compression therapy

Compression Therapy Improves Leg Vein Health

Treatment for varicose veins and other leg vein conditions has improved dramatically in recent years, resulting in minimally invasive procedures that offer less pain and minimal downtime.

Conservative therapy is an important part of the treatment timeline that comes before procedures such as sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation. Insurance companies require conservative therapy to be completed as the first stage of treatment. That means wearing prescription-strength compression stockings for an average of six to 12 weeks.

Compression stockings can help alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins. They support and stabilize the legs, improving circulation and preventing excess fluid from accumulating. This helps get blood and fluid back to the heart rather than pool in the legs and cause related issues such as pain and fatigue, redness, and swelling. Untreated vein issues can lead to further complications such as blood clots or deep vein thrombosis.

While prescription-strength compression stockings are used during treatment, over-the-counter compression socks are a great investment for everyday use to help keep your legs healthy and promote good circulation. This is especially true if your job requires long periods of either sitting or standing. Fitness enthusiasts such as runners also find benefits in wearing compression socks to aid with circulation.

Whether you’re wearing compression stockings for treatment or compression socks to be proactive and maintain good leg vein health, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Wear stockings/socks as advised. Prescription compression stockings are fit just for you, with specifics related to height and strength. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on everyday compression socks.
  • The fit should be tight and snug but not painful.
  • Make sure your skin is dry before putting them on. Wait long enough after a shower and after applying lotion.
  • If you experience any redness or skin irritation, your stockings/socks might not fit right. Be sure to report any unusual reactions to your doctor.
  • The compression in stockings/socks is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg. Mild-to-medium compression socks range from 8 mmHg to 15mmHg. Prescription-strength stockings tend to measure at least 40 mmHg.
  • Wearing compression stockings and socks during the day. They can be worn overnight, but typically there is not a need to do so, as legs are elevated during sleep (removing the gravity issue).

Our team at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic is here for all your treatment questions, from screening to consultation to treatment. If you have questions about compression therapy or want to get started with that stage of treatment, contact us online or call us at 779-696-8346.

Get On Your Feet

With shelter in place in Illinois heading into its second month, it’s important to stop and think about how your health may be affected by the restrictions.

Whether you have been binging Netflix shows, trying to finish a 1,000-piece puzzle, or getting lost in a novel, sitting for long periods of time increases the risk for chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

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 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.

As the spring weather turns warmer, there isn’t a better time than now to start getting on your feet every day. Keeping your blood flowing and circulating well is important for your health. You don’t have to participate in rigorous exercise every day. Movement of any kind will make an impact on leg vein health. Below are some ideas to get you started:

  • Prop your feet up on a footrest or stool to help elevate your legs throughout the day.
  • Stand up and do some calf raises (stand on your tiptoes, release and repeat) or try a few squats.
  • Take a 30-minute walk (or run) every day. This can help boost circulation and allow your veins to function properly.
  • Participate in an activity such as yoga. There are many great instruction videos available online (check YouTube or your cable provide might have yoga and other fitness resources on demand).
  • Take a bike ride with your family. This is a lower-impact activity that can improve leg health.

If you’re concerned about painful, achy legs, call us anytime or click here to schedule a virtual consultation or in office 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.

evla

Get Your Legs Spring-Ready!

Even before winter releases its icy grasp, our minds shift to spring. We begin dreaming of days at the park, lazy afternoons lounging around the pool, and evenings spent firing up the barbecue. Retailers stock their shelves with shorts, tops, sundresses, swimsuits and sandals. While most of us look forward to the warmer months, those who suffer with vein disease are often filled with a sense of dread. Bulging veins and leg ulcers make wearing the fashions of the season an embarrassing affair, leading many to swelter in long pants all spring and summer. The pain and swelling of vein disease also makes it difficult to enjoy warm weather activities, like softball, hiking, bicyclingor swimming. Even a simple stroll around the neighborhood may be too painful to bear.

At Northern Illinois Vein Clinic, we offer a variety of minimally-invasive treatments, like Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), which uses a laser catheter to close off bad veins, which then redirects blood to healthy veins. There’s no scarring and recovery time is minimal, with many patients returning to their normal activities the same day. In addition to getting rid of ugly, gnarled veins, EVLA eliminates the pain and swelling, giving patients healthier, lighter, younger feeling legs.

During your initial consultation, we’ll talk about your vein-related symptoms, along with your medical history, including what medications you take, past or present diagnoses, any prior medical procedures you’ve had, and whether your parents had varicose veins. If we determine any tests are necessary, rest assured they will be painless and noninvasive. Wear comfortable clothes, as you may undergo an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create an image. Don’t forget your ID and be sure to bring your insurance card, as our treatments are covered by nearly all plans. We will even help you navigate your insurance so you can get the help you need. You can save time by completing your paperwork in advance or simply arrive 15 minutes early to fill it out in the comfort of our office.

With spring just around the corner – and summer waiting in the wings – why wait any longer to address your vein health issues? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and we’ll help you get your legs spring-ready, so you can enjoy everything the warmer months have to offer.

LEAN ON INSURANCE TO COVER VEIN TREATMENT

ELIMINATING HEALTH CARE CONFUSION

Varicose veins, spider veins and other conditions cause tremendous suffering for people from all walks of life. Women and men, old and young, active and sedentary – no one is immune from vein disease. Sadly, many people don’t seek relief from these issues because they don’t realize vein treatment is typically covered by insurance. Often, that’s because they falsely believe vein disease is merely cosmetic, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Those bulging, gnarled veins are caused by venous stasis, a condition in which old, stagnant blood pools in the legs. They can be the sign of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a serious disorder, which can progress to cellulitis, scar tissue, ulcers, bleeding, blood clots, and even deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition.

At Northern Illinois Vein Clinic, we accept insurance from most major providers and Medicare. Our effective, minimally invasive treatments such as endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy are covered by nearly all plans. Just because a procedure is covered, though, that doesn’t eliminate the headaches and hassles of dealing with an insurance provider.

Navigating insurance coverage can be confusing, leaving you overwhelmed and frustrated. Don’t let that keep you from getting the treatment you need for those aching, swollen legs. Our team has the knowledge and expertise to help you obtain insurance authorization and certification. We’ll work with your insurance company to eliminate any barriers that might prevent you from getting screened and charting a path to happier, healthier legs.

Isn’t it time you sought treatment for those unsightly, painful legs? Contact us to schedule a free consultation and let us help you navigate the complicated insurance landscape, so you can focus on getting back to your favorite activities. More active time, less downtime.

A Look at Healthy Legs

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.

Karol Parnell NIVC blog

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

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

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.

An example of legs without visible varicose veins

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.