Vein issues can ruin travel

29445344 - blonde casual caucasian lady napping while traveling by trainAAA forecasted in 2018 that nearly ⅓ of Americans traveled for the holiday season. If this past year, you were one of the many crowding the airports and highways, you are not alone. Holiday travel is a time-honored tradition and one that is often unpleasant. Many of us feel tired and sore after long days of travel. Those feelings usually fade, but sometimes they don’t. If you have undiagnosed venous issues like varicose, spider veins or even a vein ulcer, the pain of travel can linger for long after you return home.

If you have vein issues, you may experience a few of these common symptoms after a long day of travel:

  • Swollen legs or ankles
  • Painful spots or sores on your legs
  • Bulging veins
  • Itchy spots on your legs
  • Painful muscle cramping
  • Heavy, sore legs

Most of us have a few of these issues after a long day of travel. It’s not fun to stand and wait in long lines at ticket counters or crunch your feet up in the ever-shrinking airplane seat. Sitting in a car for hours at a time is hard on your back and your legs. But if you are always sore after even just a few hours in a car or plane seat, it may be a sign of a more significant vein problem. The cramped position of sitting for hours at a time can be hard on your circulation, which can damage the valves in your veins. This damage can cause blockages or clots that can lead to varicose or spider veins. Over time, the blockage can get worse and more painful until you notice a purple or blue vein cluster.

Once varicose or spider veins clusters appear, the problem will get worse. Many of our patients report feelings of embarrassment, shame and anxiety over showing their legs in public with obvious vein issues. They forgo tropical vacations, swimming activities or even wearing shorts or dresses in warm weather because they don’t want people to see their legs. That’s no way to live or travel. We offer treatments that remove the problem areas over time so you can feel confident showing off your legs and enjoying your trips.

Don’t wait until the problem is apparent. If traveling is becoming more uncomfortable for you, come in and let us take a look. We can identify potential issues before they get worse and offer timely treatment. Travel should be fun. Don’t let vein issues ruin your trip.

Women are more likely to have vein issues than men

Pain in legsDid you know that venous disease issues like varicose vein and spider veins are twice as likely to occur in women than men? For women with this issue, the problem can cause significant emotional distress. Women are more likely to show off their legs in their everyday lives. So dealing with unsightly varicose or spider veins can make women self-conscious and embarrassed.

Vein issues like varicose veins and spider veins occur because the vein walls begin to weaken over time. This weakening causes small clots to form as the blood pools in the lower part of the vessel instead of moving through the vein back to the heart. The more the blood pools, the more pressure is placed on the vein wall, which compounds the problem.

Women experience this issue more than men because of a few risk factors, including:

  • Pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, her average blood flow increases. This extra blood causes veins to swell, which can result in varicose veins and spider vein issues.
  • Estrogen. This hormone weakens vein valves. Women on birth control containing estrogen may face an increased risk of developing varicose and spider veins.

Treating vein issues starts with lifestyle changes. Making sure you are healthy, and your weight is under control can help. A diet low in sodium and rich in potassium can help reduce water retention in the body, which is good for your veins. Regular exercise improves circulation and blood flow. But these changes are sometimes not enough to fight back against vein issues.

At Precision Vein Therapeutics, we offer leading treatments to help remove troublesome vein issues. Dr. Michael and Polly Anna Barlow have trained with some of the best vein specialists to provide our patients to find the relief that they want. Our goal is to help you feel your best by using minimally invasive procedures that remove vein issues.

The symptoms of vein disease are more than just uncomfortable. Achy, swollen legs are not fun for anyone. But large varicose and spider vein bundles can be unsightly and cause significant emotional distress. We’ve seen patients who are afraid to show their legs in public out of fear of being ridiculed. You don’t have to feel this way. You should feel confident to wear a skirt, go to the beach, or show off your legs without fear or judgment. Check out our before and after photos on our website. They speak for themselves. We want to help you get the same results. Call to book your appointment today.

Five ways to make the most of your vein treatment recovery

40871244_MCongratulations! You’ve chosen to seek treatment for your vein issues. At Precision Vein Therapeutics, we do our best to ensure a positive treatment experience for our patients. We keep wait times short, and we can answer any questions you may have about your treatment. One of the major concerns our patients often have is how long it will take to recover from a procedure. We make sure to thoroughly provide all the answers our patients need to prepare them for the recovery process.

Recovering from vein treatment typically doesn’t take long. Depending on the type of treatment you receive, it may even be just a few days. Our doctors will always do their best to ensure that you have all the proper aftercare instructions, and our office will be in touch to follow up on how you are feeling after treatment. Even though recovery is fast, it can still be uncomfortable, so we encourage our patients to do their best to relax and allow their bodies to heal. Here are five ways to ease the recovery process.

