Veins vs. Arteries: What’s the Difference?

Your veins and arteries carry blood to and from your heart to the rest of your body. Without them, your body would not be able to function. They help provide essential nutrients and oxygen to your organs and tissues while carrying away waste. While they work together to keep your body working well, there are a few significant differences between the two.

Differences between veins and arteries

Both veins and arteries are blood vessels, however, there are important differences between how they work and what they do.

Arteries

All blood vessels leading from the heart are called arteries. Arteries are attached directly to the heart and are in charge of taking oxygenated blood (pure blood) away from the heart to fuel the tissues throughout the body. This is true for all arteries except the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood back from the lungs. Arteries have thick, elastic, muscular walls and do not contain valves, largely because most blood flows downward with the pull of gravity. They are also located deeper in the skin, which helps prevent a loss of oxygen through the skin’s surface.

Veins

The blood vessels that carry blood from various parts of the body and organs are called veins. All veins, except the pulmonary vein, carry deoxygenated blood (impure blood). By contrast to arteries, veins are thinner and contain valves. The valves are critical for preventing the backflow of blood, which can lead to varicose veins, vein disease or other vein conditions.

If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of vein disease, contact Total Vein Care at 877-679-4171 to schedule an annual or semi-annual vein screening. We will treat your painful, unsightly, leg veins quickly and effectively so you can get back to enjoying your life.

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Dr. Olinde featured in Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge

Vascular surgeon Andrew Olinde, MD, was named Chief Medical Officer at Baton Rouge General in December. In this role, Dr. Olinde is responsible for building positive relationships with the physician community and representing the General publicly on medical topics. In addition, he continues to see patients at the Vascular Specialty Center located on the General’s Bluebonnet campus.

Read the Complete Article >>>

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Symptoms of Vein Disease You Shouldn’t Ignore

Every beat of your heart sends blood through a complex system of large and small blood vessels called the circulatory system. Healthy veins are essential for maintaining proper blood circulation throughout your body and keeping your heart, lungs and kidneys is good working order. When your veins become weakened or compromised, you’re at risk of heart disease, heart attack, or a number of other potentially life-threatening conditions if you don’t seek vein treatment. Knowing the symptoms of vein disease will help you know when it’s time to see a vein specialist.

Many people believe spider veins or varicose veins are mostly a cosmetic issue, however, they can have serious negative effects on your health. If you suffer from vein problems, the doctors at Total Vein Care want to remind you that it’s important to get a vein screening every 6 to 12 months.

Signs and symptoms of vein disease

Please contact us so you can get proper medical treatment the moment you begin to experience any of these signs or symptoms of vein disease:

  • Weak or heavy feeling in the legs
  • Swelling or cramping in the lower legs or ankles
  • Aching or throbbing legs
  • Itchy, dry skin near affected veins
  • Leg cramps
  • Varicose or spider veins
  • Leg ulcers
  • Skin discoloration near affected veins

If you experience sudden swelling in your lower legs or ankles, seek immediate medical attention. This could indicate that a blood clot has developed in your leg.

Complications of vein disease

Here is a list of possible complications that occur as a result of untreated vein disease:

  • Bleeding
    Diseased veins located near the surface of the skin are prone to bleeding. Once this happens, it increases your risk of bleeding in the future. If you experience any bleeding from spider or varicose veins, be sure to seek medical attention.
  • Ulcers
    Diseased veins are at risk of having a higher blood pressure than normal. Over time, fluid may build up as a result and cause extremely painful ulcers near the ankles.
  • Blood clots
    Any sudden swelling in the leg needs to be examined by a medical professional immediately because it could mean a blood clot has formed. Once a blood clot is present in your vein, you are at risk of heart attack or stroke.

If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of vein disease, contact Total Vein Care at 877-679-4171 to schedule an annual or semi-annual vein screening. Regular vein screenings are important for preventing vein disease or complications associated with poor vein health. At Total Vein Care, we will treat your painful, unsightly, leg veins quickly and effectively so you can get back to living your life.

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Diagnosing Vein Disease

If your primary care physician believes you are at risk for vein disease he may refer you to a vascular specialist. The vascular specialists at Total Vein Care can evaluate your known (and unknown) vein issues, and recommend the best treatment.

How is vein disease diagnosed?

When you share your concerns about your vein health with a vascular specialist, he will do a physical examination to check for any visible signs of vein disease. For example, he will check your legs, arms, and neck for swelling. Preliminary steps for diagnosing vein disease may also include a series of questions about your family history. Additionally, your doctor may want a detailed description of any aches or pains you are experiencing, particularly in your legs.

