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Vein Treatment Center in Ventura & Los Angeles

Athletes and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a genetic condition that is usually associated with inactive and overweight people, as well as pregnant women due to weak calf muscles and/or impeded blood flow in the veins in the legs and pelvic area. However, it is also known to affect perfectly healthy and physically active individuals.

Athletes and Varicose Veins | Vein Specialist Ventura & Los Angeles

Athletes are constantly running on hard surfaces or engaging in heavy resistance training and other strenuous activities. This puts their veins under a lot of strain, causing them to bulge and appear on the surface of the skin as ropy blood vessels on the lower thighs and calves. Varicose veins can also form on the arms, chest, and other parts of the body where blood flow is restricted.

Varicose veins usually don’t cause any pain or unfavorable symptoms, except for aesthetic concerns. But in some cases, they can cause uncomfortable symptoms that hinder the performance of an athlete.

Varicose Veins Prevention

For most people, light leg exercises like walking and jogging are enough to strengthen the calf muscles and reduce the risk of vein problems. But considering that this may not be an option for athletes, your vein specialist may recommend a personalized plan that includes:

  • Keeping your legs elevated when resting to make it easier for blood in the lower extremities to flow back to the heart
  • Avoid exposing your veins to extremely high temperatures in hot baths, hot tubs, and saunas
  • Increase your dietary intake of fiber and reduce sodium consumptions to reduce the risk for constipation, water retention, and other problems that may contribute to varicose veins

Varicose Veins Treatment

If your varicose veins are causing symptoms such as localized pain, itchy, swollen legs, or tired, heavy legs, your Ventura or Los Angeles-based vein specialist may recommend various minimally invasive treatments that involve little or no downtime and won’t cause major interruption to your training schedule. The sooner you get problematic veins treated, the faster you can achieve optimal training and performance.

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Vein Ligation and Stripping

If you’re looking to get rid of large, problematic varicose veins that cause pain, swelling, and heaviness in your legs, your vein specialist may recommend the removal of the damaged veins through two minor surgical procedures known as vein ligation and stripping.

Vein Ligation and Stripping | Varicose Vein Specialist Los Angeles & Ventura

These procedures are mostly used to treat severe cases of varicose veins, usually after addressing smaller vein problems with a minimally invasive procedure such as sclerotherapy. During vein ligation, your surgeon will make a small incision through your skin and surgically tie the affected vein. With vein stripping, a similar incision is made but with the view to removing the problematic vein.

What to Expect

If your vein specialist recommends vein ligation and stripping, it is best that you take the rest of the day off and ask someone to drop you off at the center and pick you up later because you’ll be sedated. Some tests will need to be done prior to the procedure to ensure the presence and location of varicose veins and to avoid any complications.

The doctor will numb the area before making a small cut over the damaged veins. During litigation, the problematic veins are tied off to force the blood to redirect and flow through other healthy veins. The vein is not removed, which allows other blood vessels to reconnect to healthier parts of the vein to continue circulating blood.

But if the vein and valves are severely damaged, the entire portion of the valve may be surgically removed or stripped. This requires the surgeon to insert a flexible instrument up the damaged vein, grasp it, and then remove it. Blood is automatically redirected to other healthy veins.

The procedure itself takes between 2 and 3 hours. You should be able to go home the same day, but it’s recommended that you wait a few hours to recover from the regional or general anesthesia used during the surgery.

Post Surgery Care

Vein ligation and stripping is a safe, minor surgical procedure that helps to treat the symptoms of venous incompetence, including swelling and ulceration, and prevent varicose veins recurrence. Your vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles will discuss any side effects that may result from the procedure, such as as scarring, and provide directions for care and preventing other varicose veins from emerging. You should be able to return to your normal activities after a few days of rest.

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Pregnancy Related Vein Problems

Pregnancy is one of the risk factors for varicose veins. The developing fetus and enlarging womb can apply a lot of pressure on the veins in the pelvis area, which in turn put pressure in the leg veins, leading to varicose veins and other vein conditions.

