably come with a guide about how to wash and care for them. It is best if you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the care of your stockings. Many compression stockings are fine tossed into the washing machine, but some need to be hand washed.

Hand washing is simple. You’ll want to place the stockings into a bucket or tub or sink filled with water at the recommended temperature that already has soap or detergent added. If your stockings need to be soaked, allow them to soak for a time. You will then want to rub the stockings together gently to clean them. Once you have cleaned them, rinse them thoroughly.

After cleaning, you may hang to allow them to air dry. Again, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for drying them using a dryer.

Used properly, compression stockings are an important part of controlling the symptoms of vein diseases like varicose veins. They squeeze the vessels so that blood can flow easier up your legs and prevent the pooling of blood that causes vein issues.

Vein Relief – Why Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis Are A Problem

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Cholesterol is vital for health. It’s a part of all of our cells. However, there are actually two kinds of cholesterol in our bodies. When the “bad” variety builds up, it can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries”.

 

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is needed to build cells. For the most part, our livers produce all the cholesterol we need. A second source of cholesterol comes in with the foods that we eat, especially with foods derived from animals.

There are two types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and HDL cholesterol (the good kind).

 

How Cholesterol Affects the Veins and Arteries

When your liver produces too much cholesterol and/or your diet contains too much, that extra cholesterol doesn’t get to your cells. Instead, it binds with other substances and deposits itself along the walls of your arteries. This cholesterol can then harden, and there the problems begin.

Once this hardened cholesterol (often called plaque) forms, two things happen. The passage through which your blood flows becomes narrower. This causes less blood flow and higher blood pressure. Secondly, your veins and arteries become less flexible, which also affects blood flow.

When this happens, it is known as a condition called atherosclerosis.

Paradoxically, it would seem that cholesterol would have an easier time settling in your veins, but this condition only happens in arteries. Your arteries are built to handle a lot of pressure going through them at once. This high pressure contributes to plaques. But your veins are a low-pressure system.

This is also demonstrated when a doctor reroutes a bad part of an artery through a vein. Though veins can work as arteries, they do become vulnerable to atherosclerosis once they are connected to the high-pressure parts of your circulatory system.

 

What this Decreased Blood Flow Can Cause

The decreased blood flow means that blood, which is necessary for our organs to receive vital nutrients and oxygen, is no longer flowing effectively. This can cause organs to begin to not work as efficiently, and in some cases, cause a disruption.

In fact, depending on where this plaque buildup occurs, various areas of the body can be affected. We already know that it can cause heart attacks and strokes, but it can also affect the kidneys.

When the arteries leading to and from the heart become clogged and restricted, a heart attack can occur. Through the same process, the arteries that lead to the brain become blocked, a stroke can happen.

Another thing that high cholesterol may cause: Alzheimer’s disease. Having high cholesterol levels may accelerate the formation of certain kinds of plaques called beta-amyloid plaques, which are sticky protein deposits that damage the brain in people with this condition.

Plaque build-up in the arteries leading to the kidneys can decrease kidney function. The primary function of the kidneys is in removing toxins and waste from the body. A decrease in function can lead to chronic kidney disease. Over time, this can lead to a need for dialysis and in some cases, cause death.

Another thing that can happen is peripheral artery disease. This happens when plaque builds up in the arteries that lead to the pelvis. This can lead to numbness, pain, and certain kinds of infection.

High cholesterol can have an enormous effect on your arteries. A restriction in your blood flow can cause numerous problems for your body. So if your doctor detects that you have a problem, get it treated! Treatments can include dietary changes to a healthier diet, more exercise, and prescription medication.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/cholesterol/effects-on-body#4

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol

https://myharnetthealth.org/cholesterol-affects-more-than-your-heart/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/atherosclerosis

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/atherosclerosis

Vein Relief – Other Diseases that Affect Arteries and Veins

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Veins and arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to your other organs and back again. This network of veins and arteries is called the vascular system. Like other parts of our bodies, it has its own unique diseases. When considering the kinds of diseases and conditions that affect the vascular system, some people immediately think of high cholesterol, spider veins, and varicose veins. Yet, there are many more vascular diseases. Here are just a few.

Erythromelalgia

Erythromelalgia is a rare vascular disorder that affects the feet and, less commonly, the hands. The condition is primarily characterized by intense burning pain in the affected extremities, extreme redness, and increased skin temperature. The condition may be episodic or it may be continuous. It is a rare disorder, affecting approximately 1.3 people per 1,000. Patients may feel this condition is exacerbated by exposure to heat and exercise. Relief is obtained by cooling off the affected extremities. Prescription medication that relieves nerve pain and anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed to treat this.

