Family history increases risk for developing varicose veins

It’s important to know our family history for various medical issues, from cancer to vein disease.

A visit to the doctor’s office is a frequent reminder of this need-to-know information every time we have to fill out a form or confirm details with a nurse during a checkup.

Another question to ask your immediate and/or extended family members is for their history with vein disease, be that varicose veins, spider veins, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It’s common to assume these issues are just cosmetic, but vein disease is serious and will worsen over time if left untreated.

Study links varicose veins, DVT

How serious are varicose veins? A 2018 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that among adults with the condition, there is a significantly increased risk of developing DVT, when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs.

A blood clot is a life-threatening complication, so treating varicose veins before they get worse is critical. There are real health risks associated with vein disease.

Symptoms can be debilitating

The look of varicose or spider veins can be annoying and embarrassing. They can appear as red and blue spidery lines on our legs or bulging, twisted veins that make us choose long pants over shorts or a bathing suit every time (or be grateful for added layers during the winter months).

But clothing doesn’t cover up the symptoms of vein disease, which can feel unbearable and interfere with everyday activities like sleeping, standing, and walking. The most common symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Aching or throbbing pain in the legs
  • Slightly swollen legs, ankles or feet
  • Itchy legs
  • Hot or burning sensation in the legs
  • Heaviness in the legs or feet
  • Restless legs
  • Skin that looks discolored or thick along the legs or feet

Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. Or you can contact us anytime for a consultation, and we can determine what next steps are needed.

 Ask Your Parents

Nearly 55% of women will develop varicose veins, and 45% of men, too. That’s why it’s critical to understand your family history on both your mother’s and father’s sides. Vein disease affects both men and women.

The earlier vein disease is treated, the better, and women no longer need to wait until after they’re done having children. Vein disease can be treated between pregnancies, and we can do consultations for women in their second and third trimesters.

Men are less likely to seek treatment for vein disease. Men tend to wait on treatment and ignore the early symptoms, allowing the disease to advance. Men will seek treatment when they start experiencing the more debilitating symptoms of the disease. Vein disease affects individual lifestyle activities and quality of life. Today’s treatment is safe, with little or no downtime allowing men to get treatment without having to miss work.

One of your parents or grandparents may be reluctant or hesitant to talk about varicose veins because they were previously treated with painful vein-stripping procedures. Those are outdated treatments. At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, our founder Dr. Rimas Gilvydis performs minimally invasive sclerotherapy and endovenous laser ablation that produce minimal pain and offer little-to-no downtime.

Our team has performed more than 24,000 successful laser vein treatments. Don’t wait to schedule a consultation for varicose or spider veins. Act now to stop the progression of vein disease, which, if left untreated, can debilitate your quality of life and limit your active lifestyle.

We Prioritize Your Experience

Living with the symptoms of varicose veins or other vein disease can be debilitating and disrupt your quality of life.

Taking steps to talk to your doctor about your symptoms or start researching options for care can also feel intimidating. The information can seem overwhelming and reading about a potential online diagnosis can cause anxiety.

Our founder Dr. Rimas Gilvydis and our team here at Gilvydis Vein Clinic (GVC) work to remove the stress and fear from seeking treatment for varicose veins, spider veins, and other leg vein issues.

Patients are some of our strongest advocates, regularly leaving five-star reviews and feedback on Google, Facebook, and other health care platforms. We take great pride in knowing our patients leave our clinic with a good experience and great results.

Here are some of the most common comments we hear from patients.

“I wish I would have come in sooner.”

You will hear us frequently say that vein disease is progressive if left untreated. Many people suffer in silence or live with the debilitating pain from varicose veins for years before talking to their doctor about their symptoms or coming to see us for a consultation.

That’s why we work hard to teach people about the signs and symptoms, as well as the stages of vein disease.

Another reason people delay treatment is because they think it still involves the painful vein stripping procedures that were common many years ago (maybe your mother or grandmother went through that). Today’s varicose vein and spider vein treatments are minimally invasive, and our patients experience little-to-no downtime.

Though the risks of vein disease increase as we get older, it can develop in your 20s or 30s, especially after pregnancy and/or if they run in your family. The good news is you can treat these painful, bothersome veins at any age, including between pregnancies.

