Who’s at risk for varicose veins?

Baird whos at risk for varicose

Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large. Spider veins are small, surface veins, which, while embarrassing, are relatively minor.

Varicose veins are easy to see, especially when you stand up. If you have signs of a deep vein problem like DVT or plan to have treatment for spider veins or symptomatic varicose veins, you may need more tests, such as a vascular ultrasound exam.

We talked to Dr. Brian Strife about who may be at risk for varicose veins. “Varicose and spider veins may have a familial component or an inherited component,” said Dr. Strife. “We often take a family history when interviewing new patient to see if other members of their family suffer from abnormal or painful leg veins.”

Particular situations may also contribute to varicose vein risk. Dr. Strife continued, “Women who are postpartum may have an increased appearance of abnormal veins in the legs, as well as people who have an occupation that requires prolonged standing may be at risk of developing abnormal leg veins.”

Advanced age and obesity can also contribute to an increased risk for varicose veins. Varicose veins may also be a sign of a blockage in deeper veins called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a serious, sometimes deadly condition in which blood clots forming in your leg veins can break loose and move to your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism). It is always a good idea to talk to your physician if varicose veins appear.

The good news is that most insurers typically cover treatment of the more serious, symptomatic varicose veins. If your diagnosis indicates that you need a specific treatment, our staff will submit all relevant information to your insurance company for pre-authorization, or provide you with the approximate cost of treatment.

Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

How we can help with your overall health

Baird overall health

There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the body.
Pointing us toward a lot of answers.

VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute is a multi-disciplinary collaboration of interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons. By working in tandem, we can use the most advanced imaging technology to give us the fastest, clearest picture of a patient’s peripheral circulatory system and vascular problems and diseases, pointing us precisely to the right diagnosis and treatment plan and procedures.

Because of our advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities and convenient location, many physicians refer patients to see us for outpatient evaluations and preparation for various surgical procedures that must be conducted in the hospital, as well as for follow-up examinations. Seeing us as an outpatient saves you many trips to the hospital – and leads to a shorter hospital stay.

Whether you’re referred to us by your doctor or want to talk with us directly about your concerns and needs, our physicians are always available for consultation appointments to listen, learn and talk about your condition and what we can do to help. Open and clear communication with your doctor and you is a crucial aspect of providing proper treatment and care. We work as a team.

Before your appointment, take a few steps in advance to make sure we have the best background information. During your consultation, we’ll talk through your concerns, review your medical history and make an assessment of your current situation. Once we make our diagnosis, we discuss different options to develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. We make sure you understand every aspect of your care.

Our capabilities also allow us to handle the primary treatment of a number of other conditions that once often required prolonged hospitalizations. Today, our image-guided expertise makes possible primarily outpatient care of these conditions. Depending on the condition, certain procedures are handled at the hospital; in other cases, however, these conditions can now be handled completely on an outpatient basis – without a single hospital visit.

Making an appointment at the VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute is quick and easy. We try to accommodate patients and referring physicians as efficiently as possible.

To schedule an appointment call (804) 828-2600 to speak to one of our scheduling associates, or send us an email.

What’s the difference between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

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Unsightly leg veins, ranging from the blue splotches of spider veins to the thick, ropey and twisted dark varicose veins that can make standing and walking painful, have much in common. They’re unsightly. They can be painful. If left untreated, they can progress to serious health problems. They’re very common: 20 percent of all adults, and 50 percent of adults over 50, experience varicose veins, predominantly women.

And, most important, varicose veins are treatable–with new, non-invasive procedures that are quick, virtually painless, and require little or no recovery time. Our vascular specialists are experts in evaluating and treating varicose veins, from unsightly spider veins using new, gentle and highly effective treatments to the relief of more serious, painful and even dangerous major varicose veins.

For a quick guide to the difference, watch Dr. Strife’s video.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large. Spider veins are small, surface veins, which, while embarrassing, are relatively minor. Learn more about our advanced treatments for spider veins.