Pregnancy Related Vein Problems | Vein Specialist Los Angeles & Ventura

Generally, each pregnancy increases your risk for varicose veins, which means that older moms are more susceptible. In fact, studies show that 28% of women who have never had a vein issue in their family often suffer vein problems during pregnancy.

Although varicose veins are largely harmless, the associated pain, itchiness, burning sensation, and, discomfort can make pregnancy much harder for women.

Here are a few tips to help you prevent or minimize the appearance of varicose veins during pregnancy:

  • Try to reduce the amount of time you spend on your feet. If your job requires you to stand for many hours, then you should get custom, full-length pregnancy compression stockings from your vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles.
  • If you have a desk job, consider exercising your calf muscles to facilitate blood flow. With your foot flat on the ground, rock your foot from heel to toe multiple times. You can also do this exercise while standing.
  • When resting, avoid crossing your legs as this could obstruct proper blood flow. Instead, keep your legs in a raised position or choose your left side when you lie.
  • Do light exercise everyday, especially walking to improve circulation.

Avoid Any Permanent Treatments

Vein specialists don’t recommend any permanent solutions for varicose veins, like minimally invasive surgeries during pregnancy because the situation usually improves after giving birth. Moreover, the vein problem is likely to return on your subsequent pregnancies.

If your varicose veins are causing other problems, you should visit a vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles to discuss possible remedies during and after pregnancy.

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Exercise and Varicose Veins: The Dos and Don’ts

Most people associate varicose veins with being overweight, inactivity, or standing for extended period of times. Indeed, some level of physical activity can improve blood flow in your leg veins and reduce the risk of varicose veins.

Exercise and Varicose Veins: The Dos and Don'ts | Vein Specialist

However, venous diseases are hereditary and are known to affect healthy people and athletes. In fact, some kinds of exercises can increase the risk of varicose and spider veins.

Vein specialists agree that some exercises help to develop your calf muscles, promote healthy blood circulation in your legs, and reduce the risk of vein disease. Before starting your exercise routine, it is recommended that you seek professional advice about the beneficial exercises. Here are some common do’s and don’ts:

The Do’s

  • Low-impact activities that target your calf pump are best for improving blood circulation. These including walking, swimming, cycling, and elliptical for about 30 minutes a day.
  • Walking is the number one recommended activity for improving lower extremity circulation. 30 minutes a day for 5 days should be sufficient.
  • Elliptical and stationary bike riding also target the calf muscle without exerting too much pressure on your joints.
  • Jogging or running on a grassy surface or synthetic track is also good for your calf muscles while reducing the stress on your joints from the high-impact of hard surfaces.
  • Light resistance training using lower weights, high repetitions, good lifting techniques, and incorporating aerobic activities such as riding a stationary bike or walking after every workout session to help the muscles relax.

Don’ts

  • Jump roping is as bad as running on hard surfaces because it stresses your feet and joints, which may worsen varicose vein swelling.
  • Heavy resistance training or weightlifting tends to increase abdominal pressure, which in turn impedes blood flow from your lower extremities towards your heart.
  • Strenuous activities such as lunges, crunches, sit ups, and prolonged abdominal posturing. Alternatively, you can do them in combination with aerobic exercises and in short segments.

Promote Healthy Blood Flow In Your Legs

Calf exercises are important for healthy blood flow in your legs and to reduce the risk of varicose veins. If you don’t have the time to exercise, you shouldn’t wear high heels except for special occasions because they weaken the calf muscle and impede circulation.

Instead, rock your feet on the ground from heel to toe when sitting or standing to engage these muscles. Also talk to your vein specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles about getting you customized compression stockings to wear when sitting or standing for extended periods, like due to pregnancy or when traveling.