“My experience was easy.”

This is feedback we’re especially proud of. It’s our goal to make vein treatment as seamless as possible, whether you start with a free screening or consultation or are referred by your doctor.

Vein disease in most cases is a medical condition, not just a cosmetic issue. Our staff will work with your insurance to secure coverage whenever possible to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Patients say treatment is painless or they experience minimal or temporary pain. It’s minimally invasive and delivered in the comfortable setting of our clinic by our accredited staff.

“The team was friendly and helpful.”

Yet another point of pride! Vein disease is common, but not commonly understood. Patients tell us our staff makes them feel comfortable by explaining their condition and all the available treatment options, as well as clearly outlining the next steps for their care.

Learn more about our awesome team – including their education, training and why they love working at GVC – here.

At the end of the day, we’re happiest when patients tell us they are pain free and able to get back to everyday activities that had been disrupted by vein disease. That could be something as simple as taking the dog for a walk without leg pain or hitting the gym again to stay healthy rather than be sidelined by bulging, achy varicose veins.

Call us at 815-981-4742 to come see us at our Geneva or Sycamore clinic or request a free screening online. We look forward to delivering the same five-star experience our patients have come to expect.

Know the Signs of Vein Disease Before It Progresses

Why wait to schedule a consultation for varicose or spider veins, or consider treatment that can help address leg pain and discomfort? Act now to stop the progression of vein disease, which if left untreated can harm your quality of life and limit your active lifestyle.

It’s important to recognize the signs of vein disease now to prevent further complications. We can help explain how vein disease can progress and what signs to consider. There are seven main stages of vein disease, ranging from signs that are less obvious to more serious.

  • Stage 1: Know that vein disease may not be visible yet. You may have vein disease even if you do not see varicose veins at the skin’s surface. Symptoms include leg pain, aches or cramps, throbbing, itching, heaviness in your legs, burning, swollen legs or ankles, and restless legs.
  • Stage 2: Keep a look out for spider veins. Spider veins are small, damaged veins that appear on the legs’ surface. They can be blue, purple, or red, and look like thin lines, web-like networks, or branches. These veins can cause aching, burning or pain.
  • Stage 3: Watch for varicose veins, which are enlarged, swollen veins that are often dark purple or blue in color. Primary symptoms are pain, swelling, heaviness and discoloration. The veins can bleed, and ulcers can form when the disease progresses.
  • Stage 4: Check to see if you are experiencing edema. This is swelling in the legs and ankles. Leaky valves cause blood to pool in your legs, which causes swelling when you are on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Stage 5: Look for corona phlebectatica, which are abnormally visible blood vessels at the ankles that look like blue and red spider veins. Common symptoms are pain, itching, a burning sensation and swelling.
  • Stage 6: Be aware of skin changes. Bleeding and fluid buildup caused by damaged veins can affect the skin’s color. Progressive skin changes can lead to leg ulcers. Symptoms include pain, hardening of the skin and skin color changes.
  • Stage 7: Watch for leg ulcers. This stage produces a wound on the leg or ankle caused by abnormal or damaged veins, leading to venous hypertension and a breakdown of the tissue.

There are three easy steps to receiving great results. First, schedule your consultation. Scheduling your first appointment is easy. Contact us today for a free screening.

Second, talk through health insurance benefits with one of our insurance experts. After receiving your approval letter, we will reach out to you about financial planning.

Lastly, get your vein treatment scheduled. Leading-edge, minimally invasive treatment options are performed in our state-of-the-art facility by Dr. Rimas Gilvydis. We provide quick, convenient in-office treatment with excellent results that require little-to-no downtime.

As a reminder, you can reach out to us anytime for more information about vein disease and to request a screening. Don’t hesitate to also ask your existing health care team – a nurse, family doctor or podiatrist – about vein disease and be honest and open about your symptoms.

Image Credit: Getty/ChesiireCat

Ask Your Podiatrist about Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a common condition, affecting up to 35% of the U.S. population by some estimates. That shared experience means people seek us out here at Gilvydis Vein Clinic in a variety of ways.

Individuals can contact us directly for a screening or consultation if they’re experiencing symptoms of vein disease. Those symptoms include burning, itchiness, and achiness in the legs, or visible/unsightly varicose and spider veins.