Most people associate varicose veins with prominent, swollen, twisted, and ropelike veins wrapping their legs, often dark blue in color – and often quite painful. These are symptomatic varicose veins. They develop over time, with factors such as age, family history, pregnancy, weight gain, and prolonged standing all possible contributing factors. They’re caused by weakened valves in the leg veins that flow blood back to your heart. When the valves weaken, blood pools and builds pressure in the leg veins, causing them to swell, expand and twist as the walls of the veins are weakened – and the weakened valves and veins are prone to clots or hemorrhaging, which is why treatment is so important.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but are milder, involving the smaller veins just below the skin surface. Spider veins are more common among women of any age, and frequently appear during/after pregnancy or when gaining weight. The extra burden weakens the valves in the veins carrying blood back to the heart, so the blood pools and the veins swell. When only small, surface veins are affected, the result is spider veins, which can range from little patches to very large areas. They generally do not bulge or cause pain.

To treat more serious varicose vein problems, we offer several effective and minimally invasive solutions. After diagnosis, we will discuss your options so you can choose the treatment that best suits your needs. Although effective, no varicose vein treatment, whether surgical or minimally – invasive, can prevent new varicose veins from developing in the future. Most health insurance plans cover treatment of significant symptomatic varicose veins, but some consider treatment of spider veins as cosmetic surgery. Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

 

 

Cancer Fighting Winter Vegetables

Baird Winter Vegetables

Eating seasonal produce is easy in the spring and summer, but seems challenging once cold weather sets in. Maintaining a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables may seem difficult this time of year. When you think of winter – fresh produce does not come to mind. It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and there are many that are great sources of antioxidants or other cancer fighting nutrients that help keep cancer cells from growing. The good news is, even in winter, you’re not stuck with only potatoes as fresh options. With some planning and creativity, you can discover many fresh food options with great taste and healthful nutrients for the entire winter season.

Carrots

Carrots are popular root vegetables that are usually harvested in the summer, but reach peak flavor and sweetness in the fall and winter. Carrots are also full of nutrients and an excellent source of beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, and vitamin A helps maintain eye health, and also supports a health immune system. They’re also brightly colored vegetables full of carotenoid antioxidants that help protect against certain diseases and cancers.

Kale

Kale – it’s not just for hipsters, it’s a cruciferous vegetable and is a super nutritious dark, leafy green. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Dark leafy greens are also a great source of carotenoids, and according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, research shows that the carotenoids in kale may help prevent cancer cells in breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancers from growing.

Winter Squash

Butternut and acorn squash and even pumpkins, are full of carotenoids that benefit eye health, and pumpkins is also full of antioxidants. There are tons of ways to incorporate winter squash into your diet – roasted, in salads, or even pumpkin pie.

Brussels Sprouts

Like kale, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and chock full nutrients including vitamins K, A, B and C and manganese and potassium. Plus – they’re high in fiber, too. Fiber slows down the digestive process in the body, resulting in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream and fewer blood sugar spikes.

Apples

An apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away. The nutrients and antioxidants in apples may help prevent the growth of cancer cells, plus – they taste amazing!

Beets

Beets contain antioxidants and other nutrients that help fight cancer and other diseases. They’re full of vitamins A, B, C as well as potassium and folate.

Turnips and Rutabagas

Who remembers their grandmother cooking turnips? Grandma was smart – they are part of the cruciferous vegetable family and are full of cancer-fighting glucosinolates, vitamins B, C and K, folate, potassium, fiber, and calcium. They might look like a little bit like potatoes, but they’re actually related to cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. They are also are a good source of magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

Swiss Chard

Like its dark, leafy green cousin kale, Swiss chard is low in calories yet full with vitamins and minerals. It also contains antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of many diseases.

Sweet Potatoes

A staple at the holiday table, sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes can be roasted, mashed, added to salads, baked – they are the ultimate versatile super food.

Adding any fresh to your diet will go a long way toward promoting your health. These cold weather vegetables help to round out your diet with nutritious produce all winter long.

How do I stay up to date on news from Baird Vascular Institute?

