Treat yourself to healthy legs this holiday season

The holidays are a time of giving, spending time with family and friends, and preparing for a New Year.
Taking care of yourself and treating yourself to better leg vein health should also be on the to-do list this season.

It’s understandable that the busyness of the holidays means commitments such as health screenings and doctor appointments get put on the backburner. Here are a few reasons to keep them top of mind this month and heading into 2020.

Symptoms don’t need to persist

Common vein diseases include varicose veins, spider veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a pulmonary embolism and chronic venous insufficiency.

Vein disease is progressive and if left untreated can develop into potentially life-threatening complications such as blood clots.

Let’s take a step back, though, and talk about symptoms. You might not know you have one of these conditions, but consider these symptoms:

  • Bulging veins that are excessively visible
  • Heavy feeling in the legs
  • Calf pain and cramping
  • Discolored skin
  • Fatigue
  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Itching
    Restlessness of the legs

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, they could be the result of leg vein issues. A simple first step is to call us to schedule a free screening or request an appointment online.

Veins issues aren’t just cosmetic

One of the most common concerns we hear is that treatment for issues such as varicose veins won’t be covered by insurance. Our team will help you eliminate insurance barriers by assisting with insurance authorization and certification.

Treatments such as endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy procedures for varicose veins are covered by almost all plans. We also offer procedures for cosmetic purposes that are typically not covered, though we have third-party financing options available.

As we noted, vein disease should be taken seriously and treatment works. There’s no need to be embarrassed about the appearance of varicose veins, to cover them up, or to put up with the discomfort from pain, swelling and other symptoms.

Treat yourself to healthy legs this holiday and instill confidence, eliminate downtime and improve your overall health.

Varicose vein treatment brings joy back to Chrysler worker’s life

Long shifts on the assembly line at the Belvidere Chrysler plant had become torturous for Karol Parnell.

Since early 2017, she had suffered with severe pain and swelling in her legs. At least once a week, she would sit on the floor and scream because the pain made life so difficult. No longer could she enjoy a round of golf or even a casual stroll with her husband.

“It was all I could do to work,” Parnell recalled. “I love to be outside, but I couldn’t because of my legs. It was killing me.”

That lack of activity led to significant weight gain, further exacerbating her discomfort. She consulted with several doctors, but they were unable to pinpoint the cause of her pain. Some suggested it could be a side effect of medication prescribed for Parnell, a cancer survivor. Still, no one was able to help and her condition only grew worse. “My legs were swelling up really bad. It was so painful I couldn’t do anything.”

Desperate to get some relief, Parnell regularly took as many as five Aleve a day. She also tried compression stockings, but the swelling in her legs was so bad, she felt like the stockings were cutting off her circulation. She began to suspect it wouldn’t be long before she would be forced to rely on a cane or walker to get around. Yet, she wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. “I wanted to be able to walk again. I was tired of hurting. I’m 55 years old, but I wasn’t about to sit back and let time take over.”

Finally, an answer

Parnell was at her “wit’s end” when she decided to give Northern Illinois Vein Clinic a call. Going into her first appointment, she was nervous because she feared it would just be another dead end. However, the ultrasound ordered by Dr. Rimas Gilvydis finally gave Parnell what she had wanted for so long – an answer. Her pain and swelling were caused by varicose veins, Dr. Gilvydis explained, and there was a procedure available that would alleviate her discomfort.

While varicose veins run in her family, Parnell hadn’t initially suspected they could be the cause of her problem because her legs didn’t look particularly bad. That’s not uncommon, says Dr. Gilvydis, as varicose veins can run deep to the skin and never surface. In fact, most people don’t realize that pain and swelling are some of the most common symptoms of varicose veins. These symptoms are caused by venous stasis, a condition in which old, stagnant blood pools and collects in the legs, worsening as the day goes on. Left untreated, symptoms worsen and can lead to cellulitis, scar tissue, ulcers, bleeding, and blood clots.