After your initial consultation and physical exam with one of our highly credentialed vascular specialists, we use an advanced duplex color ultrasound-imaging tool to determine the extent of your vein problems.

This testing is performed onsite at our Vascular Specialty Laboratory – one of the first accredited vascular laboratories in the country. Our experienced and certified vascular technologists perform all tests using state-of-the-art equipment.

While the test provides sophisticated information, it is simple and painless for you. The test requires no special preparation on your part, and it only takes about an hour to perform.

You may be familiar with ultrasound technology, which is a noninvasive diagnostic tool that uses high frequency sound waves to produce an image on a screen. Duplex color ultrasound is a more advanced form of ultrasound technology. It produces color-coded images to show our surgeons where your blood flow is severely blocked or where vein valves don’t close properly, this issue is also known as venous insufficiency. Determining which valves are insufficient is vital for planning effective treatment.

Duplex color ultrasound combines:

  • conventional imaging information to show the structure of your blood vessels, and
  • information on blood flow through your veins.

To properly treat many vein issues, we must first have an accurate diagnosis so that we can get to the root of the problem.

If you’re ready to find out the status of your vein health, contact us at 907-885-0390 to schedule a vascular ultrasound today.

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How You Can Keep Your Veins Healthy

The veins and arteries are the super highways of the circulatory system. The arteries carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the tissues and organs, and the veins return the blood back to the heart. Healthy, free-flowing veins are vital to circulatory health, and can help you avoid conditions such as:

  • Phlebitis (inflammation of the veins)
  • Blood clots or any obstruction to blood flow in the veins
  • Varicose veins and spider veins

Live a healthy-vein life

By adopting a vein-healthy routine, you can improve circulation and muscle tone, which can lower your risk of developing vein disease and varicose veins. Here are few things you can do to help improve vein health:

  • Elevate the legs – When possible, raise your feet higher than your heart to reduce blood pooling and pressure in your legs.
  • Exercise daily – Moderate walking, climbing stairs, cycling and swimming engages your calf muscles. This reduces pooling and pressure in the veins and can prevent or slow the progression of varicose veins.
  • Be a savvy traveler – During long car or plane trips, activate your calf muscles by flexing your ankles periodically to pump the blood through your legs. On the road, be sure to stop for short walks every few hours.
  • Stay cool – Try to avoid hot tubs and hot baths. Heat tends to increase vein distention and lead to more pooling of blood.
  • Avoid smoking – Nicotine from smoking and carbon monoxide from second-hand smoke damages an important layer of cells inside the veins, allowing fats and plaque to stick to vein walls and impede blood flow.
  • Use sunscreen – Apply it to the areas you have varicose veins. This helps prevent exposure to ultraviolet rays, which have been linked to the exacerbation of vein disease.
  • Lose excess weight – Excess weight can put pressure on your lower body; increasing the risk of developing varicose veins, or making existing ones worse. Losing weight can help improve your circulation and relieve vein pressure.
  • Eat your veggies – Studies show that foods high in fiber, such as vegetables and fruits, can help protect the arteries and veins by improving circulation and reducing constipation.

Vitamins for vein health

The vitamins below have been shown to be beneficial to vein health:

  • Vitamin C 500 milligrams per day can help build collagen and elastin, which also support healthy skin and blood vessels.
  • Vitamin E – Essential for blood vessel health, vitamin E helps prevent certain proteins from forming clots in the veins.
  • Vitamin B3Also known as niacin, vitamin B3 contributes to balancing cholesterol levels within the veins, which ultimately helps blood move smoothly.

Trusted vein care in Baton Rouge

Healthy veins help you look and feel good. If you’re concerned about varicose veins and spider veins, or are feeling the discomfort they can cause, Total Vein Care is ready to help. And we’re right here in Baton Rouge.

Our board-certified physicians have a combined 30 years of experience in diagnosing and treating varicose veins, spider veins and vein disease. And with an on-site, accredited vascular diagnostics lab and state-of-the-art and treatments that can be performed in-office, advanced vein care is more convenient than ever.

To learn about high quality vein care that can restore your confidence and improve your quality of life, call us today at 877-679-4171 or click here to use our online form.

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Spider Vein Treatment

Spider veins –– the small, but annoying veins are easy to recognize. They resemble spider webs made of thin red blood vessels, and appear on the legs, feet and face.

Though usually harmless, spider veins can in rare cases cause itching or burning. They can also be an indicator of vein disease, or venous insufficiency (when vein valves fail and can no longer move blood from the limbs back to the heart).