Buerger’s Disease

Buerger’s disease is another rare vascular condition. The condition is also known as thromboangiitis obliterans. It primarily affects young or middle-aged male cigarette smokers. The disease is characterized by the narrowing of the veins and arteries of the extremities, resulting in reduced blood flow. The legs are more affected by Buerger’s disease than the hands. Those affected by Buerger’s disease may develop sores and ulcers on the feet and hands. In rare cases, tissue death has occurred. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but those primarily affected are heavy cigarette smokers. Treatment is to first stop smoking and then treatment becomes supportive. Supportive treatment includes vasodilators, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic medication.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease is caused by the condition atherosclerosis, which refers to the build-up of plaque within the arteries, which restricts blood flow. The most common symptoms of PAD involving the lower extremities include cramping, pain, or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles. The pain occurs generally when walking or climbing stairs, and abates when rested. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and age are all risk factors for PAD. Many cases of PAD are treated with lifestyle changes and medication.

Coronary Artery Disease

This refers to the build-up of plaques in the arteries that can lead to a heart attack. Another name given to this condition is coronary heart disease. The plaques decrease blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. Common risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and family history. Obesity may also be a risk factor. Treatment can include a healthy lifestyle, physical activity, and medications to help lower cholesterol when prescribed.

These are just a few of the diseases that can affect the vascular system. While some are rare disorders, others are quite common. Diagnosis is an important part of treatment and most diagnoses can painlessly take place in a doctor’s office. If you believe that you are affected by one of these conditions, it is important that you see your doctor. Your physician may refer you to a vascular specialist.

 

Sources:

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/erythromelalgia/

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/buergers-disease/

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/peripheral-artery-disease/about-peripheral-artery-disease-pad

http://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/coronary-artery-disease

Do Not Leave Varicose Veins Untreated

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No, You Shouldn’t Leave Varicose Veins Untreated

They’re unsightly. They bulge. They can be blue, purple, or reddish in color. They usually occur in the legs.

In case you hadn’t already guessed it, we’re talking about varicose veins. Varicose veins develop when the veins in the legs are no longer efficiently pumping the blood back up to your heart. The blood can flow backward, pool, and cause the veins to distend and become swollen.

Aside from being a cosmetic issue, varicose veins can also be painful, itchy, and make your legs feel heavier. While genetics is one common risk factor for developing varicose veins, others are also common. Pregnancy, obesity, being sedentary or being on your feet for prolonged periods, as well as age are other common risk factors for the development of varicose veins.

There are things that you can do to help diminish varicose veins if you already have them or help to diminish the risk of the varicose veins from ever developing. When pregnant, elevate your feet when possible. You may also want to consider compression stockings. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, get up and get moving! This can help curb the other risk factor, obesity, as well. If you’re on your feet a lot, take time to sit down and if possible, elevate your feet.

While all of these steps can help with varicose veins, if you have developed them and the above do not appear to be helping, you might want to consider having your varicose veins professionally treated. If you leave varicose veins untreated, you could place yourself at risk for developing some potentially dangerous conditions, such as the following:

Skin Ulcers

Blood pooling in your veins also means that blood isn’t getting to where it needs to go. That includes wounds, which need blood flow to heal. Leaving varicose veins untreated can lead to skin ulcers from small cuts or minor wounds that refuse to heal. The area will swell and the tension from the veins prevents the swelling from receding. In order to treat the veins, you’ll have to first treat the swelling

 Spontaneous Bleeding

Varicose veins are very close to the surface of the skin. A relatively minor wound like a cut or a nick can result in extensive bleeding. A patient with varicose veins will remain at risk for this until the veins are treated.

Lipodermatosclerosis

This is venous insufficiency that can lead to the hardening and discoloration of the skin around varicose veins. This can result in pain and swelling around the varicose veins, especially around the ankles.

Blood Clots

This is one of the more serious effects that can occur if varicose veins are left untreated. One of the worst of these is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can send you to the emergency room if it develops. The primary risk here is that the blood clot can break off, which can result in the potentially fatal condition called a pulmonary embolism. Blood clots will need to be treated as soon as possible to avoid this from happening.

The good news is that there are several treatment options for varicose veins. Contact a specialist for treatment for your varicose veins today.

Sources:

https://www.centerforvein.com/shouldnt-leave-varicose-veins-untreated/

https://www.medicusveincare.com/happens-leave-varicose-veins-untreated/

https://regenerativedelaware.com/varicose-vein-removal-why-you-shouldnt-leave-varicose-veins-untreated/

 

Are Varicose Veins Hereditary?

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You got your blue eyes from your father, and your brown hair from your mother. You might even have inherited your knack for baking from your grandmother. What about those varicose veins? Did you happen to inherit those as well?

Before we can go into whether or not your mother, grandmother, or some distant relative might be to blame for those unsightly, bulging veins in your legs, first know that you are not alone. Varicose veins affect 30% of adults. If you’re over 50, about half of your peers of the same age are affected.

