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Let’s talk about your family medical history

21659068 - medical conceptWhen you arrive at Precision Vein Therapeutics, one of the first things you’ll do is fill out a medical history. Your medical history is an important indicator of the risks you may face and any genetic predispositions that could affect your treatment. Nearly half of people who have varicose veins have a family history of vein health issues, so it’s important to collect your medical history.

We know that sharing medical information with our family members is important, yet many do not do it. A 2014 survey from the University of Utah found that even though many Americans believe compiling a medical family history is important, only 37% have actually done it. A similar survey conducted in 2004 by the CDC found that 96% of Americans consider a family medical history important to their health. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering a family medical history may be more important than ever. Here are a few tips to make it a little easier.

  • Keep it simple. Start with a simple family tree and then fill out what you know. Talk with your family members to fill in the gaps as much as you can.
  • Don’t make it personal. Family history and relationships can be tricky. Take the emotion out of it, and keep it about your medical history and not the family’s history in general. Here is a great list of questions from the Blue Cross that you can use to keep the focus firmly on medical issues and not drama.
    • When were you born and what is your age today?
    • Do you have any chronic health conditions?
    • Have you had other serious illnesses?
    • How old were you when you first developed the condition or illness?
    • Has anyone in the family had birth defects?
    • What about learning or developmental problems, like Down’s syndrome?
    • Did any family members have mental health issues?
    • What illnesses did late family members have?
    • How old were they when they died?
    • What was the cause of death?
  • Keep it up to date. Medical issues come and go. It may be prudent to keep an ongoing record that you can update with new information as things change. Share this information with the entire family, if appropriate. It could be as simple as creating a shareable spreadsheet that family members can view and update as needed.
  • Share your history with your doctor. Your medical history can be an important touchpoint for your current medical needs.

We know that it isn’t always easy to compile a family medical history. That’s okay. There are other options, as well. DNA testing services can provide a clear picture of your genetic makeup without wading into family issues. If you are unable to work with your family to compile your history, consider getting tested so you can have a clear picture of your genetic make-up, including if you are prone to vein health issues.

Your veins are thirsty!

The human body is made up of 60% water.Senior couple relaxing That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated. Your body will feel the effects of inadequate hydration pretty quickly. It can cause headaches, muscle pain, dizziness, and in severe cases, insufficient hydration can be life-threatening. But once you start drinking enough water every day, you’ll begin to see some great benefits, including:

  • Better physical performance. If you want to run faster or lift more, drink water. Your muscles are made up of about 80% water, so if you want them to perform well, drink your water.
  • Increased energy. Kick the energy drinks to the curb and drink more water instead. Scientists have found that mild dehydration can impair brain function. Good hydration, on the other hand, has been shown to boost energy levels and mood.
  • Better health. Drinking plenty of water can help reduce constipation, prevent kidney stones and headaches, and even help improve your vein health. Water helps to keep your blood thin so that it flows better through your body, which can help prevent inflammation and blockages.

These are just a few of the benefits of drinking water. Don’t believe us? Try to stay hydrated. You could start with the standard advice of eight cups of water a day, which has been the gold standard of hydration guidelines for years now. But, if you want to reap the benefits of proper hydration, consider a few factors:

  • Your weight. The more you weigh, the more water you need to drink. The great thing is, water can help with weight loss. Drinking water helps promote your metabolism, which can increase how many calories you burn.
  • Your activity level. The more active you are, the more water your body needs to consume. Replenishing your water levels before and after physical activity will help you perform better and recover faster.
  • Your health. Some health conditions can be improved by increasing your water intake. If you suffer from a chronic health condition, talk to your doctor about your hydration needs. Proper hydration can reduce swelling and inflammation, which often exacerbate chronic diseases. Many of our vein patients benefit from increasing their water intake to help prevent varicose and spider vein issues.

Your body needs water. If you start to make drinking enough water each day a priority, you’ll begin to notice a difference. Try using a water calculator like this to determine how much you need or talk to a health care professional. You may be making more trips to the bathroom, but your body will thank you!

Will a vegan diet improve my vein issues?

57275531_MA vegan or vegetarian diet used to be a rare thing, but it’s becoming more common every day. Many people have adopted a vegan or plant-based lifestyle for various reasons, including improving their health. Adopting a plant-based diet can be very beneficial. Some of the health benefits of eating vegan or plant-based food include:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Increased nutrients in your diet
  • Protection against cancer
  • Reduced risk of developing diabetes
  • Better weight management

A vegan or vegetarian diet can even help to improve your vein issues. However, adopting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle will not magically make your varicose or spider vein issues disappear. But it may make it easier to manage your condition. In fact, a plant-based diet can help improve your vein health in a variety of ways such as:

  • Reducing your levels of sodium. Eating more plant-based foods can reduce the amount of sodium you ingest. Cutting down on foods rich in sodium can improve your vein health and reduce painful side effects such as swelling and leg pain.
  • Increased fiber consumption. A high-fiber diet helps to keep your bowel system in check and prevent constipation. A healthy bowel system can reduce pressure on the valves in your veins from straining caused by constipation.
  • Increased levels of potassium. Potassium helps to reduce water retention and may reduce leg pain and swelling. Plant-based foods that are high in potassium include leafy greens, bananas, potatoes, and broccoli.
  • Increased flavonoid consumption. Foods that contain flavonoids improve your circulation by reducing your blood pressure and relaxing your blood vessels. Many vegetables contain flavonoids, including onions, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, citrus fruit, apples, blueberries and even garlic.
  • Weight loss. If you start to eat more plant-based food instead of processed food, you may experience weight loss. Losing weight is a great way to reduce the likelihood of developing vein issues.

It’s not always easy to make a big dietary change like going vegan. But adopting some vegan behaviors is a great first step to incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet.

Start slow, by trying one vegan or vegetarian meal a week or daily. You can also add vegetables and fruit to each meal. Adopting these healthy behaviors can improve your vein health. Start eating more plant-based foods, and you’ll notice a difference in how you feel.

The link between being overweight and vein issues

50429401 - young fitness woman walking at forest trailDid you know that being overweight is one of the most common risk factors for developing vein issues? Excess weight places every organ in your body under greater stress, including your veins. Your physician can help you determine your ideal weight and how to lose extra pounds. Here are some simple ways to help you lose weight over time:

Walk more: Everything from walking the dog to grocery shopping burns calories. An extra 20 minutes of physical activity a day, or an additional 2,000 steps, can make a big difference. Use an activity tracker to log your steps. How can you add more steps to your day? Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for example, can really add up. Commit to a daily walk (or two!) The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, or about 1.5 to 2 miles. Try to aim for 5,000 to 10,000 steps each day. (Ask your physician what level of activity is right for you.)

Cut back on alcohol: A healthy practice is to drink no more than one to two calorie-laden alcoholic drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women.

Embrace leftovers: Portion sizes in restaurants are simply out of control. Ask for a to-go container when you order. That way you can enjoy half your entrée the next day. Watch portion sizes when you cook at home, too.

Eat natural foods: For snacks, try fruit and vegetables. It’s easy to overeat when it comes to chips and other processed foods — even those labeled ‘healthy’ or ‘reduced calorie’.

Drink water: H2O is important for all metabolic processes as well as aiding digestion, weight loss and healthy skin tone. Consuming eight to 10 8-ounce glasses of water each day is key to avoiding dehydration. Eating foods with a high-water content (like fruits and vegetables) also will contribute to your water intake. Too often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually dehydrated. Surprised? Drinking water throughout the day can help you determine whether you’re really hungry. Here’s to your health!

10 interesting facts about spider veins

98966310 - young woman in high heels massaging her tired legsOne day you hop out of the shower, and as you dry off, you notice an itchy spot on your leg. You give it a scratch, and then you realize it’s a thin red or bluish web of veins – your first spider vein.

Don’t be too shocked. Spider veins are incredibly common. This issue happens when the one-way valve in the vein wall is damaged over time. Instead of keeping your blood flowing through the vein and back to the heart, the blood begins to pool, increasing the pressure against the vein wall. The vein starts to twist and bulge, creating the spider web that you can see.

Now that we know the basics, here are ten facts you may not know about spider veins.

  1. Women are more likely to develop spider veins than men, especially during pregnancy. The extra weight and pressure of a growing fetus puts more pressure on the veins in your legs.
  2. A sneeze or a cough can cause spider veins on your face. Forceful coughing or sneezing can increase pressure on the delicate veins in your face and cause spider veins to appear.
  3. Sun damage can also cause spider veins, especially on your face.
  4. Your genetics play a big factor in determining if you will get spider veins. 90% of people with a history of spider veins in their family will develop them too.
  5. Spider veins can cause itchiness, swelling, muscle aches and skin problems.
  6. Spider veins are often a minor problem and easily treated, but they will get worse without treatment. If left untreated, you may develop a large painful sore near the affected vein known as a venous ulcer.
  7. Compression stockings can help improve circulation and relieve discomfort when you have spider veins, but they are just a temporary fix. To completely remove the issue, we recommend treatment from a vein specialist like us.
  8. Vein treatments like sclerotherapy are often very successful at removing the issue. It may take multiple sessions to dissolve the problem area completely, but recovery from the procedure typically takes only a few days.
  9. Walking is a recommended part of your aftercare instructions when you seek treatment for spider veins.
  10. Maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle is the best way to prevent spider veins.

If you’ve discovered a few spider veins on your legs or other areas of your body, don’t worry. Call us today to book a consultation for treatment to remove the problem!