Baird Vascular staying in touch

If you’ve been a long time follower of VCU Health’s Baird Vascular Institute on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that we did away with our presence on those social networks, as part of a larger, streamlined plan by VCU Health to consolidate their messaging across the brand.

Rest assured, you can still follow along with our blog for updates, topics of interest and answers to any of your questions. If you have a particular topic you’d like us to write about, just email us.

If you follow along on the VCU Health social accounts, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge about all sorts of health–related topics, including our specialties. You can find VCU Health on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram!

Since 2011, we have been proud to serve our patients with the expertise of a major medical center and the convenience of a neighborhood clinic. Whether you are referred by your physician or wish a personal consultation, we have both the expertise and the latest technologies and techniques to diagnose and treat vascular disease and other problems.

So, don’t forget to check back here often for news, information and updates, and as always – If you are interested in a consultation for any of the services we provide, please contact us at (804) 828-2600 or send us an email.

Can varicose veins come back?

Baird Varicose Veins come back

Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large.

Most people associate varicose veins with prominent, swollen, twisted, and ropelike veins wrapping their legs, often dark blue in color – and often quite painful. These are symptomatic varicose veins. They develop over time, with factors such as age, family history, pregnancy, weight gain, and prolonged standing all possible contributing factors. They’re caused by weakened valves in the leg veins that flow blood back to your heart. When the valves weaken, blood pools and builds pressure in the leg veins, causing them to swell, expand and twist as the walls of the veins are weakened – and the weakened valves and veins are prone to clots or hemorrhaging, which is why treatment is so important.

But once treatment is done, can those veins come back? We talked to Dr. Malcom Sydnor about this issue. “If you’re undergoing a procedure to get rid of your varicose veins,” he said, “most likely you’re undergoing a procedure called endovenous thermal ablasion, which is an alternative to surgically removing varicose veins. The problem starts in the upper leg and goes down to the lower leg where it results in the surface vein you see.”

“Treatment starts with getting rid of the vein underneath that causes the problem to begin with,” continued Dr. Sydnor. “Then we do other therapies to get rid of the surface veins you actually see, and 93% of the time those veins stay away for good.”

However, Dr. Sydnor continued, “There are a small percentage of patients, about seven percent, that may see a recurrence. That happens when a new pathway of reflux, or backwards flow of blood occurs, and those patients may get a recurrence of some degree.

If you’d like to talk to us about your varicose veins, call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

 

I’ve had an IVC filter for a long time, should I be concerned?

Baird IVC Filter

Inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters, whether they are permanent or retrievable types, are designed to be left in the body for a long time. They are made from stainless steel or a metal alloy and are designed to withstand years of placement within a human body.

“Occasionally, though, those filters can have problems,” said Dr. Brian Strife, at VCU Health’s Baird Vascular Institute. “The three main problems we see are the filter itself developing blood clots and blocking the main vein, the IVC, which can result in swelling and extreme pain in the lower extremities. Also, the metal itself in the filter can stress or fatigue, causing the filter to break, and pieces of the filter can migrate into the patient and damage adjacent organs, and very rarely, pieces of the filter can break and go into the heart and lungs.”

These types of issues are extremely uncommon, assures Dr. Strife. “We do know these issues are sometimes a cause of patient concern and anxiety, and we often receive calls from patients asking whether or not their filter needs to be removed to avoid these complications.”

“In 2010, the FDA recommended that physicians who placed these filters and physicians who treated patients with the filters make an attempt to consider filter retrieval when that filter is no longer needed,” Dr. Strife continued. “Sometimes that’s a tough call,” he said, “because we don’t necessarily know which patients are best suited to have an IVC filter in for the rest of their life.”

When a patient calls our office with an IVC filter they would like to have removed, we first have that patient come in for a consultation to discuss why they had the filter in the first place, then we will make a decision on whether retrieval is appropriate for them or not. “Sometimes that’s an easy decision to make,” said Dr. Strife, “and sometimes we need to run further tests and consult with other physicians before making that decision.”

If you would like to discuss concerns or problems you may be experiencing or if your doctor has recommended that you see us for a vascular test, please contact us at (804) 828-2600 or email us.