Veins are the blood vessels that carry blood back to your heart. When it comes to the veins in your legs, they are working against gravity so they have to be able to pump pretty well to accomplish their task. This is accomplished through the use of valves that open and close to speed the blood upwards to your heart. When these valves stop working as well as they should, blood is allowed backward and can pool. This pooling stretches the vein walls, causing the bulging appearance of varicose veins.

Now, to answer the question: Are varicose veins hereditary? While it is certainly true that increased risk for varicose veins is certainly an inherited factor, you’re not necessarily doomed to inherit your mom or grandmother’s varicose veins. There are other risk factors that can contribute to raising the chances you may develop this condition.

In fact, if you help to prevent other risk factors, you can improve your chances of never even developing varicose veins to begin with.

Other risk factors include:

Pregnancy:

When your stomach grows as your pregnancy progresses, pressure is placed on the inferior vena cava, which can lead to varicose veins. Take heart, though, because varicose veins that appear as a side effect of pregnancy usually go away once you’ve given birth.

Being Overweight/Obese:

Being overweight or obese places strain on those veins. It can also cause the veins to be less efficient at getting blood back up to the heart, which can cause varicose veins. Losing weight may help reduce your risk and if you already have varicose veins, can help diminish them.

Standing or Sitting for Long Periods

People who have jobs that require standing on their feet or remaining seated for long periods are at increased risk of developing varicose veins. If you have a job that requires standing, make sure that you sit down and elevate your feet on breaks. If your job requires sitting for extended periods, be sure to get regular exercise and stand up to stretch every few hours.

Age

As discussed earlier, 50% of adults over the age of 50 have varicose veins. As we age, so do our veins. As we get older, the valves become less efficient at doing their jobs, and the risk of developing varicose veins increases.

While having a close relative that developed varicose veins is a risk factor, you’re not necessarily doomed to inherit grandma’s varicose veins. Take care to reduce your other risk factors and you might just inherit her pie-baking skills instead.

 

Sources:

https://www.fishertitus.org/health/are-varicose-veins-hereditary

https://www.azuravascularcare.com/infoveins/are-varicose-veins-hereditary/

https://www.centerforvein.com/varicose-veins-hereditary/

https://www.mainlinelegs.com/are-vein-disorders-hereditary/

 

Pregnancy & Varicose Veins

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As your pregnancy advances, you may begin to notice blue or purple-ish veins appearing on your legs. While their appearance may be alarming, there isn’t much to worry about. Varicose veins during pregnancy are quite common, appearing in 10-20% of women, and usually go away after giving birth.

They differ from spider veins and visible veins in that they typically swell up, creating a bulge above the skin. While they normally develop in the legs, they can also develop in the area of the vulva and in the rectum. Rectal varicose veins are sometimes referred to as hemorrhoids, which are another side-effect of pregnancy.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are veins that have swollen. They often bulge near the surface of the skin. Many women experience no discomfort whatsoever, but some will experience pain or heaviness in their legs. They may also experience itching, throbbing, or burning. These symptoms may be worse for women that spend a lot of time on their feet.

Cause of Varicose Veins

Veins are the blood vessels that return blood to your heart from your extremities. Remember that veins in your legs are already working against gravity. As your pregnancy progresses and you get larger, pressure is placed on a vein on the right side of your body, called the inferior vena cava. This, combined with the increased amount of blood circulating during pregnancy and the rising hormone levels of progesterone relaxing the walls of your blood vessels, results in varicose veins.

There are a few things that can increase your risk of developing varicose veins:

  • Family history of varicose veins
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Carrying more than one fetus
  • Standing for long periods

Unfortunately, if you are already prone to varicose veins, they might get worse with subsequent pregnancies.

Varicose Vein Prevention

While you may not be able to completely prevent varicose veins from developing, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the number and size of varicose veins.

  • Avoid sitting or standing in the same position for long periods. Take frequent breaks to change your position and move around.
  • Avoid high heels during pregnancy
  • Talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe, and then exercise regularly
  • Avoid crossing your legs or ankles while sitting
  • Elevate your legs while sitting or lying down
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Decrease sodium intake
  • Drink plenty of water and get enough fiber to help prevent constipation to avoid hemorrhoids
  • Wear maternity support hose

If you notice that your veins feel hard, warm, painful, or the skin around the varicose veins hardens, contact your doctor.

After Pregnancy    

The good news is that most of the time, varicose veins will go away on their own after pregnancy. Once your uterus is no longer exerting pressure on the inferior vena cava, circulation returns to normal. However, if your varicose veins do not gradually go away then you may need additional treatment. If you have concerns with your varicose veins and you are pregnant, speak with one of our physicians for an examination.