Parnell was relieved, not only to have a diagnosis, but a solution – endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), a minimally invasive laser technique that closes varicose veins. Eager for relief, Parnell scheduled the outpatient procedure, which to her surprise was covered by her insurance. As long as patients have symptoms in their legs, Dr. Gilvydis explains, all insurance companies cover the initial consultation and ultrasound, with most covering at least part of the EVLA treatment.

Treatment and relief

Any apprehension about undergoing the procedure immediately melted away, thanks to the kind, friendly, and informative demeanor of Dr. Gilvydis and his entire staff. “They were really nice and professional about it. They made me feel at ease, so I wasn’t so nervous.” At NIVC, patient comfort is paramount and every effort is undertaken to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Patients listen to their choice of music, as they remain awake during the procedure. They can even choose to watch the action on their own ultrasound monitor. Dr. Gilvydis ensures patients are informed throughout the procedure, as he talks them through exactly what he is doing step-by-step.

Parnell underwent four days of EVLA vein treatment, in which soft catheters are inserted into the diseased veins. While the procedure was uncomfortable, Parnell didn’t mind enduring a little discomfort to get rid of her debilitating leg pain. A few days later, she returned for ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy to eliminate any residual vein branches.

Much to Parnell’s surprise, “the results were immediate,” with no downtime at all. She was back at work the very next day and encouraged to do as much walking as possible in the days and weeks following treatment. That allows for improved blood return to the heart from the veins in the legs, as does elevating the legs, says Dr. Gilvydis.

These days, Parnell is enjoying life again. She’s back on the golf course and even vacationed with her husband in Michigan, where they did a “whole lot of walking.” She’s amazed at how much better her legs feel and has begun shedding the pounds she gained when pain prevented her from being active. “I couldn’t believe how much it helped. They feel 100 percent better.”

Top 5 Ways to Treat Your Vein Disease

If you’re one of the 30 percent of Americans who live with a vein disorder or disease, it can be challenging to find comfort throughout the day. Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce symptoms or treat your discomfort, such as a venous insufficiency ultrasound.

 

Signs of Vein Disease

The valves throughout your body’s network of veins can become damaged or faulty. When that happens, you can experience the symptoms of varicose veins or other uncomfortable vein issues. Here are some common symptoms of vein disease:

  • Bulging veins
  • Visible veins
  • Uncomfortable throbbing sensations
  • Cramping, particularly around the calves

These are just a few of the most common vein disease symptoms. If you’re concerned about the look and feel of your veins, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or a local vein specialist for a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.

 

Treatment Options

Thankfully, there are treatment options for many Americans living with vein disease. Talk to your doctor or a vein disease specialist about these and other treatment options.

 

Exercise

Perhaps the most straightforward treatment is exercise. Consistent walking, cycling, swimming or other low-impact exercises can lower your blood pressure and improve overall circulation in your legs.

If the discomfort increases as you exercise, you should contact your doctor or vein specialist immediately to be sure there isn’t a more severe problem.

 

Diet

A diet rich in potassium could be just the lifestyle change you need to improve the look and feel of your veins. Many vein diseases are either caused or aggravated by water retention.

A diet that encourages a reduction in water retention, such as a potassium-rich diet, is an excellent natural way to encourage improvements to your veins.Ask a specialist if a diet for venous insufficiency is right for you.

 

Ultrasound Vein Mapping

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to reduce your symptoms, consider ultrasound vein mapping. This professional procedure typically doesn’t treat your vein disease, but it gives medical professionals the information they need to put together a treatment plan.

An ultrasound is a non-invasive way to help pinpoint the exact venous insufficiency you’re dealing with and provide a more personalized treatment plan.

 

Endovenous Laser Ablation

Endovenous laser ablation, also known as EVLA or EVLT, is a powerful way to promote rapid healing with no anesthesia and a dramatic reduction in discomfort. This minimally invasive procedure uses a tiny catheter to deliver light energy directly to a focused part of your vein wall.