Spider vein treatments

The great news is, today’s spider vein treatments are minimally invasive, quick, involve no downtime and can deliver outstanding results. These treatments include:

  • Sclerotherapy This procedure doesn’t require anesthesia and can be performed in our office. Spider veins are injected with a solution that scars and closes them, causing them to fade in a few weeks. Treatment time ranges from 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Laser treatment – At Total Vein Care, we offer advanced VeinGogh laser, which uses a unique microburst technology designed to provide greater precision to treat spider veins.

Minimizing symptoms of spider veins through self-care

Incorporating some of the steps below could help decrease the discomfort caused by vein problems. You may even be able to prevent or slow the development of varicose veins.

  • Walking is an effective way to encourage blood circulation in your legs. Ask your doctor about an appropriate activity level.
  • Watch your weight and diet. Losing extra weight takes pressure off your veins. A healthy diet helps, too. Follow a low-salt diet to prevent swelling caused by water retention.
  • Make a fashion statement. Opt for low heels to give your calf muscles a better workout, which is better for your veins. Wear loose clothing around your waist, legs or groin. Tight clothing can reduce blood flow.
  • Elevate your legs. If possible, take short breaks each day to elevate your legs above the level of your heart. This improves leg circulation.
  • Don’t sit or stand for too long. Frequently change your position to encourage blood flow.

Whether you’re interested in eliminating spider veins or want to stop suffering with painful and unsightly varicose veins, contact Total Vein Care in Baton Rouge. Our experienced, caring and credentialed physicians provide specialized care for vein problems and complex vascular conditions. From outpatient treatments to vascular surgery, we are dedicated to providing the most advanced treatments for the best possible outcomes.

To learn more or schedule an appointment or vein screening, call 877-679-4171 or click here to use our online form.

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Varicose Vein Treatment

Varicose veins are painful, bulging, unsightly veins that require specialized treatment performed by a vein specialist. If you’re experiencing symptoms related to varicose veins, like swelling or aching, a complete vein screening will help determine the best treatment options for you. Early diagnosis and treatment can eliminate the signs and symptoms of varicose veins and decrease your likelihood for developing severe complications, like venous ulcers.

Leading Varicose Vein Treatments

Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)

EVLT is a laser treatment that heats and destroys varicose veins. First, a small amount of local anesthetic is injected near the affected vein so a needle can be painlessly inserted into the targeted area(s) of the vein. The needle helps to thread a laser-tipped catheter through the vein to administer treatment. The laser heats the vein to shut the diseased area down. This procedure takes about 20-30 minutes per leg, depending on the severity of your condition.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure typically used to treat smaller varicose veins. During the procedure, a special sclerosing solution is injected directly into the varicose vein through a small needle. The solution irritates the vein lining, causing it to swell. When the vein is swollen, it sticks to itself and the blood inside the vein clots, which closes off the varicose vein. This procedure takes anywhere from 5-30 minutes, depending on the number and severity of the veins that need treatment.

There are many treatment options to consider when you want to eliminate painful, unsightly varicose veins. The treatments listed above are minimally invasive and have a relatively short recovery time. In many cases, you can get back to doing the things you enjoy right away.

If you suffer from painful, bulging varicose veins, get the help you need from the experienced vein care specialists at Total Vein Care. Our innovative, in-office treatments eliminate varicose veins quickly, so you can get back to enjoying your active lifestyle. Call 844-747-3702, or use our easy online form to schedule your comprehensive vein consultation.

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Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism

Deep vein thrombosis is a serious, potentially deadly condition that occurs when a blood clot forms within a deep vein in the thigh, lower leg, pelvis, or arm. DVT can lead to life-threatening complications if the blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, which is called pulmonary embolism (PE).

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis can affect almost anyone, but your chances significantly increase after the age of 60. Keep in mind that both DVT and PE may not exhibit any symptoms whatsoever. However, you may have deep vein thrombosis if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling in one or both of the legs
  • Pain or tenderness in one or both of the legs
  • Skin that is warm to the touch
  • Red or discolored skin
  • Tired or heavy feelings in the legs

Call your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. It could save your life.

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism

When a blood clot within a deep vein breaks free and travels to the lungs, this is referred to as pulmonary embolism, which can be (and often is) deadly. Seek medical attention immediately or call 911 if you are experiencing:

  • Sudden coughing that brings up blood
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • Severe lightheadedness

Reducing your risk of DVT and PE

There are a few things you can do to significantly reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. If you’ve recently had surgery, be sure you are taking your prescribed blood thinning or clot-preventing medications as directed. Avoid sitting still for long periods of time. If it’s safe to do so, get up and move as often as you can. When traveling by train or air, be sure to get up and move at least once every hour. And finally, be sure to protect your health by maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine.

