Archive for August, 2011

Varicose and Spider Veins – What Are Your Options?

As I am writing this, I am on a cross-country plane trip from Seattle to New York. I do quite a bit of traveling, both regionally and internationally and have found that over the last several years, by the end of the flight, my legs often swell and feel heavy. Having just faced another birthday, I started noticing areas of large and small blue veins, as well as brown-pigmented regions developing in and around the areas of discomfort. All those years of standing on my feet for hours on end in the operating room, repeated superficial injuries from activities and sports, and the history of varicose veins that runs in my family, all spell venous disease. Sound familiar? What I am describing are the conditions referred to as venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

So, let’s start with some of the basics. What are veins? Veins, by definition, are the circuit that returns blood in the direction of the heart. It is the path thru which oxygen deficient blood is brought back to the heart and directed to the lungs in order to off-load waste and start over again. Veins, operating at lower pressure, have less muscle tissue within their walls. Venous flow is also much slower than arterial and varies in a to and fro fashion affected by one’s breathing. Veins also have a series of one-way directional valves that promote flow towards the heart while preventing flow away from the heart. This is especially important in the legs where blood basically has to flow uphill and against gravity in order to return to the heart.

Vein valve damage leads to a condition referred to as venous insufficiency (a malfunction of the efficient return of blood through the venous system). As valves fail, a larger column of blood falls onto the next intact valve, which then obstructs the backward flow of blood as it is designed to do. In halting the abnormal flow, the added weight from above causes dilation of the surrounding vein segment (like filling up a water balloon) which progressively stretches the support mechanism for the underlying valve. Stretching the valve support pulls the valve leaflets apart from each other. If the valve cusps no longer meet, this allows blood to leak through the valve. This process continues until the valve fails completely and an even larger column of blood puts greater pressure on the next lower valve. Over time, this process continues until all of the vein valves are damaged.

In the vein system near the skin, valve failure leads to greater pressure being transmitted throughout the superficial veins. Since the superficial veins are just under the skin, they become more visible as they become pressurized. These dilated superficial veins are known as varicose veins.

The evaluation of varicose veins begins with a clinical examination and documentation of the associated symptoms and areas of dilated veins. Since the vast majority of varicose veins are the result of underlying venous insufficiency, non-invasive evaluation with ultrasound is an important step in evaluating the presence of upstream obstruction, patterns of normal and reversed blood flow, and overall valve function. Proper varicose vein treatment really means treating the entire path of abnormal venous pressure from beginning to end.

Treatment for varicose veins is primarily concerned with improving or eliminating symptoms, or improving the cosmetic appearance of the affected area.

Compression Stockings

Compression stockings are really what the term implies: tight stockings which provide external compression to the legs. The idea behind compression stockings is that application of external compression will force blood out of the dilated veins, fluid out of the surrounding tissue, and resist further accumulation from happening. As you might imagine, reducing the fluid pressure within the leg will help reduce swelling and should reduce symptoms associated with venous insufficiency. The issue most individuals have with compression stockings is that they are a temporizing measure; addressing symptomatic relief rather than curing the underlying condition.

Direct Treatment

Direct treatment options are primarily dictated by the size and extent of the affected veins.

  • For veins that are >4 mm in diameter, cluster removal using very small 2-3mm incisions (ambulatory phlebectomy) is the treatment of choice.
  • For veins less than 4mm in diameter, injection sclerotherapy is recommended.
  • For intradermal spider veins, telangiectasias that are less than 1mm in diameter, and those which persist after previous treatment, laser or light treatments are recommended.

Laser or Radiofrequency Treatment

Over the last several years, newer techniques have evolved as a substitute for vein stripping. Laser or radio-frequency ablation procedures are used to obliterate the insufficient vein channel without removing it from the body. For laser ablation, a laser fiber is inserted in the vein (just like the vein stripper) and advanced up to the groin. The laser is turned on and the fiber pulled slowly through the vein. As the laser fiber moves through the vein, the heat energy causes it to “scar” and eliminates the abnormal flow channel. The advantages of ablation techniques are less bleeding and bruising, and faster patient recovery.