This procedure forces your body to use other, healthier veins and causes the vein experiencing complications to be naturally absorbed in your body. This procedure is best used for larger veins that are experiencing painful symptoms. For smaller, more superficial veins, such as spider veins, discover whether sclerotherapy is right for you.

 

Sclerotherapy

Spider veins and other visible veins that cause embarrassment or discomfort can typically be treated by sclerotherapy. While not suitable for everyone, sclerotherapy has provided immense relief in a non-invasive and virtually pain-free procedure.

All that sclerotherapy requires is an injection of a solution into the veins that are highly visible, swollen, or uncomfortable. The procedure quickly closes these veins naturally, leaving you with little or no discomfort afterward.

 

Find Out More Today

Don’t let visible, uncomfortable or swollen veins hold you back. Talk to your doctor or contact us at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic today to request an appointment. Our highly experienced team can provide a personalized treatment plan to meet your individual needs.

 

Lean on insurance to cover vein treatment

Navigating health insurance can feel confusing and overwhelming, to the point that we get discouraged from seeking or scheduling care for important issues.

Conditions such as varicose veins cause pain and discomfort, but, more importantly, these issues – if left untreated – can develop into more serious medical problems (such as life-threatening blood clots). That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about leg vein health today.

At Northern Illinois Vein Clinic, we accept insurance from most major providers and Medicare. Consultations and treatments are typically covered by insurance, as the conditions we treat are not just cosmetic issues.

We help with insurance

Whether you come to us by way of a free screening or a referral from your doctor, our team will help you with insurance authorization and certification. It’s our way of eliminating any barriers that might exist to getting you screened and developing a treatment plan.

Treatments such as endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy procedures for varicose veins are covered by almost all plans. We also offer procedures for cosmetic purposes that are typically not covered, though we have third-party financing options available.

Now that it’s fall, you may have already met your insurance deductible for the year and might have lower out-of-pocket costs for treatment.

Act on your symptoms

As previously mentioned, vein disease is progressive and can lead to more serious health issues. It’s important to be mindful of and talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing some of these common symptoms:

  • Visible, bulging veins in the legs
  • Heavy-feeling legs
  • Calf pain and cramping
  • Discolored skin
  • Aching, burning, itchy or tired legs

Contact us if you have questions about vein issues, treatments or insurance. Let us help you navigate insurance so can enjoy more active time and less downtime.

Met your deductible? Come see us

If unsightly leg veins kept you from enjoying summer fun, now’s the time to take action.

Vein disease is a serious medical condition where our veins don’t properly return blood from the legs back to the heart. It’s progressive and will worsen over time if left untreated.

Fall is a great time to come see us, as we accept insurance from most major providers and Medicare. If you’ve already met your insurance deductible for the year, you will likely have lower out-of-pocket costs for the effective, minimally invasive treatments we offer. These treatments are covered by almost all plans.

Vein disease presents in several different ways, the most common diagnoses being varicose veins, spider veins, deep vein thrombosis (also known as a blood clot) and chronic venous insufficiency. Vein disease is not just a cosmetic issue, so it’s important to keep track of your symptoms and talk to your doctor.

Common symptoms include:

  • Visible bulging veins
  • Restless legs
  • Itching, burning, aching and/or throbbing
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy feeling in the legs
  • Calf pain and cramping
  • Discolored skin

You can contact us anytime for a free vein screening, but today – or any day – is a good time to prioritize your own health.

With fall on its way, our wardrobes will also shift, with more layers, jeans, sweaters and warm clothing. If varicose veins are severe enough, compression therapy (wearing compression socks or stockings) may be recommended as part of treatment. These stockings support the legs, improve circulation and prevent excess fluid from accumulating. They can easily be worn under pants or other layered clothing.

Talk to your doctor about vein disease or contact us today. Vein treatment can be a life-changing solution that resolves both the appearance and physical symptoms of conditions such as varicose and spider veins, improving your quality of life.

Prioritize leg vein health in the summertime heat

The increased temperatures of summer have finally hit after a rainy, cooler spring. That warmer weather is a reminder to prioritize leg vein health, especially because your legs will likely be more exposed in shorts and swimsuits.

