Specialist Who Diagnose and Treat Venous Disease

In today’s medical world a new specialty is emerging, Phlebology. The Phlebologist is a medical specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of venous origin. The specialty of Phlebology has developed to enable physicians with a variety of backgrounds such as: dermatology, vascular surgery, hematology, general surgery or general medicine, to share knowledge and experience. Not only do they share an interest in venous disease but also in diagnostic techniques used. This includes the history and physical examination, venous imaging techniques and laboratory evaluation related to venous diseases.

A significant part of a Phlebologist’s work deals with the treatment of superficial venous disease, usually of the leg. Conditions often treated include varicose veins and Telangiectasia (spider veins). Other conditions managed by Phlebologists include deep venous thrombosis (DVT), superficial thrombophlebitis, chronic leg ulceration (venous ulcer), and venous malformations.

The American College of Phlebology(ACP) is a professional organization of physicians and health care professionals from a variety of backgrounds. The American College of Phlebology holds meetings to enable the continuing education and sharing of knowledge regarding venous disease. There are other equivalent bodies of learning around the world.

There are two general treatment options for varicose veins: conservative measures (non-invasive), such as compression stockings, and corrective measures such as sclerotherapy,
endovenous procedures, and light-based treatment. In some cases, a combination
of treatment methods works best. Untreated varicose veins may lead to adverse consequences. The consequences may vary in their severity from person to person depending on the circumstances. Many people who have untreated varicose veins will experience continued symptoms of pain, fatigue and swelling of the legs or ankles. More advanced medical problems may include hyper pigmentation (reddish skin), lymphedema, venous leg ulcers, spontaneous bleeding, superficial thrombophlebitis, and a potentially life-threatening condition called deep vein thrombosis.

Phlebologists use compression stockings in the range of 20-30mmHg or greater. They know the importance of proper fitting support hose in managing their patients’ venous disease. Our manufacturers of support hose have made it so much easier for us to find a garment which fits our clients’ lifestyle and body measurements. As we always say “They don’t look like the stockings your grandmother wore”. They come in styles which range from pretty and sheer to dress socks for men and athletic socks for men and women. Just call one of the Certified Fitters at Support Hose Plus (1-844-472-8807) and they will assist you in the proper garment and fit.

Be sure to check out our link above to the American College of Phlebology. It is a treasure chest of information for you in the treatment of your venous disease.

Vanda

WHY DO WE GET VARICIOSE VEINS

Varicose veins are the result of venous insufficiency. There are many things that influence the health of the veins in our legs. Among these are hereditary, obesity, sedate life styles, and of course, age. The population of the United States is getting older, the Baby Boomers are now in their 60’s, and, unfortunately many of us are over-weight (including Rod and Vanda).

heart_veins_arteries_circulculatory_system

The Heart is responsible for the blood flow in our bodies. The circulatory system is made up of the heart, arteries which carry blood from the heart to our legs and arms, arterioles and capillaries (where oxygen is exchanged), and veins which carry blood back to the heart. The heart is an excellent pump, but it needs assistance in getting blood flow from our legs and back to the heart. This is where the valves in our veins come in. The tiny valves in the veins open and close to allow blood to flow only one-way back to the heart. The problem occurs when the valves get damaged form age or from physical injuries to the leg and do not close properly. When the valves get damaged they cannot close properly and the blood can then back-flow and create pooling. This can cause stasis dermatitis, edema, and in severe cases blood clots or even lymphedema.

Now let’s discuss the particular vein diseases

spider_veins

Spider Veins

Spider veins are created by small dilations of the veins just below the skin. Yes, they are unsightly; they may cause your legs to ache.  They are giving you a warning to wear compression stockings to keep them under control so that varicose veins do not develop.

varicose-veins

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are created by poor circulation in the venous system. They are generally ropy looking and if should be evaluated by your physician. If left untreated, they can lead to much more serious problems. With varicose veins the valves in the veins become incompetent and the function of returning blood to the heart has been compromised. This condition is called venous insufficiency and can have very serious consequences. Wearing your support hose can assist in maintaining control of the varicosities. There are also many physicians who can advise you of various medical treatments including oblation surgery.

stasis-dermatitis

Stasis Dermatitis

Is a red looking inflammatory skin disease that is common with people with chronic venous insufficiency. Again, wearing compression stockings will help maintain control of this disease, if left untreated it can lead to venous ulceration and lymphedema.