For more information on blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, call the vein specialists at Total Vein Care today at (225) 245-3540 to schedule your appointment.

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New Year, New You: Treating Vein Disease

Do you have vein disease?

Vein disease is a common condition that affects millions of people every year. It is often manifested by visible veins on the legs, called varicose veins and spider veins. Spider veins generally don’t exhibit any symptoms, but varicose veins can be very painful, and even debilitating. You may have vein disease if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs
  • Tired, achy or heavy feelings in the legs
  • Leathery skin appearance on the legs
  • Itchy feelings around the veins
  • Skin surface ulcers on the lower legs (only in severe cases)

It’s important to understand that vein disease is a progressive condition, meaning it will only worsen over time if left untreated. Fortunately, there are minimally invasive vein treatment options available to get your veins healthy, pain-free and attractive again. These include:

Compression therapy

Though compression therapy is not a permanent treatment to vein disease, it is often the first plan of attack to prevent the disease from worsening and to reduce painful symptoms like aching, swelling, and heaviness. This is often an option for patients who cannot undergo other minimally invasive treatments.

Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT)

Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat large, bulging varicose veins. EVLT is performed using a small catheter inserted painlessly into the vein to administer thermal energy to close the problem vein.

Microphlebectomy

Microphlebectomy is typically used on diseased veins that are too large for sclerotherapy but not large enough to be treated with EVLT. The problem vein is removed through tiny incisions in the skin with no scarring.

Radiofrequency ablation

Also called VNUS closure, radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that involves a small catheter carefully inserted into the vein to deliver radiofrequency energy to close the diseased vein.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is often the best treatment option for spider veins. Sclerotherapy is performed by injecting a medicated solution into the unwanted veins, causing the veins to shut down and disappear over time.

VeinGogh

Many people undergo the VeinGogh treatment to minimize the appearance of spider veins on the face, ankles or knees. The treatment involves the use of a very fine, insulated needle to deliver high-frequency electrical energy just below the skin’s surface. The treatment usually takes only a few minutes.

At Total Vein Care, all of our treatments are minimally invasive, require little to no downtime and are performed in-office. If you have symptoms of vein disease and would like to discuss treatment options with one of our veins specialists, call (225) 245-3540 today.

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Foods for Vascular Health

There are many methods for improving your vascular health, and incorporating certain foods into your diet that are known to strengthen blood vessels and promote circulation is at the top of the list. A few foods packed with nutrients to support healthy veins and arteries are:

Oranges

Citrus fruits, like oranges, carry high levels of vitamin C, which has also been shown to strengthen capillary walls. Vitamin C also serves as natural blood thinner and aids in the prevention of plaque buildup, which can inhibit circulation and cause further complications.

Dark chocolate

Indulging in a little dark chocolate consumption in moderation can improve the overall health of your blood vessels. Cocoa-based foods, like dark chocolate, contain flavonoids, which have been shown to promote healthy circulation and lower blood pressure.

Cayenne pepper

Researchers have found that spicy foods, such as cayenne pepper, have been shown to boost your metabolism and strengthen arteries and blood vessels, resulting in stimulated blood flow to the peripheral areas of the body.

Sunflower seeds

Vitamin E-rich foods, like sunflower seeds, can reduce your risk of blood clot formation. Vitamin E has also been associated with improved elasticity of veins and arteries, resulting in smoother blood flow.

Garlic

Garlic provides a wide variety of health benefits, including its ability to naturally clean the blood. This helps to prevent plaque buildup, which can result in hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Garlic is also known to maintain the flexibility of veins and to lower blood pressure.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba can aid in the dilation the blood vessels and facilitate improved blood flow to the extremities to reduce risk of clotting. Ginkgo biloba has also been associated with the relief of leg pain caused by improper circulation.

Watermelon

Watermelons contain high quantities of the antioxidant lycopene, a natural pigment that gives certain produce its reddish color. Preliminary research has found a positive link between lycopene and the thickness of the carotid artery. This suggests that lycopene may inhibit the development of cardiovascular disease by protecting the “good” cholesterol (LDL) from oxidation.

Salmon

Salmon contains the almighty omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that provides many health benefits, from maintaining vein elasticity to thinning out the blood. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to reduce the risk for sudden cardiac death.

For more information about maintaining a healthy vascular system, call the vein specialists at Total Vein Care today at (225) 245-3540.

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