Many patients also are referred to us by their primary care or family practice doctors, which is why we work with many Geneva- and Sycamore-area hospitals and health systems to educate physicians about the progression of vein disease and what that looks like.

Another specialty that’s often familiar with vein disease is podiatry. A podiatrist is a physician or surgeon who treats the foot, ankle, and other parts of the leg.

Because podiatrists already observe and treat the feet and legs, they can also refer individuals to us for further consultation and treatment. That means if you talk to them about your symptoms and they understand and recognize vein disease, you can then come to us directly for an ultrasound and to determine the next steps for treatment.

Signs that vein disease may have progressed include if you have ulcers on your legs that aren’t healing or reappear. Doctors will sometimes close or repair these ulcers and then they come back, which could be a sign of venous hypertension/insufficiency. That means the valves that help blood flow through the legs aren’t functioning properly.

Progressive vein disease also could look like darker clusters of varicose or spider veins along the inside of the ankles with associated symptoms of itching or burning, or if the skin feels leathery.

Here’s what we strive to do when educating podiatrists and other physicians (as well as patients):

  • Identify the symptoms of varicose veins.
  • Recognize the progression of vein disease, which will worsen over time if left untreated.
  • Explain that minimally invasive treatment is available and effective (long-gone are the days of painful vein-stripping procedures you may have heard about from your mother or grandmother).
  • Make an appropriate referral to a board-certified vein expert like Rimas Gilvydis at Gilvydis Vein Clinic.

As a reminder, you can reach out to us anytime for more information about vein disease and to request a screening. Don’t hesitate to also ask your existing health care team – a nurse, family doctor or podiatrist – about varicose veins and be honest and open about your symptoms.

Image Credit: Getty/wutwhanfoto

Do You Know Skin Conditions can be Linked to Varicose Veins?

When most people think about varicose veins, they picture bulging purple or blue veins in their legs. In addition to being unsightly, they also cause pain, burning, cramping, swelling, and a heavy, achy feeling. But did you know vein disease can also affect your skin?

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when your veins have difficulty sending blood from your limbs back to your heart. As a result, blood collects in the legs and ankles, leading to inflammation, swelling, and skin changes. Read on for some examples of skin conditions that can be related to varicose veins.

Venous Eczema (also known as stasis dermatitis): An inflammatory skin disease occurring on the lower legs because of fluid buildup, this condition typically affects the ankles and shins, causing them to become red or brown as fluid accumulates in the tissues. The skin may become thick, itchy, flaky, ulcerated, discolored or prone to bleeding. Left untreated, it can lead to skin infections and chronic leg ulcers.

Psoriasis: Most people don’t think of vein issues and psoriasis in the same sentence, but a study by the National Institutes of Health found a link between psoriasis and blood vessel inflammation. A chronic skin disease, psoriasis is characterized by red, flaky patches on the skin, primarily the elbows, knees, scalp, face, lower back, palms and soles of feet.

Venous Ulcers: It may begin with a simple discoloration on the inside of the leg just above the ankle – a simple bruise or broken skin, possibly accompanied by pain, itching or swelling. For most people, the problem clears up within a couple weeks, but when someone suffers from vein disease, the wound often never heals. It may increase in size, becoming a painful, raw, shallow wound that produces a foul-smelling discharge. A secondary condition associated with venous ulcers is contact allergic eczema, which is caused by medications applied to the skin, such as steroids, topical antibiotics, and lanolin, along with preservatives present in various preparations.

Treating your chronic venous insufficiency through noninvasive procedures like endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) or sclerotherapy will not only eliminate your gnarled, twisted leg veins, but will help heal these skin conditions and prevent them from coming back. Contact us today for a free screening and get back to loving your skin.

Leg Vein Issues Are A Guy Thing, Too!

When you hear about varicose veins, what comes to mind? Your mother? Grandmother? Wife? If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Leg vein problems are typically thought to be a women’s issue, but in reality, the condition affects the genders nearly equally. At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, 45% of our patient base is male, with a wide variety of ages represented.