  1. Bring someone with you. After many of our treatments, you wouldn’t be able to drive for a day, at least. If you’ve had sedation, you may also feel nauseous or dizzy. Ask a friend or loved one to drive you to the clinic and stay with you after the procedure.
  2. Put your feet up. The best thing you can do to speed up the healing process is to rest your legs. Watch some movies, take a nap, and stay off your feet.
  3. Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings will help your body to heal faster. Wear them as much as possible, even at night if you can. Your doctor will outline the recommended wearing guidelines for your specific case.
  4. Make sure to stretch. Maintaining flexibility and blood flow will be a crucial part of your recovery process. Add light stretching, yoga, or other flexibility exercises to your workout in between treatments to keep your blood flowing.
  5. Stick with your treatment schedule. Many varicose and spider vein issues require multiple treatments. Your doctor will outline a treatment plan that will help you get the best results. Stick with your timeline, and you’ll see results in no time.

Recovering from a medical procedure is often uncomfortable, but that shouldn’t be a reason to put off treatment. Vein treatment has a speedy recovery time, especially if you follow aftercare instructions correctly. We want to help you feel and look your best, even during recovery. If you have any questions, ask us. We are here to help!

Compression hose can reduce the likelihood and severity of varicose veins

mother and daughter walking in the forestTrying to prevent spider and varicose veins? Ask us about the benefits of wearing compression hose. Compression hose can help you better manage venous insufficiency, a condition that can lead to a spectrum of vein-related issues, from spider veins to varicose veins to at worst, venous ulceration. That’s when a vein issue results in red and irritated skin and can progress to an open wound.

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in your leg veins don’t permit blood to properly flow back up to your heart. This can cause blood to pool in your legs. By steadily squeezing your legs, compression stockings are designed to help your veins move blood more effectively.

It’s important to not only purchase quality compression hose, but to make sure you’re measured for the hose by someone trained in proper fit. Low-quality compression hose and hose that doesn’t fit properly can be difficult to wear, wear out quickly and/or not be as effective as quality hose. Don’t like the idea of wearing compression hose? Compression hose has come a long way in the last decades, and is not only more effective but easier and more pleasant to wear than ever before. If you receive treatment for vein problems, wearing compression hose after treatment as you’re instructed can make all the difference. They can help make your treatment more successful over the long term and can help prevent new issues from emerging.

Learn more about us and our treatment options by visiting our website: Questions about compression hose? Give us a call: (205) 258-0998

You’re So Vein

You probably think this blog is about you.  Don’t you? Don’t you?  And you would be absolutely right.  Okay I’m sure I’m not the first vein doctor to use Carly’s perfectly written breakup song about Warren Beatty for purposes of encouraging patients to get their varicose veins treated.  If you are old enough (like I am) to remember vividly when this song was released (1972) then you are also in the age group of the population with the highest incidence of venous disease of the legs.  These are problems that can affect both young and older people, but we know the incidence definitely increases with age.

I spend lots of time educating patients about what the symptoms of lower extremity venous disease are and how important it is to seek treatment for varicose and spider veins.   I grew up listening to Paul Harvey on the radio.    “The rest of the story” was always something different and deeper than what you were expecting.   Venous disease in the legs usually progresses and gets worse, involving more and more areas of the leg in the path of whatever vein has gone bad.  Early intervention is what I preach.

The rest of the story with venous disease is that there is such a wide variation in just how a patient will develop problems.  Most patients will have typical symptoms of aching, fatigued feeling legs that feel heavy towards the end of the day, usually with a bulging vein here or there.  Swelling that seems to go away overnight, only to return in the calves and ankles by quitting time is pretty typical.   Changes in the appearance of the skin over time are a big tip off.  This usually includes darkening, or an increase in pigmentation in the lower legs, a reddish itching rash on the skin of the lower calves and ankles, thickening or hardening of the skin in these areas, and the most advanced skin change is the appearance of a non-healing skin ulceration, a venous ulcer.  There are patients who will only have bulging veins or a covering of spider veins and no symptoms at all.   Wide variation.

Right lower calf venous ulceration before and after treatment.

The trick is heading all of this off at the pass.  Getting treatment for venous disease is more important than ever.  Bulging veins at the skin are at risk for lots of bad things.  Superficial blood clots can form in these surface veins that can progress to deep vein thrombosis (DVT).   Bulging veins just under the skin are often in vulnerable areas of the legs that are at risk for rupture and significant bleeding with even minor injuries.   Even more concerning is the tendency of these veins for spontaneous rupture due to the high pressures that develop from underlying veins that are allowing reverse blood flow into them.

The good news for most people is that treatment is not anything like it used to be.  There is an entire generation of people that still believe that “vein stripping” is still the only treatment.  This was invariably a very painful procedure that had a very long recovery period with serious risks.   Today, highly effective treatments are performed in an office-based setting in my clinic, extremely well tolerated under local anesthesia and mild sedation.   There is minimal down time with patients able to return to work on the second day and pain is easily managed typically with over the counter medications.

Don’t wait a minute longer.  Don’t daydream about getting something done.  Don’t be naive like Carly.  She had some dreams but apparently, they were clouds in her coffee.   Gulp that coffee down, grab your phone and give us a call at Precision Vein Therapeutics 205-710-3800 for an evaluation.  Two years after she released “You’re so Vein” she released my favorite song of all time, “I Haven’t Got Time for the Vein.”   You don’t either.

Michael R. Barlow MD, RPhS

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