Venous Stasis Ulcer

Venous Stasis Ulcer

As you can tell venous diseases of the leg can become progressively worst. When you are experiencing leg problems always consult with your physician. They can direct you to wearing the correct compression stockings and can assist you in maintaining control of the disease.

For assistance in choosing a garment, call one of our Certified Fitters at 1-844-472-8807.

Thanks,

Vanda
www.supporthoseplus.com

March Is DVT Awareness Month

Federal Awareness Campaign

In September of 2008, Dr. Steven Galston, the acting Surgeon General, issued a Call to Action to urge all Americans to learn about and prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and PE (pulmonary embolism) which are both treatable conditions. Deep vein thrombosis affects up to 600,000 people yearly and results in death of 100,000 Americans from pulmonary embolism. Dr. Galson, in his “call to action” states “I don’t think most people understand that this is a serious medical problem or what can be done to prevent it,”

The people, who are at a greater risk for a DVT, even though they are healthy, include those who are:

  • Obese
  • Pregnant
  • On contraceptive or hormone therapy
  • Recovering from a recent surgery or trauma
  • Have chronic heart disease
  • Have varicose veins
  • Have a history of blood clots
  • Travel on long trips by airplane or by other means where movement is restricted for a long period of time

So what is a Deep Vein Thrombosis and how is a DVT formed?

A DVT is a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the legs. The DVT, although serious, can be treated by your physician. DVT’s are most common in sedentary situations such as being bed ridden for long periods of time. To begin with, the human body has three types of blood veins. The blood flow leaving the heart travels in the deep vein system within the body. The blood then flows through the perforating veins (veins which connect the deep vein system to the superficial vein system). The perforating veins contain one way valves which force the blood back to the heart and keep it from flowing backwards. If these valves are damaged or the blood flow impeded, a DVT can form in the lower leg or thigh. When a blood clot is formed, it can caused permanent damage to the vein walls and the one way valves. The blood clot, left untreated, can be life threatening. A piece of the clot can break loose and cause a pulmonary embolism (obstruction of the pulmonary artery causing stoppage of blood flow to the lungs) sometimes resulting in death. Please remember, a DVT can be treated. If you are experiencing pain, redness, heat, or skin discoloration in your leg consult a physician for treatment immediately. Also, seek professional advice on preventable measures, including the amount of compression to wear in support stockings.

Age is not a limiting factor in DVT and PE

DVT and PE can strike men and women of all ages and walks of life with relative little warning. So keep a friend or loved one healthy tell them about DVT and how to prevent it by wearing compression stockings and compression hose and following our tips…

Compression support stockings help prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities and can minimize the risk of a DVT. Other things you can do to help prevent a DVT include:

  • Exercise your legs regularly when sitting or laying for a long period of time. This can be a simple as making figure 8’s with your feet, or walking for just a few minutes.
  • When sitting, stretch your legs and change position frequently
  • Breathe deeply frequently.
  • Elevate your legs whenever possible.
  • Be careful about leg rest that compress the calf or behind the knee.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake (it dehydrates the body).
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear loose, non-binding clothes when traveling

Above all wear compression stockings or support socks especially when traveling,

Vanda

www.supporthoseplus.com

Don’t Let Your Legs Go Untreated

High blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are very common and when people recognize symptoms of these conditions, they seek a physician and undergo treatment.  Venous disorders are also extremely common.  In fact statistics show one in three American over the age of 45 are affected by venous disease.  It is just a shame that only 4% of those are being treated.

Perhaps it is because they fail to recognize the signs of venous disease.  Let’s review a few of the venous diseases and their ramifications:

jobst-spider-veins

Spider veins are not only unattractive, but can signal problems to come

Spider veins are small varicose dilations of the veins in the skin and do not seem to be very important.  They are a bit unsightly, but can signal a need to wear compression stockings to prevent large varicose veins.

 Varicose veins - unsightly veins which can cause serious health issues

Varicose veins – Ropy looking veins which, if left untreated, are a health issue that can lead to much more  serious problems.

venous-insufficiency3

Chronic venous insufficiency – Swelling, discoloring of the skin

When varicose veins develop, the valves in the veins become incompetent and can no longer function to return blood to the heart. This causes very high pressure and congestion in the lower leg area. This condition is called venous insufficiency. It can become chronic and has very serious consequences.

society-of-interventional-r

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – Obstruction of a deep vein by a blood clot with the risk of the blood clot breaking loose and becoming a pulmonary embolism.