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Leg Pain & Swelling

Pain in your legs is a common occurrence after sustaining an injury, or due to a medical condition or other non-traumatic cause. Leg pain and swelling can also be caused by injury or inflammation of blood vessels, muscles, joints, bones, nerves, or other structures in the leg, or radiate from other parts of your body, like from a blood clot in the large veins in the legs, pelvis, or abdomen and be felt in the leg.

Leg Pain & Swelling | Vein Specialist in Ventura & Los Angeles

Whether the pain in your leg is due to trauma or a nontraumatic event, it is important that you visit your physician in Ventura or Los Angeles for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your physician or specialist will likely have a lot of questions about your medical history, occupation, activities that reduce or increase the pain, and so on.

Some of the things that your physician will consider when diagnosing your case include:

1. Extent of the pain

When examining your legs, your doctor will want to know the location or origin of the pain and whether it moves to the ankle, foot, toes, or other areas of the leg; the time of day when the pain and swelling is at its worst; the events that cause a flare up or help to relieve the pain; the time of day when the pain is most tolerable; whether the pain occurs a few days a month due to hormonal changes, and so on.

2. Your medical history

It is important that you provide your doctor with your complete medical history, including any heart conditions or thyroid, kidney, or liver problems. Keep in mind that the symptoms may be associated with arthritis or some medications you’re taking.

3. Your lifestyle habits

Your physician will also investigate your eating, sleeping, and activity levels as they may contribute to the problem. For instance, being overweight, inactive, and sleeping in a recliner could strain blood flow in the veins of your legs, leading to pain and swelling.

Treating Leg Pain and Swelling

There are many ways to treat leg pain and swelling, ranging from massage and physical therapy to wearing compression stockings to minimally invasive surgical procedures to remove troublesome veins. It is important that you visit your physician in Ventura & Los Angeles as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and timely and personalized treatment.

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Cold Weather and Your Veins

If you have a venous disease, your physician has probably advised you to stay away from hot water in spas and saunas, and even hot weather, because the heat causes your veins to dilate. This weakens the walls and causes pressure to build up, allowing blood to flow back and pool.

Cold Weather and Your Veins | Vein Specialist in Ventura and Los Angeles

Conversely, cold temperatures cause the veins to constrict, allowing them to function optimally and prevent pressure from increasing around the calves and ankles. This translates to minimal pain and reduced risk of swelling.

That said, extremely cold weather can be detrimental to the health of your veins in the following ways:

1. Changes in atmospheric pressure

Venous problems typically arise from increased pressure in the venous system due to a number of factors, including weight gain, prolonged standing or sitting, or even changes in atmospheric pressure. Severe cold weather can cause your body to feel heavier and inhibit proper blood flow in the veins, resulting in varicose or spider veins.

2. Slow down body functions

While cold weather increases metabolism to generate heat, it also slows down body functions to save energy. This includes lower blood circulation, which is made worse by physical inactivity. Without adequate pressure in the venous system to push blood against gravity, blood can begin to flow back and pool, creating varicose veins.

3. Lifestyle changes

From inactivity to dietary changes, cold weather causes you to change your normal routine to make life easier, but not necessarily healthier. Cold weather may cause you to sit or lay on your sofa or bed for extended periods as you watch TV or browse the internet, as you indulge in cookies, snacks, and other unhealthy foods. You may also change your diet to include fatty soups and stews to help you keep warm, resulting in weight gain and increased pressure in your venous system.

How to counter the cold for healthy veins

When indoors, consider relaxing with your legs elevated to make it easier for blood in your legs to return to the heart. Also walk around your home to stretch your legs, and massage your feet and ankles when possible. Lastly, take the opportunity to prepare healthy homemade foods rich in omega-3s and fiber to help improve blood circulation.

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Tips for Relief from Varicose Veins While Traveling

With the holiday season fast approaching, many people will be planning trips to the mountains or the beach; or taking long flights to international destinations. Considering that travel usually involves extended periods of queuing and/or sitting, it is important that you ensure the optimal health of your veins, especially if you’re at risk of getting varicose veins.