 

Sources:

https://www.babycenter.com/0_varicose-veins-during-pregnancy_271.bc

http://americanpregnancy.org/naturally/treating-varicose-veins-naturally-during-pregnancy/

https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/varicose-veins.aspx

 

Treatments for Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a serious and painful complication of the veins. In layman’s terms, it is a clot in one of the deeper veins of the body, most common in the arms and legs. Clots can form when blood pools in one location for too long, which is why people with varicose veins have a higher likelihood of getting DVT.

These clots don’t just cause pain in the legs. If they break off, they can lodge elsewhere in the body. If they get to the heart or the lungs, it can be deadly. Therefore, it’s important to get treated for DVT as soon as it is detected.

Fortunately, there are several treatments for DVT, including: 

Blood Thinners

Over time, blood rushing past a clot will dissolve it. But if pooled blood sticks to the clot, it can grow bigger. Blood thinners make it harder for blood to clot and help the body remove it over time. It can also keep new clots from forming. There are many different thinners and your doctor will work with you to find the best one.

Going on blood thinners can mean that you’ll need to change your diet. Certain thinners like warfarin will stop working if you eat too much vitamin K. You may also need to get regular blood tests to measure how well the medicine is working. There are newer medicines on the market that don’t require diet changes and testing, but they can be more dangerous. Your doctor will explain the risks.

Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis

If the clot is large, not in a leg, or dangerous in some way, your doctor may also recommend catheter-directed thrombolysis. This involves injecting medicine directly into your clot to dissolve it. This is done through a catheter inserted into the vein. It requires a trip to the hospital because a dissolving clot might break up in unexpected ways and cause other health problems, including stroke. This procedure may also be combined with other treatments like angioplasty or a stent placement, depending on the condition of the vein.

Vena Cava Filters

If you’re at high risk for clotting, your doctor may recommend a vena cava filter. This is a special filter that sits in your vena cava, an important vein on your body. The purpose of the filter is to catch clots before they can reach your heart or lungs. This is a surgical procedure and may be recommended if your clots do not respond to other treatments. Once the danger of DVT has passed, you may need to get it removed.

Venous Thrombectomy 

Finally, in some cases, a doctor might recommend surgery for cutting the clot out. This is called a venous thrombectomy. This is a rare surgery and is only done in severe cases of DVT, as the surgery can increase the chances of further clots. Clots from DVT often respond very well to the other treatments, but not always.

In addition to these medical treatments, there are lifestyle changes you can do to help with your DVT. You might need to wear compression hose to reduce the pain while the clot dissolves. Moving more often will keep blood from pooling and help shrink existing clots. Ultimately, DVT is most often caused by poor circulation. Stay active and get your varicose veins treated!

What is DVT and How do I Know if I Have It?

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DVT or deep vein thrombosis means just what the name suggests.  A blood clot in one of your deep veins.  The most common location for the occurrence of DVT is in your lower legs, although it can occur in other parts of the body.  If the clot becomes dislodged and begins to travel it is no longer known as a thrombus and becomes an embolus, which depending on where it travels, may lead to a life-threatening situation.

Risk Factors for DVT

DVT has multiple causes and multiple risk factors which include the following:

  • Family history of blood clots
  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation resulting from peripheral vascular disease
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary Lifestyle and prolonged crossing of the legs
  • Frequent Flying
  • Varicose Veins

Any condition in which blood flow is restricted may cause blood to pool in the affected area and lead to clotting.  Main complications from the clot include blocking the circulation below the affected area, leading to further swelling and potential infection of the vein, an increase in the size of the clot or formation of more clots in the area, and complete loss of circulation to the area.  These complications may lead to the injury and death of tissues surrounding the area.

How do I know if I have DVT?

In some cases, there are no early symptoms of DVT.  That is why it is important to know your risk factors and take measures to prevent DVT from occurring if you are at risk.  The primary symptom of DVT is pain to the affected area, the pain is described as a deep pain.  If the DVT is located in the calf, the pain is worse upon flexing the foot and lower leg upwards at the heel.  This is known as a positive Homans sign.  Your venous specialist or healthcare provider will actually perform this test upon examination.  Other symptoms may also include swelling, numbness and tingling in surrounding areas, and discoloration.  If the clot is in the lower leg, the leg may appear dusky or darker in color.  Sometimes, skin ulcers may also occur.  If the tissues surrounding the clot become infected, redness with or without streaking, may be present, and the area will become hot to the touch.  You may even develop a fever.

Your doctor will take a full medical history to determine your risk factors and make an initial diagnosis of the condition.  Tests will be ordered that allow for direct visualization of the clot, such as ultrasounds as well as determine the effect of the clot on circulation.

When should I call my doctor?

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor or vein specialist right away.  Do not massage the area and assume bedrest to reduce the possibility of dislodging the clot, causing it to possibly travel to the heart, lungs or brain. DVT is an emergent medical condition and should be treated right away to avoid potential life-threatening complications.

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