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.

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.

Insurance can help to cover vein treatment

Eliminating Health Insurance Confusion

Varicose veins, spider veins and other conditions cause tremendous suffering for people from all walks of life. Women and men, old and young, active and sedentary – no one is immune from vein disease. Sadly, many people don’t seek relief from these issues because they don’t realize vein treatment is typically covered by insurance. Often, that’s because they falsely believe vein disease is merely cosmetic, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Those bulging, gnarled veins are caused by venous stasis, a condition in which old, stagnant blood pools in the legs. They can be the sign of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a serious disorder, which can progress to cellulitis, scar tissue, ulcers, bleeding, blood clots, and even deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition.

At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, we accept insurance from most major providers and Medicare. Our effective, minimally invasive treatments such as endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy are covered by nearly all plans. Just because a procedure is covered, though, that doesn’t eliminate the headaches and hassles of dealing with an insurance provider.

Navigating insurance coverage can be confusing, leaving you overwhelmed and frustrated. Don’t let that keep you from getting the treatment you need for those aching, swollen legs. Our team has the knowledge and expertise to help you obtain insurance authorization and certification. We’ll work with your insurance company to eliminate any barriers that might prevent you from getting screened and charting a path to happier, healthier legs.

Isn’t it time you sought treatment for those unsightly, painful legs? Contact us to schedule a free consultation and let us help you navigate the complicated insurance landscape, so you can focus on getting back to your favorite activities. More active time, less downtime.

Healthy Legs without Varicose and Spider Veins

Treat yourself to healthy legs this holiday season

The holidays are a time of giving, spending time with family and friends, and preparing for a New Year.
Taking care of yourself and treating yourself to better leg vein health should also be on the to-do list this season.

It’s understandable that the busyness of the holidays means commitments such as health screenings and doctor appointments get put on the backburner. Here are a few reasons to keep them top of mind this month and heading into 2020.

Symptoms don’t need to persist

Common vein diseases include varicose veins, spider veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a pulmonary embolism and chronic venous insufficiency.

Vein disease is progressive and if left untreated can develop into potentially life-threatening complications such as blood clots.

Let’s take a step back, though, and talk about symptoms. You might not know you have one of these conditions, but consider these symptoms:

  • Bulging veins that are excessively visible
  • Heavy feeling in the legs
  • Calf pain and cramping
  • Discolored skin
  • Fatigue
  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Itching
  • Restlessness of the legs

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, they could be the result of leg vein issues. A simple first step is to call us to schedule a free screening or request an appointment online.

Veins issues aren’t just cosmetic

One of the most common concerns we hear is that treatment for issues such as varicose veins won’t be covered by insurance. Our team will help you eliminate insurance barriers by assisting with insurance authorization and certification.

Treatments such as endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy procedures for varicose veins are covered by almost all plans. We also offer procedures for cosmetic purposes that are typically not covered, though we have third-party financing options available.

As we noted, vein disease should be taken seriously and treatment works. There’s no need to be embarrassed about the appearance of varicose veins, to cover them up, or to put up with the discomfort from pain, swelling and other symptoms.

Treat yourself to healthy legs this holiday and instill confidence, eliminate downtime and improve your overall health.

Insurance can help to cover vein treatment

Lean on insurance to cover vein treatment

Navigating health insurance can feel confusing and overwhelming, to the point that we get discouraged from seeking or scheduling care for important issues.

Conditions such as varicose veins cause pain and discomfort, but, more importantly, these issues – if left untreated – can develop into more serious medical problems (such as life-threatening blood clots). That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about leg vein health today.

At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, we accept insurance from most major providers and Medicare. Consultations and treatments are typically covered by insurance, as the conditions we treat are not just cosmetic issues.

We help with insurance

Whether you come to us by way of a free screening or a referral from your doctor, our team will help you with insurance authorization and certification. It’s our way of eliminating any barriers that might exist to getting you screened and developing a treatment plan.

Treatments such as endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy procedures for varicose veins are covered by almost all plans. We also offer procedures for cosmetic purposes that are typically not covered, though we have third-party financing options available.

Now that it’s fall, you may have already met your insurance deductible for the year and might have lower out-of-pocket costs for treatment.

Act on your symptoms

As previously mentioned, vein disease is progressive and can lead to more serious health issues. It’s important to be mindful of and talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing some of these common symptoms:

  • Visible, bulging veins in the legs
  • Heavy-feeling legs
  • Calf pain and cramping
  • Discolored skin
  • Aching, burning, itchy or tired legs

Contact us if you have questions about vein issues, treatments or insurance. Let us help you navigate insurance so you can enjoy more active time and less downtime.