Trust Your Doctor: Signs That You May Want to Reconsider

Many Type 2 diabetics have sworn off Western medicine in favor of natural diabetes treatments that work better than most traditional prescription drugs. While this may be a bit extreme, it does speak to the fact that many Type 2 diabetics are largely frustrated with the “care” they receive from doctors. For the most part, diabetics just want to be healthy like everyone else. Unfortunately, most doctors aren’t delivering their promise to provide the best care possible.

A new report out of Canada confirms that doctor’s “best practice” is often what they feel like doing. In this report, new guidelines were given to Canadian doctors to explicitly tell them to look at abdominal fat and physical activity when treating their diabetic patients. These guidelines published in the April 2011 Canadian Journal of Cardiology, doesn’t contain anything groundbreaking… which is why it should be alarming to all Type 2 diabetics.

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Abdominal fat and exercise are two factors intimately linked with blood sugar level control. Yet researchers felt compelled to publish research that literally told doctors to rethink what they were doing. In fact, the study author, University of Toronto Physician Laurence Leiter, reports that these two simple things are more important than what most doctors pay attention to.

Is this reason to completely abandon your doctor’s advice and set out alone? Of course not. Anti-glycemic medications and injectable insulin are important stepping stones to help diabetics get naturally healthy again. The problem with these approaches is that they create a culture of reliance where lifestyle is completely taken out of the picture. It takes a massive wake up call from reports like this to get doctors to understand that there’s more to diabetes management than prescribing a pill.

Here’s how you can become a more proactive patient and get better care at the doctor’s office:

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  • Speak Up: Many diabetics sheepishly accept everything their doctor tells them. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to explain, or to politely turn their advice down.
  • Bring In Questions: Remember, you paid for your doctor’s visit (and it probably wasn’t cheap!). If you’re wondering what that new study about the diabetes medication means to you, bring in the article to your doctor to get his or her feedback.
  • Get Complemented: Western and alternative medicine don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can still follow doctor’s orders and try natural diabetes treatments, such as herbs, vitamins, acupuncture and several other forms of complementary medicine. There is no doubt that some of them may be able to lower your blood sugar levels.

Diabetes Mellitus

About 50 % of people with diabetes do not understand that they have this long-term illness which makes it crucial to timetable an appointment periodically to decide whether or not you have the illness or not and then establish the program of motion to handle and even heal all by yourself of diabetes primarily if it is the result of poor life style possibilities.

As stated previously, controlling blood glucose levels is of paramount relevance to diabetics to guide in not only managing the condition but reversing diabetes indicators. The glucose cycle is affected by the entry of the glucose into the blood when food is transformed into glucose and by the elimination of this glucose and distribution to the cells. Glucose amounts will be taken care of at even amounts by adhering to a appropriate diabetic diet plan that may possibly include things like carbohydrate counting. Glucose primarily outcomes from carbohydrates in the diet program and appropriately managing carbs consumed is essential. Glucose ranges are also impacted by the level of activity that a man or woman engages in on a everyday basis.

Thoroughly managing glucose to make certain that you do not knowledge a spike or deficiency in glucose stages also usually requires the use of glucose meters on a everyday foundation as properly as medications that could be prescribed by your doctor.

Diabetes administration is a way by which each and every personal controls diabetes to steer clear of its more issues. Nonetheless, for it to be powerful, one particular requires to be up and executing. The initial point that must be founded is the point that one is actually dwelling with the disease as perfectly as the extent of damage this ailment has accomplished to the entire body. This will enable such a man or woman to know where to start from. Consequently, one demands to seek the advice of his health practitioner for medical related look at up in which several assessments will be carried out. It is the final result of the assessments staying done that will identify diabetes administration needed.