Tips for Relief from Varicose Veins While Traveling | Vein Specialist

Here are a few tips to maintain vein health while traveling:

Stretch your legs every few hours

If traveling long distances by road, whether driving or by bus, it is recommended that you stop every few hours to stretch your legs.

Pump your legs/ankles on the plane

Air travel poses a major risk for venous problems, from the confined space in a narrow seat to the restricted mobility to the slow blood circulation when flying at high altitudes. These situations cause pressure to build up in your veins, resulting in restlessness, heaviness and an achy feeling in the legs, and other symptoms associated with varicose veins.

For people with vein disease, air travel may increase the risk of venous thrombosis, where blood clots in your deep veins break off, travel to your lungs, and cause difficulty in breathing.

If possible, it is recommended that you stand up and walk on the cabin aisle regularly. If getting up is not an option, consider pumping the calf muscle while sitting. With your foot on the ground, raise the heel so your tippy toes support your leg on the ground, and then return to the original position. Do this multiple times to engage the calf muscle, which will in turn help to pump blood from the leg veins to the heart.

Keep well hydrated

Avoid the temptation of consuming snacks, sweets, alcohol, and other items that dehydrate your body. Instead, drink water or another nonalcoholic and decaffeinated beverage to stay hydrated and keep your lips moist, improve your mood, and avoid bad breath. Staying hydrated helps to prevent the veins from narrowing. It also reduces the risk of constipation, which is known to stress the venous system.

Get a support hose

Compression stockings are designed to physically squeeze your foot and calf muscles to facilitate steady blood flow in the venous system. Visit a vein specialist to get custom stockings that provide just the right amount of compression, and put them on before setting off.

Final tip

If you notice swelling of the legs or chest pain or shortness of breath soon after traveling, you should visit the nearest hospital for evaluation.

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What Happens If You Leave Varicose Veins Untreated

For most people, varicose veins are a cosmetic concern that causes embarrassment and prevents you from wearing the attire and footwear that you want. In some cases, people with untreated varicose veins may also experience some discomfort and other symptoms such as pain, restless legs, swelling, and heaviness in the legs.

What Happens If You Leave Varicose Veins Untreated | Vein Specialist

It is recommended that you visit a vein specialist as early as possible before the symptoms of varicose veins get worse. If left untreated, patients often report more severe symptoms that may require emergency treatment, such as:

  • Bleeding – When the skin around the affected veins becomes damaged to the extent of exposing the varicose vein, a small puncture could result in spontaneous bleeding. This blood loss is usually painless.
  • Hyperpigmentation – Refers to darkening of the skin around the area with varicose veins. As pressure increases in the bulging veins, some of the oxygen-depleted blood may begin to leak from affected veins and flow into the surrounding tissues, resulting in inflammation, swelling, and discolored skin pigmentation. Commonly occurs in the lower leg area.
  • Venous leg ulcers – These also occur when the affected veins burst due to increased pressure, allowing blood to flow into the surrounding tissues. When the red blood cells interact directly with the tissues, they may cause the skin to break down and form painful ulcers. These ulcers typically won’t heal until you treat the varicose veins.
  • Lipodermatosclerosis – This is a result of venous insufficiency where the skin around the problematic veins hardens and becomes discolored. Some pain and swelling is also very common. This usually occurs around the ankles.
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis – clotting or damage of the veins located just below the surface of the skin can cause decreased blood flow, resulting in swelling, redness, and pain around that area.
  • Deep vein thrombosis – This occurs when blood clots in the deep veins of the leg. It increases the risk of pulmonary embolism, where the blood clots break off and get carried to the lungs, resulting in shortness of breath and even death

Untreated varicose veins can cause serious medical complications that include ulcerations (large sores), bleeding, and thrombophlebitis (blood clots), due to the increased pressure and blood pooling in the veins.

Please visit a vein specialist as early as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

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What to Expect from a Vein Procedure

There are several minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein problems, all of which are considered safe, effective, and highly successful with minimal side effects. The typically vein procedure is performed with local anesthetic only and takes less than an hour, so you can drive yourself to and from the appointment.

