How Sun Exposure Effects your Veins


Most people understand the importance of remembering to put on sunscreen. Sunscreen can prevent UVA and UVB rays from damaging the skin, aging the skin or causing cancer.  Wrinkles or dark spots from the sun usually come to mind, but what many people don’t think about how sun exposure can sprout up some spider veins on the nose or cause a current vein disease in the body to get worse. With people currently flocking to the beach for the season, it’s good to know the best ways to protect oneself from the sun whether it’s on a beach or golf course, or even taking an afternoon stroll.

Can the Sun Cause Varicose and Spider Veins?

The sun can cause spider veins, but does not cause varicose veins. In fact, many people tan to try to hide the appearance of their spider veins, which can temporarily work; however, sun exposure itself ultimately can cause the spider veins to appear in the first place, so tanning would be counterproductive.  The sun can cause spider veins by breaking down collagen under the skin and blood vessels right beneath the surface of the skin. The sun’s exposure causes the veins to pop up on noses and cheeks, often on fair-skinned people, which can receive more sun than other parts of the body.

Varicose veins cannot be created by the sun, but the diseased veins can worsen in the heat. The heat from the sun can cause the veins to dilate, enlarge which causes venous distention. Venous distention is when the veins swell because they are filled with more blood than there should be flowing through the veins. With the increase of blood, the veins will grow larger in size and most likely hurt more.

Should Sun Exposure Be Avoided?

No, but people with spider or varicose veins or those who have recently received vein removal treatment should properly protect their skin from sun exposure. Doctors recommend that people who have undergone vein treatment surgery should remain out of the sun anywhere from three to eight weeks, or even longer, depending on the specific treatment – the more you wait the better. The sun’s rays can cause pigment changes in the skin that can take longer to get back to normal. Once the doctor gives the OK for the treated area to be exposed to the sun, a patient should apply sunscreen to the area to protect the skin.

When Is Best to Get Veins Treated?

The cooler months can be the best time to get skin looking great and healthy for the summer. Most people don’t think of their veins during the fall and winter months, because skin is covered with layers of clothing, but it can make life a lot easier to get problems fixed before the nice weather returns. Here are a few reasons to get treated in cooler months:

  1. Veins might require more than one treatment, so there is plenty of months to be ready for the warmer weather.
  2. Many doctors recommend using compression hosiery before and after varicose vein procedures. These stockings are easier to wear or hide in cooler months.
  3. Veins can worsen in winter months from inactivity.

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Managing Varicose Veins in the Summer


Are varicose veins worse in summer?

It’s that time of year again and the summer holidays are well and truly underway. Nevertheless, while most of us spend the year looking forward to that long sought after summer getaway, sufferers of varicose veins can have a very different experience of this season.

However, this increase in temperature can present a problem. Heat can sometimes exaggerate your symptoms – you’re more likely to experience heavy legs and swelling if you are spending time in the summer sun. If you want to know more, check out my blog, can heat make varicose veins worse?

And that’s just the increase in temperature. Travelling itself can be difficult as long-haul flights mean you will spend a lot of time sitting down, unable to stretch your legs or stimulate your circulation.

Add to this the increase risk of dehydration and the pressure to bare your legs on the beach, and it’s no wonder that varicose vein sufferers often feel so unhappy during the summer months!

How Do I Cope with Varicose Veins in the Summer?

It can be very lonely if you’re entire family is gearing up for their annual holiday and you’re feeling anything but excited. However, there’s no reason why you can’t make the most out of your summer holiday too! Below I’ve highlighted some of my top tips to enable you to cope with your symptoms during the summer season!

Preparation is Key

If you are travelling abroad to seek out the summer sun then the plane journey is likely your first source of worry. After all, you probably know all about the dangers of remaining sedentary for too long and how that can affect your symptoms so how are you meant to cope on a long-haul flight?

Firstly, don’t be afraid to pay a little extra for more leg room – this can make a real difference and will enable you to perform a few simple exercises that can help to get your blood flowing properly. Once you’ve done this, make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing for the duration of the flight – no skinny jeans please!

Also be prepared to go on board with a few bottles of water – hydration is absolutely pivotal to keeping your symptoms under control, which brings me to my next point…

Drink, Drink, Drink

Yes, I know, you’ve probably heard this mantra half a hundred times before but drinking plenty of water really is that important. Especially during summer, when you will naturally perspire a little bit more.

It’s also possible that you may be losing valuable electrolytes through sweat too, so I’d recommend trying to replenish these vital nutrients. 

Of course you will naturally be in more social environments on holiday, whether you’re at home or abroad, so I won’t say boycott alcohol completely, but please be mindful about the inflammatory affect that it can have on your body, and try to moderate your intake.

Consider Your Clothes

It’s the middle of summer and around you other people are indulging in shorts, skirts and summer dresses. You, however, may have some reservations about baring your own legs in public and this is understandable.

Having varicose veins doesn’t just manifest physical symptoms – many find that their self-esteem and confidence starts to dwindle too. The unsightly, bulging blue-red veins can make you unwilling to show-off your legs and during winter this might not be a problem, but during summer it can be a real trial.

I wouldn’t recommend imprisoning your legs in skin tight skinny jeans though. Tight clothing will only restrict your circulation even further and make the problem worse. Instead, why not consider a nice maxi dress or cargo shorts?

These types of clothing are normally very loose and light, allowing your skin to breath whilst giving your legs some relief. They also protect your skin from sunburn – and trust me, nothing will upset your varicose veins quite like a bad dose of sunburn!

