There was a recent TV feature on Channel 9 Television about laser treatment of varicose veins being painless. Is this true? Pain is certainly minimal in comparison to surgery but people do experience some pain so saying its painless is not entirely true.  The measure of pain is subjective as each individual has different tolerance thresholds for pain.  

Prior to the Laser being turned on and withdrawn through the vein, Tumescent Anaesthetic needs to be injected along the entire length of the vein with a series of needles so that the vein becomes enveloped in an anaesthetic blanket.  These injections are relatively painless but they are not painLESS.

Once the anaesthetic is inserted you can be confident that the laser treatment is completely painLESS no matter what type of laser or frequency of laser is being used.  

Following treatment the anaesthetic takes several hours to wear off and this is when some discomfort might develop.  Any dull ache that might develop which normally would only last a few days can normally be managed with ibuprofen or paracetamol. 

With the use of the newer types of Lasers there is often minimal or next to no pain over the recovery period.  There has been a trend towards the use of lower frequency Lasers (1470nm) which specifically target water in the vein wall rather than the blood inside the vein. The lower power settings required for these new types of Lasers accounts for the significant reduction in post procedural pain. 

Posted
AuthorNicholas Kemp

Many people believe Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is only a risk when travelling by plane, however this is a myth! Developing DVT is just as much of a risk if you are travelling by car, and is most likely to occur by sitting for long periods of time (four or more hours). Which so many Australians do all the time when driving to visit interstate.  If you have already suffered from varicose veins your risk for developing DVT is heightened significantly, as varicose veins are a symptom of a malfunctioning or weak venous system.

What is DVT?

Deep Vein Thrombosis is the occurrence of a blood clot within the deep venous system, and is most common in the deeper veins of the lower leg. The condition can be severe as DVTs can spread to other veins and cause dysfunction or even life-threatening complications such as pulmonary embolism. Other complications can include post-thrombotic syndrome (where damage has occurred in deep veins and the blood pools instead of flows) and limb ischaemia – a rare condition that can cause high pressure in the lungs.

What are the symptoms of DVT?

Many DVT blood clots are so tiny they do not cause any damage or produce any symptoms, and your body is usually able to break down the clots without side-effects. However more serious and larger blood clots often:

  • Cause pain and discomfort
  • Cause leg or limb swelling
  • Cause pigmentation
  • Make your skin warm or hot to touch

If experiencing the above symptoms, it is recommended to see a qualified GP to ensure your vein health.

Can DVT be prevented?

There are several actions that can be done to proactively reduce the risk of developing DVT, these include:

  • Wearing compression stockings for long travels – these allow even blood flow and heighten circulation for a decreased risk of vein malfunction.
  • Taking regular 'walk breaks' whilst travelling (minimum every 2 hours).
  • If you have varicose veins, it is important to have an ultrasound examination prior to travel and if necessary having them treated as varicose veins heighten the risk of DVT.

Treating varicose veins

If you suffer from varicose veins, it is important to get them checked or treated (if necessary) prior to travelling for extensive periods of time.

Ultrasound is used to assess your varicose veins in much greater depth, depending on venous disease severity or complexity a number of techniques are available:

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation (ELA)
  •  Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS)
  • MicroSclerotherapy

Ensure your venous health before you take that holiday, a consultation is quick and easy but it could save you from developing Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Posted
AuthorNicholas Kemp

Hot flushes, changes in mood and night sweats are just some of the well known unpleasant symptoms associated with the onset of menopause. There are also many other lesser known  or common symptoms during this stage of life, including varicose veins.

Varicose veins can affect both men and women, however, women are more highly at risk as a result of fluctuations in hormones.  

There are many hormonal changes which evolve during menopause, one of these being the natural decline of the production of oestrogen and progesterone by the ovaries. There are also increased levels of two hormones of the pituitary gland – luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone - that usually stimulate estrogen production by the ovaries in the pre-menopausal years. Other tissues in a menopausal woman’s body continue to produce estrogen, and the adrenal glands make some progesterone, but the overall levels of the two hormones become much lower during and after menopause. This brings on the familiar symptoms of hot flashes, loss of bone density and otherwise unexplained episodes of fatigue or depression.

Less well known is the fact that estrogen and progesterone have positive effects on all of the circulatory system, not just the heart. It is these hormonal fluctuations which can result in the relaxation of your vein walls and may eventually lead to varicose veins. When your vein walls relax, there is less force moving your blood back to your heart from your extremities, and if your blood starts to pool downwards, this can lead to backpressure that can cause varicose veins.

