Posts

Family history increases risk for developing varicose veins

It’s important to know our family history for various medical issues, from cancer to vein disease.

A visit to the doctor’s office is a frequent reminder of this need-to-know information every time we have to fill out a form or confirm details with a nurse during a checkup.

Another question to ask your immediate and/or extended family members is for their history with vein disease, be that varicose veins, spider veins, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It’s common to assume these issues are just cosmetic, but vein disease is serious and will worsen over time if left untreated.

Study links varicose veins, DVT

How serious are varicose veins? A 2018 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that among adults with the condition, there is a significantly increased risk of developing DVT, when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs.

A blood clot is a life-threatening complication, so treating varicose veins before they get worse is critical. There are real health risks associated with vein disease.

Symptoms can be debilitating

The look of varicose or spider veins can be annoying and embarrassing. They can appear as red and blue spidery lines on our legs or bulging, twisted veins that make us choose long pants over shorts or a bathing suit every time (or be grateful for added layers during the winter months).

But clothing doesn’t cover up the symptoms of vein disease, which can feel unbearable and interfere with everyday activities like sleeping, standing, and walking. The most common symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Aching or throbbing pain in the legs
  • Slightly swollen legs, ankles or feet
  • Itchy legs
  • Hot or burning sensation in the legs
  • Heaviness in the legs or feet
  • Restless legs
  • Skin that looks discolored or thick along the legs or feet

Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. Or you can contact us anytime for a consultation, and we can determine what next steps are needed.

 Ask Your Parents

Nearly 55% of women will develop varicose veins, and 45% of men, too. That’s why it’s critical to understand your family history on both your mother’s and father’s sides. Vein disease affects both men and women.

The earlier vein disease is treated, the better, and women no longer need to wait until after they’re done having children. Vein disease can be treated between pregnancies, and we can do consultations for women in their second and third trimesters.

Men are less likely to seek treatment for vein disease. Men tend to wait on treatment and ignore the early symptoms, allowing the disease to advance. Men will seek treatment when they start experiencing the more debilitating symptoms of the disease. Vein disease affects individual lifestyle activities and quality of life. Today’s treatment is safe, with little or no downtime allowing men to get treatment without having to miss work.

One of your parents or grandparents may be reluctant or hesitant to talk about varicose veins because they were previously treated with painful vein-stripping procedures. Those are outdated treatments. At Northern Illinois Vein Clinic, our founder Dr. Rimas Gilvydis performs minimally invasive sclerotherapy and endovenous laser ablation that produce minimal pain and offer little-to-no downtime.

Our team has performed more than 24,000 successful laser vein treatments. Don’t wait to schedule a consultation for varicose or spider veins. Act now to stop the progression of vein disease, which, if left untreated, can debilitate your quality of life and limit your active lifestyle.

We Prioritize Your Experience

Living with the symptoms of varicose veins or other vein disease can be debilitating and disrupt your quality of life.

Taking steps to talk to your doctor about your symptoms or start researching options for care can also feel intimidating. The information can seem overwhelming and reading about a potential online diagnosis can cause anxiety.

Our founder Dr. Rimas Gilvydis and our team here at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic (NIVC) work to remove the stress and fear from seeking treatment for varicose veins, spider veins, and other leg vein issues.

Patients are some of our strongest advocates, regularly leaving five-star reviews and feedback on Google, Facebook, and other health care platforms. We take great pride in knowing our patients leave our clinic with a good experience and great results.

Here are some of the most common comments we hear from patients.

“I wish I would have come in sooner.”

You will hear us frequently say that vein disease is progressive if left untreated. Many people suffer in silence or live with the debilitating pain from varicose veins for years before talking to their doctor about their symptoms or coming to see us for a consultation.

That’s why we work hard to teach people about the signs and symptoms, as well as the stages of vein disease.

Another reason people delay treatment is because they think it still involves the painful vein stripping procedures that were common many years ago (maybe your mother or grandmother went through that). Today’s varicose vein and spider vein treatments are minimally invasive, and our patients experience little-to-no downtime.

Though the risks of vein disease increase as we get older, it can develop in your 20s or 30s, especially after pregnancy and/or if they run in your family. The good news is you can treat these painful, bothersome veins at any age, including between pregnancies.

“My experience was easy.”

This is feedback we’re especially proud of. It’s our goal to make vein treatment as seamless as possible, whether you start with a free screening or consultation or are referred by your doctor.

Vein disease in most cases is a medical condition, not just a cosmetic issue. Our staff will work with your insurance to secure coverage whenever possible to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Patients say treatment is painless or they experience minimal or temporary pain. It’s minimally invasive and delivered in the comfortable setting of our clinic by our accredited staff.