When a deep vein has incompetent valves, the blood circulation is hampered and a clot can form near the valve. The clot is called a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Part of the DVT can break loose and pass through the heart to the lungs, block the pulmonary artery and result in a pulmonary embolism.

stasis-dermatitis1

Stasis dermatitis – inflammatory skin disease occurring on the lower extremities

Stasis dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin disease that occurs on the lower extremities in patients with chronic venous insufficiency.  Stasis dermatitis is usually the earliest cutaneous manifestation of venous insufficiency, and it may be a precursor to more problematic conditions, such as venous leg ulceration and lymphedema.

venous-stasis-ulcer1

Venous stasis ulcer – in most severe cases of chronic venous insufficiency

A chronically insufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissue develops. Fluid accumulates in the tissue and weeps on the skin and in a worse case scenario the tissue dies and an ulcer of the lower leg forms. This can take months under a physician or wound care specialist to heal.

This is but a very brief summery of a few leg diseases that can lead to serious health problems.  We will cover them in depth in later news letters.  Please wear your compression stockings.  They do you no good in your dresser drawer. If you are aware of a friend or loved one who has leg diseases such as these, please send a copy of this or a link to our blog askvanda.com and ask them to seek council with a physician. Their physician is their best source of information. They should talk to their doctor about any symptoms or problems they are experiencing.

Stockings are usually made to last 4-6 months. If yours are in need of replacement, please call one of our certified fitters at 1-844-472-8807 to place an order.  Our certified fitters are available 9 AM to 5 PM CST Monday- Friday. We have many new styles.

Noninvasive Treatment of Varicose Veins and Venous Insuffeciency

By JON SENKOWSKY, MD FACS

Venous disease is a health problem that affects almost everyone. Despite the fact venous disease has been acknowledged since the time of Hippocrates, hundreds of years B.C., innovative technology and significant diagnostic advances in treating venous disease are only now emerging in the field of vascular surgery.

Venous disease occurs for the simple reason that veins are always working against gravity. Veins in the legs carry blood from the leg to the heart. In order to cover this long distance efficiently, veins contain valves that allow blood to move up the leg, and not down. If these valves become destroyed, blood pools in the lower portion of the leg causing leg swelling, varicose veins and other venous problems. Typical symptoms include heaviness in the legs, swelling, development of varicose veins, and even skin damage, dry skin, and brownish pigmentation at the ankle level leading to ulcers.

Another more serious symptom includes blood clots in the legs. Indeed, recent reports indicate people who frequently fly in airplanes are at risk of developing blood clots, which can break free and cause pulmonary emboli. This situation appears to be minimized by the use of hose (see the Travel Socks section of the Support Hose Store web site).

The majority of people with venous disease have chronic problems with their legs. The most effective treatment can be found by making an accurate diagnosis; determining if blood clotting is present; and identifying whether any venous valve disorders are present. Valve disorders often indicate venous reflux, or pooling of the blood located in the deep veins of the muscle or on the surface veins underneath the skin. (The surface veins, when enlarged, are actually varicose veins.) By utilizing a machine called a Duplex Scan, a noninvasive and painless diagnostic test, all these questions can be answered.

Perhaps the simplest and most well known treatment for venous disease is the compression garment. Compression garments can be used to prevent the complications of venous disease. These are essentially tight hose or wraps that control the swelling in the leg by forcing the blood into the deeper veins. It is important to use gradient compression hose, obtained from a reputable manufacturer, such as Jobst, in order to get the right fit and avoid problems. The compression garments force the same amount of blood into a smaller volume of veins, resulting in more efficient removal of the blood from the lower extremities. A variety of different hose products, both knee high, thigh high, and waist high, and a variety of different strengths and colors, are now available from Jobst at Support Hose Plus. Other techniques, such as lymphedema wraps and pumps can be used in order to decrease the swelling associated with venous disease (see the lymphedema section of The Support Hose Plus web site).

New techniques in the treatment of varicose veins are emerging. An accurate diagnosis with ultrasound and physical examination are essential for the correct care of varicose veins. Hose are the mainstay of treatment, and are available at www.supporthoseplus.com, or by calling 1-844-472-8807 to speak to a certified fitter.

Dr. Senkowsky is a Board Certified vascular surgeon in private practice in Arlington, Texas. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American Society of Vascular Surgeons.