People usually think of varicose veins as a purely cosmetic issue, but they cause far more troubles than the gnarled, bulging veins we typically associate with vein disease. Leg vein disease often causes pain, swelling, heaviness, and throbbing that make everyday activities difficult. Left untreated, it can progress to cellulitis, scar tissue, ulcers, bleeding, blood clots, and even deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition.

Varicose veins develop for a variety of reasons, including family history of the condition. Other contributing factors include prolonged sitting or standing, which negatively impacts blood flow, along with smoking, consuming too much sodium, and being overweight. While young people are certainly susceptible to vein disease, the risk increases with age because of the loss of tissue tone and muscle mass, along with a weakening of the venous walls.

There are several steps you can take to help alleviate the discomfort of varicose veins, such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating more fiber
  • Consuming more vitamin C
  • Drinking more water
  • Watching your salt intake
  • Eating foods rich in rutin, a flavonoid found in asparagus, berries, figs, and other produce

Exercise also helps, especially biking and walking. Elevate your legs when resting and avoid crossing your legs while sitting. Compression socks or stockings may also provide some relief.

While these tactics are helpful, the only way to rid yourself of varicose veins – and the associated health risks – is to undergo treatment. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since the days of vein stripping and other scary-sounding procedures. At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, our minimally invasive treatments such as endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy are highly effective and covered by most insurance plans. There’s no scarring and recovery time is minimal, with many patients returning to their normal activities the same day.

June is a busy month for the guys – it’s Men’s Health Month and Father’s Day is June 21. Guys, remember – don’t ignore your symptoms that could be related to vein disease. And ladies, think about all the important men in your life and encourage them to get the treatment they deserve – especially if they’ve been complaining about pain and other symptoms.

Stop letting painful, swollen legs slow you down. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and read more about other men who’ve taken steps to treat their varicose veins.

Compression Therapy Improves Leg Vein Health

Treatment for varicose veins and other leg vein conditions has improved dramatically in recent years, resulting in minimally invasive procedures that offer less pain and minimal downtime.

Conservative therapy is an important part of the treatment timeline that comes before procedures such as sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation. Insurance companies require conservative therapy to be completed as the first stage of treatment. That means wearing prescription-strength compression stockings for an average of six to 12 weeks.

Compression stockings can help alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins. They support and stabilize the legs, improving circulation and preventing excess fluid from accumulating. This helps get blood and fluid back to the heart rather than pool in the legs and cause related issues such as pain and fatigue, redness, and swelling. Untreated vein issues can lead to further complications such as blood clots or deep vein thrombosis.

While prescription-strength compression stockings are used during treatment, over-the-counter compression socks are a great investment for everyday use to help keep your legs healthy and promote good circulation. This is especially true if your job requires long periods of either sitting or standing. Fitness enthusiasts such as runners also find benefits in wearing compression socks to aid with circulation.

Whether you’re wearing compression stockings for treatment or compression socks to be proactive and maintain good leg vein health, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Wear stockings/socks as advised. Prescription compression stockings are fit just for you, with specifics related to height and strength. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on everyday compression socks.
  • The fit should be tight and snug but not painful.
  • Make sure your skin is dry before putting them on. Wait long enough after a shower and after applying lotion.
  • If you experience any redness or skin irritation, your stockings/socks might not fit right. Be sure to report any unusual reactions to your doctor.
  • The compression in stockings/socks is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg. Mild-to-medium compression socks range from 8 mmHg to 15mmHg. Prescription-strength stockings tend to measure at least 40 mmHg.
  • Wearing compression stockings and socks during the day. They can be worn overnight, but typically there is not a need to do so, as legs are elevated during sleep (removing the gravity issue).

Our team at Gilvydis Vein Clinic is here for all your treatment questions, from screening to consultation to treatment. If you have questions about compression therapy or want to get started with that stage of treatment, contact us online or call us at 815-981-4742.

circulation

Get On Your Feet

With shelter in place in Illinois heading into its second month, it’s important to stop and think about how your health may be affected by the restrictions.

Whether you have been binging Netflix shows, trying to finish a 1,000-piece puzzle, or getting lost in a novel, sitting for long periods of time increases the risk for chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Varicose veins are another medical condition that can develop when veins no longer sufficiently send blood from the legs back to the heart. Our veins have valves that enable the blood to flow forward toward the heart, but those valves can become damaged and weakened over time.