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Diabetes administration is not as straightforward as you might assume notably if you are the kind that are unable to continue to keep your eyes off junk and processed foods. Therefore, for helpful diabetes administration, you need to embrace healthful eating habits. Identified beneath are some other diabetes administration suggestions you can use to reduce oneself from diabetes.

1. The initial suggestion is that you will need to steer crystal clear of unhealthy eating and way of living. Individuals won’t be able to discipline themselves any lengthier as far as consuming routine is concerned. Unhealthy and junk foods should be prevented as substantially as doable. Some processed and quick meals are unhealthy and will need to be avoided.

2. Check out as significantly as possible to do work out repeatedly. Have and manage a regular doing exercises regime that will clean the cells and assists in the circulation of blood.

3. Try to eat more uncooked greens, beans and fruit. This will guide a great deal as they comprise vitamins, fiber and protective antioxidants which help to cut down the danger of heart disease and be sure healthier blood circulation.

4. Drink plenty of drinking water and other balanced liquids frequently. Nonetheless, sugary drinks have to be avoided due to the fact they can make blood glucose to rise extremely promptly and be difficult to manage.

Should A Diabetic Skip Meals?

All diabetics, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, are aware of the importance of making the right food choices. And eating the right foods makes all the difference in relation to the other important aspect of diabetes, blood sugar levels. But just picking the right foods isn’t enough. You have to have a schedule in place for when those meals will be eaten. The problem is some diabetics feel it is okay to skip a meal now and then. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

In a society where body image is everything, it is common practice for people to skip meals as a means of maintaining, or even attempting to lose, weight. Many people have the misconception missing a meal will allow them to remain healthier. After all, if you miss a meal, you won’t be consuming calories, and calories are evil, right?

While a non-diabetic might be able to get away with this type of logic without serious repercussions, it is a dangerous scenario for a diabetic.

  • The worst that can happen to a non-diabetic is they get really hungry.
  • The worst that can happen to a diabetic is hypoglycemic shock and possibly a coma. Not exactly the same thing.

Imagine a campfire: As long as it is fed an energy source of wood it remains bright and intense. It gives off its own energy… heat. But stop feeding the fire and eventually its intensity will dim; the heat will diminish and before long, it will go out altogether.

A diabetic’s body is just like the fire. As long as it is fed an energy source, which is food, then it will continue to burn efficiently. But when that fuel source is interrupted, such as skipping a meal, the body’s energy drops dramatically to a dangerously low-level.

If the fire goes out, you simply start it up again with more wood. But when a diabetic skips meals, their blood sugar levels plummet and puts them in such a state of physical deterioration, it makes it very difficult and sometimes even impossible, for them to correct the problem on their own. The longer they go without food the worse these symptoms become. This is a very dangerous situation for a diabetic to be put in. So why would they intentionally do this to themselves?

Skipping meals is no joke: It puts a tremendous strain on an already fragile part of your system. Even when it is not done intentionally, the results are still the same. That’s why it is important to always be prepared to have something on hand for a meal.

Another concern is the belief a skipped meal can be recovered: Not true. Once a meal is passed, it is gone forever. Trying to over-compensate with your next meal, in an attempt to make up for the missed one, will put your blood sugar on a roller coaster effect. First, your blood sugar will crash from lack of food, then it will skyrocket as you cram every morsel of food you can into your system at once. Remember the fire: feed it a constant supply.

Meal planning also includes snacking, too: These are necessary to maintain that steady sugar level in between meals. There will be days when it is time for a snack and you simply don’t feel hungry. Do not let your stomach dictate whether or not you have a snack. Your stomach is not in control of your blood sugar. Skip a meal or a scheduled snack and your blood sugar will remind you of that.

Remember to be prepared: Whether it is a meal or a snack, you need to always have the right foods on hand. This will eliminate the need, and the temptation, to go with an easy, unhealthy option.