“The team was friendly and helpful.”

Yet another point of pride! Vein disease is common, but not commonly understood. Patients tell us our staff makes them feel comfortable by explaining their condition and all the available treatment options, as well as clearly outlining the next steps for their care.

Learn more about our awesome team – including their education, training and why they love working at NIVC – here.

At the end of the day, we’re happiest when patients tell us they are pain free and able to get back to everyday activities that had been disrupted by vein disease. That could be something as simple as taking the dog for a walk without leg pain or hitting the gym again to stay healthy rather than be sidelined by bulging, achy varicose veins.

Call us at 779-696-8346 to come see us at our clinic or request a free screening online. We look forward to delivering the same five-star experience our patients have come to expect.

Cast Your What Rocks Vote for Northern Illinois Vein Clinic

Northern Illinois Vein Clinic made the Top 5 for the Rockford Register Star’s What Rocks awards, which recognize the top businesses in the region.

You helped us get there by nominating us, for which we are so grateful.

Voting has started, and you can vote for Northern Illinois Vein Clinic once per day through Friday, October 16. Find the Vein Clinic category in the Health section by clicking here.

Thank you again for choosing us as your trusted expert on treating serious leg vein disorders such as varicose veins and spider veins.

Know the Signs of Vein Disease Before It Progresses

Why wait to schedule a consultation for varicose or spider veins, or consider treatment that can help address leg pain and discomfort? Act now to stop the progression of vein disease, which if left untreated can harm your quality of life and limit your active lifestyle.

It’s important to recognize the signs of vein disease now to prevent further complications. We can help explain how vein disease can progress and what signs to consider. There are seven main stages of vein disease, ranging from signs that are less obvious to more serious.

  • Stage 1: Know that vein disease may not be visible yet. You may have vein disease even if you do not see varicose veins at the skin’s surface. Symptoms include leg pain, aches or cramps, throbbing, itching, heaviness in your legs, burning, swollen legs or ankles, and restless legs.
  • Stage 2: Keep a look out for spider veins. Spider veins are small, damaged veins that appear on the legs’ surface. They can be blue, purple, or red, and look like thin lines, web-like networks, or branches. These veins can cause aching, burning or pain.
  • Stage 3: Watch for varicose veins, which are enlarged, swollen veins that are often dark purple or blue in color. Primary symptoms are pain, swelling, heaviness and discoloration. The veins can bleed, and ulcers can form when the disease progresses.
  • Stage 4: Check to see if you are experiencing edema. This is swelling in the legs and ankles. Leaky valves cause blood to pool in your legs, which causes swelling when you are on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Stage 5: Look for corona phlebectatica, which are abnormally visible blood vessels at the ankles that look like blue and red spider veins. Common symptoms are pain, itching, a burning sensation and swelling.
  • Stage 6: Be aware of skin changes. Bleeding and fluid buildup caused by damaged veins can affect the skin’s color. Progressive skin changes can lead to leg ulcers. Symptoms include pain, hardening of the skin and skin color changes.
  • Stage 7: Watch for leg ulcers. This stage produces a wound on the leg or ankle caused by abnormal or damaged veins, leading to venous hypertension and a breakdown of the tissue.

There are three easy steps to receiving great results. First, schedule your consultation. Scheduling your first appointment is easy. Contact us today for a free screening.

Second, talk through health insurance benefits with one of our insurance experts. After receiving your approval letter, we will reach out to you about financial planning.

Lastly, get your vein treatment scheduled. Leading-edge, minimally invasive treatment options are performed in our state-of-the-art facility by Dr. Rimas Gilvydis. We provide quick, convenient in-office treatment with excellent results that require little-to-no downtime.

As a reminder, you can reach out to us anytime for more information about vein disease and to request a screening. Don’t hesitate to also ask your existing health care team – a nurse, family doctor or podiatrist – about vein disease and be honest and open about your symptoms.

Does Vaping Harm Veins?

Vaping is widely marketed as a “safe” alternative to traditional cigarettes. Unfortunately, e-cigarettes still have nicotine, as well as substances such as propylene glycol and glycerol. Do chemicals from vaping damage your veins (including those in your legs, which could contribute to conditions such as varicose veins)?

How Do Chemicals from Normal Cigarettes Affect Your Veins?

Smoking is one of the best-known causes of heart disease. It has terrible effects on the circulatory system, which includes veins and arteries.

  • Swelling:

Chemicals in cigarettes irritate the lining of blood vessels. This causes veins and arteries to become swollen and narrow.

  • Blood clots:

Different kinds of cigarette chemicals can cause blood clots to form, potentially causing a heart attack.

  • Artery damage:

Smoking weakens and damages blood vessels, even in teens. This can lead to serious vein problems later in life.

