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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.

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.

Foods that Fuel Healthy Veins

Foods that Fuel Healthy Veins

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, the perfect time to celebrate the positive influence of nutrition on the body. Eating for healthy veins is easy with these simple tips.

Fight varicose veins and spider veins with smarter nutrition

“Cleaning up” your diet can reduce the pressure on your veins and even reinforce them. Adding these nutritional allies to your diet can result in healthier veins:

  • Soluble fiber helps you avoid constipation, which puts pressure on veins and can result in the development of varicose veins. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include:
    • Oats, flaxseed and barley
    • Peas and carrots
    • Apples and berries
    • Beans
    • Psyllium
  • Water is a vital nutrient for healthier veins. If you’re not drinking enough water, fiber can have the opposite effect and cause constipation. To stay optimally hydrated, limit alcohol, coffee and tea (each has a dehydrating effect on the body).
  • Flavonoids are linked to strengthened blood vessel walls. Some studies even connect flavonoids to diminishing the appearance of varicose veins. Rutin is one of the most powerful flavonoids and can be found in:
    • Cherries
    • Red grapes, blueberries, and blackberries
    • Apples, especially the skin
    • Apricots
    • Buckwheat

Foods that fuel healthy veins

These foods are naturally designed to help you keep varicose veins and spider veins at bay:

  • Blueberries are packed with flavonoid pigments, and they’re a great source of soluble fiber. These power berries help repair damaged proteins in blood vessel walls and promote vascular health.
  • Avocados contain vein-friendly vitamin C and vitamin E. They’re also high in glutathione, which guards the heart, veins, and arteries against oxidant damage.
  • Rosemary stimulates circulation and contains ursolic acid, which strengthens the capillaries.
  • Fresh ginger is capable of improving circulation by dissolving the blood-clotting protein, fibrin, in blood vessels.
  • Beets are rich in betacyanin, the phytochemical compound responsible for their color. Betacyanin is known to decrease levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can damage blood vessels (leading to varicose veins).
  • Asparagus strengthens veins and capillaries and can prevent them from rupturing.

Eating healthy is always a good idea, but diet may not be enough to fully eliminate varicose veins or spider veins. Left untreated, these problems can lead to ulcers or other painful complications.

At Northern Illinois Vein Clinic in Rockford, Dr. Rimas Gilvydis, a diplomat of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, uses advanced diagnostic and minimally invasive technologies to treat venous disease. And with little to no downtime, you can return to a more active routine faster.

compression therapy

Compression Therapy

Varicose veins are a common problem that affects millions of people around the world. If you are one of them, you know all too well that varicose veins are more than just cosmetic nuisances. The symptoms these faulty veins cause can include achiness, fatigue and cramping. Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT) and sclerotherapy are common varicose veins treatments for these unsightly, bulging veins, but other therapies like compression therapy may also provide relief.

If severe, therapy could be an option, but to understand how compression therapy works, it’s helpful to understand what varicose veins are and what causes them.

What are Varicose Veins?

Unlike arteries, veins have to rely on a one-way valve system to keep blood flowing in one direction: back toward the heart. In people with varicose veins, the walls of the veins have lost their flexibility, weakening the one-way valves and causing them not to work correctly. When this happens, blood is allowed to flow backward through the valve and collect or pool behind it.

As the blood collects, it remains stagnant allowing it to coagulate or thicken. The vein begins to enlarge as more blood accumulates. This usually happens in several valves along the course of the vein, giving it a characteristic bumpy and twisted look. Because the blood coagulates, the vein takes on a deep bluish-purple color, making it very noticeable through the skin.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can have many causes including:

• Not moving for long periods of time in any position (sitting, standing or laying).
• Obesity
• Excessive Weight Gain
• History of Leg Injury or Surgery
• Aging (which causes a loss of elasticity in the vein walls)
• Pregnancy

It may seem that just about anything can cause varicose veins, but thankfully there are treatments available, such as EVLT and sclerotherapy.

Compression Therapy for Varicose Veins Treatment

Compression therapy is another varicose vein treatment that can help alleviate symptoms. It involves wearing a stocking that provides support to the leg, improving circulation and preventing excess fluid from accumulating in the limb. It aids the veins in fighting gravity, making it easier for them to get blood and fluid back to the heart. Although not a cure, compression therapy can help alleviate the pain and fatigue varicose veins can cause.