Damaged and weakened valves result in blood pooling in the legs and sitting too long helps gravity push that blood further down in the body. That’s when we increase our risks for serious, life-threatening conditions such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

As the spring weather turns warmer, there isn’t a better time than now to start getting on your feet every day. Keeping your blood flowing and circulating well is important for your health. You don’t have to participate in rigorous exercise every day. Movement of any kind will make an impact on leg vein health. Below are some ideas to get you started:

  • Prop your feet up on a footrest or stool to help elevate your legs throughout the day.
  • Stand up and do some calf raises (stand on your tiptoes, release and repeat) or try a few squats.
  • Take a 30-minute walk (or run) every day. This can help boost circulation and allow your veins to function properly.
  • Participate in an activity such as yoga. There are many great instruction videos available online (check YouTube or your cable provide might have yoga and other fitness resources on demand).
  • Take a bike ride with your family. This is a lower-impact activity that can improve leg health.

If you’re concerned about painful, achy legs, call us anytime or click here to schedule a virtual consultation or in office screening. You can also hear directly from patients about how our minimally invasive treatments helped their leg pain caused by too much standing and sitting on the job.

Gilvydis Vein Clinic Launches Telehealth Services

Vein disease is progressive and does not stop for a pandemic.

Gilvydis Vein Clinic is offering virtual evaluations that can be done from the comfort of your home or office. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, a virtual visit might be for you:

  • Leg pain, aches or cramps
  • Throbbing
  • Itching
  • Heaviness in your legs
  • Burning, swollen legs or ankles
  • Restless legs
  • Discoloration in your legs, ankles or feet

During our virtual appointments, you will meet with a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant who will answer your questions and discuss your medical history, vein disease, and treatment options. Our provider will do an evaluation of your lower extremities and leg symptoms. Our provider also will discuss prescription compression stockings.

After scheduling the virtual consultation appointment, you will receive an email with your appointment details and the instructions to access the telehealth visit. You can use a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Appointments are secure and HIPAA compliant and can be scheduled by calling 815-981-4742.

Untreated vein disease can affect the quality of your life and limit your active lifestyle. Don’t wait to speak to someone about your symptoms. Our virtual visits will help you determine what – if any – next steps need to happen so you can experience less downtime and more time doing what you love.

evla

Get Your Legs Spring-Ready!

Even before winter releases its icy grasp, our minds shift to spring. We begin dreaming of days at the park, lazy afternoons lounging around the pool, and evenings spent firing up the barbecue. Retailers stock their shelves with shorts, tops, sundresses, swimsuits and sandals. While most of us look forward to the warmer months, those who suffer with vein disease are often filled with a sense of dread. Bulging veins and leg ulcers make wearing the fashions of the season an embarrassing affair, leading many to swelter in long pants all spring and summer. The pain and swelling of vein disease also makes it difficult to enjoy warm weather activities, like softball, hiking, bicycling or swimming. Even a simple stroll around the neighborhood may be too painful to bear.

At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, we offer a variety of minimally-invasive treatments, like Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), which uses a laser catheter to close off bad veins, which then redirects blood to healthy veins. There’s no scarring and recovery time is minimal, with many patients returning to their normal activities the same day. In addition to getting rid of ugly, gnarled veins, EVLA eliminates the pain and swelling, giving patients healthier, lighter, younger feeling legs.

During your initial consultation, we’ll talk about your vein-related symptoms, along with your medical history, including what medications you take, past or present diagnoses, any prior medical procedures you’ve had, and whether your parents had varicose veins. If we determine any tests are necessary, rest assured they will be painless and noninvasive. Wear comfortable clothes, as you may undergo an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create an image. Don’t forget your ID and be sure to bring your insurance card, as our treatments are covered by nearly all plans. We can also help you navigate insurance so you can get the help you need. You can save time by completing your paperwork in advance or simply arrive 15 minutes early to fill it out in the comfort of our office.

With spring just around the corner – and summer waiting in the wings – why wait any longer to address your vein health issues? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and we’ll help you get your legs spring-ready, so you can enjoy everything the warmer months have to offer.