What to Expect from a Vein Procedure | Vein Treatment Recovery

After your vein procedure, you will have to wear a bandage at least overnight, but you can remove it the following day before resuming normal activities. Most patients report some discomfort for the first 48 hours after treatment, so it’s recommended that you rest during this period.

Expected side Effects

Following the procedure, you will experience some discomfort accompanied by redness, warmth, and inflammation on and around the treated areas. Some patients also report a feeling of tightness along the collapsed or treated vein. Your physician will give you a pain prescription, like 400 mg of ibuprofen that you take every 6-8 hours, or 500 mg of Tylenol that you take every 12 hours.

During the first week after the procedure, you may feel like veins in the treated area are knotting, with blood pooling in the veins and causing the skin to feel warm and tender to the touch. This is normal as blood is redirected to other healthy veins, but you can relieve the discomfort by applying a warm compress and massaging the spot regularly.

It is important that you avoid soaking your body in water, like in a bathtub, or even pool, for the first 10 days after the procedure to reduce the risk of infections in the treated area.

You may also experience some occasional loss of sensation due to nerve irritation during the treatment. This should disappear with time.

7-10 Days Later

Most people should be able to resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure. But if you do a lot of strenuous things, it is best that you wait 7-10 days before engaging in such activities or lifting anything weighing more than 20 pounds.

That said, it is recommended that you engage in low-impact fitness activities, such as walking or using a low setting on the treadmill to facilitate the healing process. But you should avoid all high-impact exercises such as jogging, running, or lower-body weight training.

Months later

People recover differently from varicose vein treatment. Most experience considerable reduction of symptoms after one month, but they may go on for a few more months. You will likely feel fine after 6 months, but considering that venous insufficiency is a chronic condition, you should visit your physician for a follow-up assessment.

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Is Your Diet Causing Varicose Veins?

It is common knowledge that your dietary choices affect many aspects of your health and general wellbeing. New studies suggest that what you eat also affects the severity of varicose veins symptoms by aggravating the risk factors, interfering with proper blood circulation, or directly impeding blood flow in the veins.

Is Your Diet Causing Varicose Veins? | Vein Specialist in Ventura & LA

The items you eat can either make existing vein problems worse or improve your vascular function and ultimately reduce the severity of varicose veins.

Foods that make varicose veins worse

Considering that being overweight is a risk factor for varicose veins, any foods that cause you to add weight also increase your risk of venous problems. These include:

  • Refined starches
  • Soda and alcohol
  • Dairy products including whole milk
  • High-sugar foods
  • Oily foods

You can avoid weight gain by consuming nutritious foods and counting your daily calorie intake. You should also be careful about consuming foods that increase water retention, because it increases pressure on the veins. This can cause the veins to swell and the valves to get damaged, allowing blood to pool and form varicose veins.

Some of the foods that increase water retention and should be avoided include:

  • Processed meats
  • Canned foods
  • Many types of cheeses
  • Pizza
  • Pickles
  • Other salty foods

In addition, you should avoid foods that increase the risk of constipation, as it makes you more likely to getting hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in the anal canal. This can also cause damage to veins in your lower legs, resulting in the formation of varicose veins. Consider reducing your intake of red meat, chocolate, dairy products, bananas, and refined starches, while increasing your intake of foods rich in fiber, such as legumes, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and drinking lots of water.

Foods that provide relief for varicose veins

Besides avoiding the foods mentioned above, consider increasing your dietary intake of leafy green vegetables; fruits and vegetables rich in anti-inflammatory vitamins C and E; and natural diuretics that help to flush away water, like cucumbers, asparagus, celery, and herbs.

Although maintaining the right diet can reduce the risk for venous problems, varicose veins are largely hereditary, so you cannot prevent them completely. If your varicose veins are painful or a cosmetic concern, please visit a nearby vein specialist for diagnosis and discussion of minimally invasive treatments that can help your case.

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