Conditions such as heat stroke and sunburns might be more top of mind this time of year, but intense heat can worsen the pain and discomfort associated with varicose veins.

The summer heat can intensify common varicose vein symptoms such as a burning or throbbing sensation in the legs; tired, achy or heaviness in the legs; swelling, especially as the day progresses; chronic pain similar to muscle cramps; itchiness; and skin discoloration in the areas of pain or discomfort.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, call us anytime at 779-218-8328 to request an appointment or come to one of our free vein screenings. A screening is crucial to fully understand what’s going on with your veins.

If treatment is necessary, we offer innovative, minimally invasive procedures for varicose veins that don’t require a lengthy recovery time. There’s still time to get your legs summer-ready and no need to suffer the pain and frustration of bulging, unsightly veins.

In the meantime, here are some general tips that will promote good leg vein health (and help the rest of your body!) during the summer.

Remember to hydrate. This is important all year-round but especially when spending more time outside. Heat and humidity can zap your energy quickly, so have plenty of water around – whether it’s at the beach or while working outside in the garden. This can prevent the cramping associated with dehydration that can worsen varicose vein symptoms, and staying hydrates helps with overall blood flow.

Maintain a healthy diet. It’s OK to indulge on some cool treats such as ice cream, but including foods such as blueberries, avocadoes and beets can improve leg vein health.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. This is good advice for protecting all of your skin and, in this case, the skin and veins just beneath the skin. Avoid direct sun exposure during midday and grab a coverup if you plan to be outside for long period  of time.

Exercise – and relax. It’s usually easier to stay active during the summer, so make sure to maintain movement and exercise. Elevate your legs when you’re relaxing to promote better circulation in them. Remember to wear comfortable shoes during extended periods of summer activity – aka swap the flip-flops for sneakers or supportive sandals when you can.

With special attention to some of these steps, you’ll have more fun in the summertime and less worry about your legs. Don’t let varicose veins make you keep those shorts and swimsuits packed away. Call us today or start here to request an appointment online.

Work on movement in your job for better leg vein health

Whether you work in an office or on a factory floor, your job likely dictates how much sitting and standing you do on a regular basis.

We’ve all read the news about the dangers of sitting and how it increases the risk for chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Some of the same issues that make sitting for long periods of time unhealthy also apply to standing too long.

Varicose veins are another medical condition that can develop when veins no longer sufficiently send blood from the legs back to the heart. Our veins have valves that enable the blood to flow forward toward the heart, but those valves can become damaged and weakened over time.

Damaged and weakened valves result in blood pooling in the legs, and sitting and standing too long helps gravity push that blood further down in the body. That’s when we increase our risks for serious, life-threatening conditions such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

Which professions stand and sit the most?

Sitting and standing can take a toll on the body, but maybe it wasn’t your first concern when accepting a job or starting your career.

With it being back-to-school time, it’s a good reminder that elementary, middle and secondary school teachers are on their feet 70 percent of the day, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics. Other jobs that involve standing for most of the day include waiters/waitresses, welders, retail workers, electricians, pharmacists, physical therapists and childcare workers.

On the flip side, IT professionals such as software developers, accountants, insurance sales agents, human resource (HR) managers, lawyers, and mechanical engineers do much more sitting on average during the day.

What can I do?

Just being aware of sitting and standing too long is a good start. If you’re concerned about varicose veins, watch for and track some of the following common symptoms:

  • Burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs
  • Tired, achy or heavy-feeling legs
  • Itchy feelings around the legs
  • Skin surface ulcers on the lower legs (only in severe cases)

Movement is really key in breaking up long blocks of sitting and standing while you’re working. Walking around and stretching every 30 minutes is ideal but not always feasible if you’re in a meeting or heads-down on a project. Consider some of these additional tips:

  • Prop your feet up on a foot rest or stool to help elevate your legs.
  • Stand up and do some calf raises (stand on your tiptoes, release and repeat) or try a few squats.
  • Wear compression stockings or socks.
  • Ice swollen veins, or alternate a hot compress.