  • Blockage:

Over time, cholesterol and other deposits build up inside veins and create plaque. People who smoke have higher levels of plaque.

If you want to keep your blood vessels in great health, avoid smoking at all costs. Can vaping lead to these same scary effects?

What Do Studies Say About Vein Damage from Vaping?

The truth is that it’s too early to know exactly how the chemicals in e-cigarette vapor will affect cardiovascular health long term. Because e-cigarettes are a relatively new invention, there aren’t as many studies available. Preliminary findings aren’t good, however.

One recent European study found that vaping led to problems in the inner lining of blood vessels. It caused arteries to stiffen, making them more vulnerable to damage. Nicotine, present in all e-cigarettes, is proven to trigger a rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure.

What Effects Do E-Cigarettes Have on Blood Vessels?

What scientists do know is vaping causes swelling in blood vessels, at least temporarily. In one study, blood vessels swelled an average of 34%. In addition, blood flow slowed by over 25%.

When your blood slows, risks of developing varicose veins increase. Pooling blood puts excess pressure on veins, potentially damaging tiny valves that help with normal blood flow. Vaping appears to increase the risk of developing spider veins and varicose veins. If you already have these conditions, vein damage from vaping may make them worse.

Why are Varicose Veins a Problem?

Vaping affects vein health, including leg vein health. Varicose veins also cause significant pain, discomfort, itching, or throbbing. Sometimes, the pain is so bad it’s hard to sleep at night. Varicose veins shouldn’t be a problem for you if you follow the right plan of action.

What Should You Do if You’re Worried About Varicose Veins?

The first line of defense is to prevent spider veins or varicose veins from worsening. This often involves lifestyle commitments or adjustments. Here are some tips that can help.

  • Avoid standing or sitting for extended periods of time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce the amount of salt you eat
  • Choose shoes with low or no heels
  • Don’t sit with your legs crossed
  • Don’t smoke or use e-cigarettes

To eliminate varicose veins and spider veins completely, you need the assistance of a medical professional.

Contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic

Our friendly team can walk you through all the treatment options available to you. We provide personalized treatment solutions that include recommendations related to your lifestyle. To learn more, contact us online or call 779-696-8346 right away.

_________
Featured Image: Shutterstock / Eldar Nurkovic

Ask Your Podiatrist about Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a common condition, affecting up to 35% of the U.S. population by some estimates. That shared experience means people seek us out here at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic in a variety of ways.

Individuals can contact us directly for a screening or consultation if they’re experiencing symptoms of vein disease. Those symptoms include burning, itchiness, and achiness in the legs, or visible/unsightly varicose and spider veins.

Many patients also are referred to us by their primary care or family practice doctors, which is why we work with many Geneva- and Sycamore-area hospitals and health systems to educate physicians about the progression of vein disease and what that looks like.

Another specialty that’s often familiar with vein disease is podiatry. A podiatrist is a physician or surgeon who treats the foot, ankle, and other parts of the leg.

Because podiatrists already observe and treat the feet and legs, they can also refer individuals to us for further consultation and treatment. That means if you talk to them about your symptoms and they understand and recognize vein disease, you can then come to us directly for an ultrasound and to determine the next steps for treatment.

Signs that vein disease may have progressed include if you have ulcers on your legs that aren’t healing or reappear. Doctors will sometimes close or repair these ulcers and then they come back, which could be a sign of venous hypertension/insufficiency. That means the valves that help blood flow through the legs aren’t functioning properly.

Progressive vein disease also could look like darker clusters of varicose or spider veins along the inside of the ankles with associated symptoms of itching or burning, or if the skin feels leathery.

Here’s what we strive to do when educating podiatrists and other physicians (as well as patients):

  • Identify the symptoms of varicose veins.
  • Recognize the progression of vein disease, which will worsen over time if left untreated.
  • Explain that minimally invasive treatment is available and effective (long-gone are the days of painful vein-stripping procedures you may have heard about from your mother or grandmother).
  • Make an appropriate referral to a board-certified vein expert like Rimas Gilvydis at Gilvydis Vein Clinic.

As a reminder, you can reach out to us anytime for more information about vein disease and to request a screening. Don’t hesitate to also ask your existing health care team – a nurse, family doctor or podiatrist – about varicose veins and be honest and open about your symptoms.

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.

Embarrassing Affects of Vein Disease

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, bicycling or swimming. Even a simple stroll around the neighborhood may be too painful to bear.

Vein Treatments That Help!

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.

Contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic Today!

With spring just around the corner – and summer waiting in the wings – why wait any longer to address your vein health issues? Contact us online  or call (779) 696-8346 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.

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.