If you have varicose veins or think you might be at risk for developing them, contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic to schedule your appointment today.

Varicose vein treatments gives patient ‘two new legs’

Tom Adland thought his varicose vein issues would permanently sideline him from everyday life. But then he met Dr. Rimas Gilvydis and his team.

 

Adland’s varicose veins started bothering him about 15 years ago. Since that time, the now-68-year-old underwent three vein-stripping procedures.

 

“It was just to no avail,” he recalled. “They came back and were worse, so I just kind of threw up my hands.”

 

Genetics play a part in his condition, as two of his brothers also sought treatment for varicose veins. And while exercise can help decrease the symptoms from varicose veins (Adland used to be a jogger, and he and his wife, Lynn, played tennis and racquetball and rode bicycles together), even those types of activities became too painful. It hurt just to sit, he said.

 

Things got so bad that walking a one-block distance with Lynn to a restaurant or shop was difficult. “She would get to the end of the block, and I’d only be halfway there. It hurt to extend my stride and try to keep pace. People got tired of waiting on me.”

 

Lynn heard about Dr. Rimas Gilvydis from patients who had reported great results with minimally invasive laser treatments that are now available. So Adland made an appointment.

 

“During my consultation, I started to describe to Dr. Gilvydis how my legs hurt and how they limited my lifestyle. He stopped me halfway through and said, ‘We’re going to solve that. We’re going to give you two new legs.’ And by golly, he did it.”

 

Dr. Gilvydis said pain and swelling are among the most common symptoms of varicose veins, and those symptoms are caused by venous stasis – old, stagnant blood pooling and collecting in the legs, which worsens as the day goes on. Venous stasis is caused by permanently damaged valves in the legs. Patients often attribute this and its symptoms to being part of the normal aging process, but, left untreated, symptoms worsen: swelling, pain, purplish discoloration, cellulitis, scar tissue, ulcers, bleeding varicose veins and blood clots.

 

Varicose veins can be easily closed with Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) in an outpatient setting. Once treated, the venous stasis resolved, Dr. Gilvydis said.

 

Adland said he never had any pain with the laser treatments, a major change from the leg-stripping procedures of old. “There was an occasional pinch, but Dr. Gilvydis was always good about warning me.”

 

Recovery was also painless, and Adland was pleased that the compression stockings he wore post-treatment had also improved in design through the years.

 

Adland grew especially fond of the clinic’s staff during his treatment appointments. “They go out of the way to make sure everything works for you. They’re great people.”

 

He connected to the staff so well, he used his experience working in aerospace to help ease an employee’s fear of flying. He appreciated that staff members were always flexible in making appointments that fit with his work schedule.

 

The clinic’s comprehensive vein care begins with patient education, Dr. Gilvydis noted. And because EVLA treatment is very standardized, the staff can create a comfortable environment in the treatment rooms: Patients can select the type of music they listen to; they have their own ultrasound monitor, which allows them to see the work being done; and because only local anesthesia is used, Dr. Gilvydis and his team are able to talk with patients throughout the entire procedure.

 

“We want every patient to understand what varicose veins are, how they are affecting their health and how we can help them,” Dr. Gilvydis said. “The more our patients are educated about varicose veins and their treatment, the less anxiety they are likely to experience.”

 

Today, Adland can proudly “keep pace with anyone.” In less than a year, he has shed more than 75 pounds, and his ability to exercise and focus on his health has improved with the leg vein treatment.

 

“I can’t say enough good things,” Adland said of his experience. “I’ve recommended the office to anybody who is willing to engage in a discussion about varicose veins. You can’t ask for a better specialist to work with.”

 

As for Adland’s “two new legs,” Dr. Gilvydis said patients often describe their legs feeling lighter and younger, not experiencing swelling or aching, and lamenting that they wish they would have sought treatment sooner.

 

“I am pleased with every single patient we treat, whether the varicose veins are mild, moderate or severe,” Dr. Gilvydis said. “Having specialized in EVLA over the past 14 years, there are no patients that we can’t treat. Tom presented with a history of prior surgical stripping and blood clots. This doesn’t affect our scope of treatment. In fact, the more complex and advanced the varicose vein disease, the more I would like to treat patients, as their results can be very dramatic.”