It’s also important continue these best practices at home after work. If you sit for most the day, try not to come home and continue sitting. After standing all day, make sure to elevate your legs when you do sit down. In both cases, maintaining regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can help lower your risk for vein disease and other chronic conditions.

If you’re concerned about painful, achy legs, call us anytime or click here to schedule a free vein screening. You can also hear directly from patients about how our minimally invasive treatments helped their leg pain caused by too much standing and sitting on the job.

Varicose Veins Disease

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins generally appear as blue, somewhat bulging “cords” that run close to the surface of your skin. Most commonly, they appear on the feet and legs. There are two main types of varicose veins: superficial and deep. Superficial varicose veins are easily visible, right beneath the surface of the skin, and are often surrounded by spider veins. Deep varicose veins are relatively rare, but can be dangerous. They occur on the interior of your body, generally not visible to the naked eye, and can lead to serious blood clots.

Typically, a medical professional will examine you to provide a clear diagnosis.

What are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

For patients with varicose veins, symptoms may vary somewhat from case to case. When varicose veins are inflamed, the skin area may be tender or painful to the touch. They can also present an obstacle to healthy circulation, leading to swollen ankles, itchiness, and aching.

Deep varicose veins can also cause aching and swelling, but can also be the starting point for dangerous blood clots, an invisible symptom.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Veins contain a valve that regulates blood flow, opening to allow it to move forward and then closing to prevent movement in the wrong direction. However, varicose veins have valves that do not work correctly, allowing the blood to pool, leading to increased pressure that causes twisting and bulging.

Varicose veins are a fairly common condition, affecting close to 1 in 4 people in Illinois and the rest of the United States. One main cause is simply genetics, with many people finding it to be a family condition. Women are twice as likely as men to develop varicose veins, especially due to pregnancy. Other causes include age, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, or any condition that leads to excessive pressure on the legs or abdomen.

For those looking for information about how to prevent varicose veins, one simple way is to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle.

What are the Options for Varicose Vein Treatment?

Patients wanting to know how to get rid of varicose veins should be pleased to hear that there are excellent options available. One option is EVLA, which involves a specialized laser treatment to shut down a vein that has become varicose. It is simple and painless, with little to no complications. Another possible treatment is sclerotherapy, which is a quick injection of a sclerosing agent to treat small spider veins.

To learn more about treatment options for your personal case, contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic and schedule a consultation. We are well-known in Northern Illinois for providing excellent, minimally invasive treatment options for those looking for treatment for varicose veins.

Healthy couple preparing a diet shake

How to prevent varicose veins

The appearance of varicose veins, or visibly risen veins often found in feet and legs, is a widespread disorder seen in many adults across America. Though it is a condition that affects limbs, varicose veins can actually come from a multitude of different reasons.

Varicose veins are common, stemming from numerous conditions, causes blood pressure and circulation issues. This occurrence leaves the heart unable to adequately pump blood from the engorged vein where it then begins to accumulate and create other uncomfortable symptoms. Varicose veins can most often affect pregnant women, the elderly, and those who have jobs that require long durations of standing or sitting. Here are some ways to relieve the painful side effects of varicose veins while waiting to be seen by a professional;

  1. 1. Keeping a regular exercise routine isn’t just for physical appearances, it also keeps veins open and healthy. Exercise promotes circulation and a healthy heart that can continue to pump blood even when stationary for long durations of time.
  2. 2. For those with jobs requiring extensive sitting, stretching the legs whenever possible is a great way to prevent stress and build-up in the veins from lack of movement.
  3. 3. Compression socks or stockings are a great solution to temporarily relieve pain associated with varicose veins and minimize their appearance. These garments are also easy to find in many stores.
  4. 4. While compression socks can help reduce varicose veins, other tight clothing, especially pants or shorts, can hinder blood flood and worsen the already existing condition. Instead, people suffering from varicose veins should try wearing more loose and flowing pants and shirts.
  5. 5. A variety of foods are known to improve heart health and combat hypertension, aiding in the prevention of varicose veins. Eating a diet full of various greens, berries, garlic, and spices helps to increase beneficial vitamins and minerals while lowering sodium levels in the blood.