Further to this, your metabolism slows down during menopause, weight gain easier. This excess weight is said to be closely associated with an enhanced risk of vein disease as it places additional pressure on veins.

Prevention is always better than cure, it is important to understand how varicose veins develop and how they can be prevented during menopause. It is essential for all women be aware of their cardiovascular health when reaching menopausal age in order prevent or even avoid varicose veins and any other potential complications arising from other circulatory related conditions.

What can be done to reduce the risk of varicose veins during menopause?

Though, there is no guaranteed way of preventing this disease, lifestyle changes are usually the first treatment for varicose veins. These include:

  • Possibly the most powerful preventative is regular exercise for the legs – walking, running, biking and swimming all stimulate circulation in the legs. Good circulation is key to preventing the pooling of blood in veins that causes them to become varicose.
  • Avoiding sitting or standing for prolonged periods. When sitting, avoid sitting cross legged. Likewise, where possible keep legs raised when sitting, resting, or sleeping.
  • Try to lose excess weight by sticking to a regular exercise routine. This will assist in improving blood flow, and ease the pressure off veins aiding blood flow out of the legs and back to the heart. Getting your legs moving will improve muscle tone, therefore helping the movement of blood through the veins.
  • When possible avoid high heels, wear lower heeled shoes as this can help tone the calf muscles. However, if you really have to wear high heels, avoid wearing them for long periods of standing.

While menopause can increase your risk for developing varicose veins, this doesn’t mean you are fated to have them. Just follow the tips to help you prevent or treat your varicose veins.

 

Posted
AuthorNicholas Kemp

Queenslanders love summer, it's what we're famous for, but for those living with varicose veins or venous insufficiency the sunny warm months can be three months of nightmares by bringing extra discomfort or self consciousness. Varicose veins can prevent us from enjoying the months when bare legs and trips to the beach are common. Here’s what you need to know about varicose veins during the summer.

Excessive heat expands veins

Frequent exposure to high temperatures can dilate the veins, allowing for more blood to pool, thus causing them to expand or bulge, placing more stress on valves in the veins. Staying cool is the best way to prevent this from happening. Cooling exercises (like swimming or indoor yoga) can help promote blood circulation without exposure to excessive heat.

The sun can agitate varicose veins

While the sun may not cause varicose or spider veins, it can certainly exacerbate them. UV rays weaken the skin’s upper layers, depleting moisture. As a result, the skin can lose some elasticity or ability to move – which may aggravate weak veins. If you have varicose vein symptoms, avoid excessive exposure to the sun or tanning beds, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated!

Don’t let venus problems derail your ruin plans—follow these tips for a happy, healthy, vein-pain-free summer.

  • Stay Cool. If you have vein problems of any kind, it’s a good idea to keep your body as cool as possible during the summer. Make sure you wear clothes that aren't going to have you burning up in the summer heat and think about hitting the water to cool down if you plan to be outside for a prolonged period of time.
     
  • Exercise to keep the blood circulating. In addition to offering great respite from the summer heat, swimming is one of the best ways to promote normal circulation and keep blood vessels from dilating. A low-impact exercise that saves you joint and leg muscle pain while increasing your heart rate, swimming pumps the muscles of the lower and upper body to improve circulation to the heart and lungs. Not near a pool or the beach? Keep moving by taking an evening walk around our beautiful city - the walkways along the river and around Kangaroo Point and the Story Bridge are really enjoyable this time of year.
     
  • Keep hydrated! Keeping your body properly hydrated will help it effectively circulate blood, heal injuries faster and allow for healthier skin. Anyone with vein problems should pay close attention to their hydration levels during the summer, when the heat can easily dry anyone out. If you plan on being outside, take a water bottle everywhere.
     
  • Flatten out for summer! Opt for summery flats and sandals rather than high heels that keep your calf muscles from effectively pumping blood out of the leg. There’s a major beauty and fitness plus to this one – wearing lower heels makes your calves work a little harder, keeping them curvy and strong!
     
  • Remember the basics. We've been hearing it for years, but always remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP - especially in the summer months! Slather on the sun block and high SPF moisturisers, not just on your legs, but also on your face and nose, where thinner skin is more prone to developing spider veins, and cover up or seek shade if you’ll be outside for long periods of time.
Posted
AuthorNicholas Kemp

Are you not coming for treatment of your spider veins because you are afraid of needles or pain? The Leg Vein Doctor in Brisbane and Toowoomba can help reassure you that treatment may not be as scary as you think. 

Posted
AuthorNicholas Kemp