These options are good personal methods to help take care of current varicose vein problems and prevent future issues. However, they are not a replacement for the opinion and help of a trained professional. Just as there are numerous ways to help your condition at home, there are also trained professionals who diagnose specific vein problems and can help determine which method is the best for a permanent solution.

Varicose veins affect many and have uncomfortable symptoms, but they can be permanently treated by a professional quickly and effectively with minimal discomfort. If you are looking to resolve this issue that may be affecting you internally and externally, contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic to set up your first consultation.

What Could Be Causing Leg Sores?

It often begins with a discolored spot on the skin near the ankle. Or maybe a minor injury breaks the skin. In most people, the bruising or broken skin heals up within a week or two. However, when there’s an underlying vein problem, the wound doesn’t heal and may increase in size, or reappears after a short period of time. That’s when chronic leg ulcers develop.

Venous leg ulcers are painful, raw, shallow wounds that can develop over time from long-term buildup of fluid in the tissues. For most people, they require wound clinic treatments and compression socks, along with prescription medications to ease the pain. The most common underlying problem causing chronic leg ulcers is disease of the leg veins. In fact, venous leg ulcers are the most common type of leg ulcers, accounting for over 90% of all cases.

Why Leg Ulcers Appear

The veins in your leg are tubes that carry the blood back from your foot to your heart. They have one-way valves that make sure the blood flows up the leg and not back down. If the valves are damaged, blood can flow backward and pool resulting in a very high pressure in the vein. The constant high pressure against the valves makes them weak and unable to effectively transport blood back to the heart. That’s what leads to leg ulcers.

The term we use to describe this condition is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). The most common cause is high blood pressure in the leg veins (varicose veins), but other factors could put you at increased risk, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Phlebitis (inflammation of varicose veins)
  • A job that requires standing and/or sitting for long periods
  • Deep vein thrombosis or blood clots in the veins of the legs
  • Family history of varicose veins or blood clots
  • Trauma, injury or surgery to the legs

Signs to Look for

CVI can be life-threatening if not treated and can lead to more serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Most patients have no symptoms of CVI, so if you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a vein specialist right away:

  • Pain
  • Leg or ankle swelling
  • Pain while exercising or walking that subsides when you rest
  • Tight sensation in the legs or a feeling of itching in the legs
  • Discolored or brown skin near the ankles
  • Varicose veins or spider veins
  • Leg cramps and muscle spasms that are painful
  • Restless leg syndrome or an irresistible sensation to move the legs
  • Ulcers on the legs that are difficult to treat and slow to heal

You can decrease your risk of CVI by eating healthy (avoiding foods high in sugar and carbohydrates), maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising, avoiding sitting and standing for long periods of time and avoiding smoking.

How to Stop the Sores from Coming Back

After a leg ulcer has developed, treatment to heal the sore can take several weeks. But once your leg ulcer is healed, it doesn’t mean your problems are over. The only effective way to prevent future leg ulcers is to treat the cause. If that underlying cause is varicose veins, there is hope. There are many non-invasive treatments available today for varicose veins – and they’re covered by most insurance companies. Click here to view our before and after gallery.

Long gone are the surgically intense vein-stripping procedures. Today, varicose veins are effectively treated using Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) or sclerotherapy. EVLA is an advanced technique that uses a laser to dissolve problem veins, and Dr. Gilvydis is among the most experienced EVLA physician in the Midwest. Sclerotherapy uses a series of small injections to close bad veins, including smaller varicose veins and spider veins. Both are non-invasive, allowing most patients to return to normal activities the same or next day.

Are you ready to put an end to wound care clinic visits, compression socks and pain medication? If you have leg ulcers due to varicose veins or CVI, we can help. Contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic to schedule a consultation.