If you usually wear compression stockings, you don’t have to fret either! You can get compression stockings that are discreet and easy to disguise, especially if you are wearing longer skirts!

Remember Sunscreen

Sunburn on its own cannot cause varicose veins, although it can seriously damage your skin which will affect the tiny blood vessels beneath the skin’s surface, giving rise to the appearance of spider veins.

However, what sunburn will do is naturally increase the temperature of your skin and dilate your blood vessels. As we have already discussed, heat is not good news for your varicose veins, but sunburn also carries an additional risk of added inflammation.

Your body will perceive that a part of your skin has been damaged and, in its haste to get blood and nutrients to the affected area, will instigate an inflammatory immune response. Not only will this enlarge your veins, it will also flood your system with inflammatory chemicals and upset your symptoms, perhaps even causing unwanted pain and discomfort.

Please be kind to yourself and remember to reapply sunscreen regularly, making sure you have the right factor for the weather you are experiencing. If you can, try to relax in the shade at regular intervals and if you decide to go swimming, apply sunscreen before and after entering the pool!

Get Your Blood Pumping

It’s summer so why not try to make the most of the good weather by exercising outside? Just a brisk 10 minute walk each afternoon can make a real difference to your circulatory health, not to mention the other health benefits that being outdoors can bring!

You could even try other forms of exercise that you may not have considered during the bleaker winter months, such as cycling! It’s a great way of exploring your surroundings and it can really help to boost your cardio and increase your overall health and fitness.

Or, if cycling doesn’t excite you, why not a team sport such as tennis? Invite a friend and make an afternoon of it at your local outdoor tennis court. Or, alternatively, cool down by hitting your local swimming pool!

Anything that gets your heart pumping and your blood racing!

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Get Ready for Summer!


It’s still cold and wet outside, but the isles in the clothing stores are a constant reminder that the sun is getting ready to pop out and stay. That’s right, spring and summer are on their way and warm-weather wear is starting to fill the racks in every clothing store you visit.

While all of your friends are rejoicing, do you secretly find yourself feeling a small sense of dread at the idea of stripping off your layers and donning shorts and swimsuit? If you have noticed that your legs have areas of discoloration, look lumpy, seem swollen, or have what appears to be blue spider webbing in spots; you may be have varicose veins or be experiencing venous disease.

Varicose veins don’t all look alike; there are several types that you may be able to identify on your own legs (you may experience more than one type at the same time.)

  • Trunk Varicose Veins: These are highly visible; often long, thick and bumpy; and appear near the surface of your skin.
  • Telangiectasia Varicose Veins: This type of varicose vein does not cause bulging of the skin but often comes in clusters that are bright blue or red. Because of their shape and size they are sometimes referred to as thread veins or spider veins, and while they are harmless, they can appear on both the face and legs.
  • Reticular Varicose Veins: These veins are red or blue and appear as short, jagged lines that lie just beneath the skin. Small ones may branch off larger ones.

If any of these descriptions fit the discoloration you are experiencing on your legs, there’s good news. Varicose veins can be successfully treated in time for summer! 

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January and February are Prime Time


VARICOSE veins are a condition that will affect up to 30 per cent of us in our lifetime. There are a number of cutting-edge techniques available for treating symptoms - which include pain and itchiness - but an expert has revealed why removal in January and February is the best time of year.

Varicose veins occur when valves in the leg veins stop working properly, meaning the blood falls down the veins when standing up, rather than flowing upwards towards the heart. 

In their simplest form, varicose veins can be identified as bulging veins which protrude from the legs but, up to half of all varicose veins sufferers will show no overt signs of the condition, as the problematic veins remain hidden under the skin. 

If treatment is necessary, the NHS advises your doctor may first recommend up to six months of using compression stockings, taking regular exercise and elevating the affected area when resting. 

Other common treatment options include endothermic ablation - where heat is used to seal affected veins - sclerotherapy - this uses special foam to close the veins and ligation and stripping - the affected verbs are surgically removed. 

Whatever treatment option you decide to go with, a leading vascular specialist says January and February is the best time of year to do it. 

Professor Mark Whiteley of The Whiteley Clinic said many people will feel self-conscious about baring their legs during the summer months because of varicose veins, especially as 50 per cent of varicose veins are visible with a bulging appearance. 

So getting treatment done in good time will avoid this. 

He said: “It is very common for patients to seek treatment later in the year when their summer holidays are looking, but unfortunately this does not allow enough time for the course of the treatment to complete - which is why January and February are the perfect time to start.” 


Blood Clots During Travel


Some long-distance travelers are at risk for a dangerous condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This condition occurs when a blood clot forms in a large vein. Part of the clot may break off and travel to the lungs, causing a sudden blockage of arteries in the lung. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). These conditions are rare, but can be fatal, so it’s important to understand what causes them, how to know if you are at risk, and what steps you can take to prevent them.

DVT Risk

Almost anyone can have DVT, but if you’re traveling for a long time, such as on an international trip, you may be at increased risk. This is because DVT can be caused by sitting for a long time, potentially creating damage and slow blood flow in the veins of your legs. This increased risk more often occurs with air travel, where you’re in a small space and it’s hard to get up and move around. But DVT can also happen when you are traveling by bus, train, or car.

Most people who develop travel-associated DVT have other factors that increase their chance of developing a DVT, including the following:

  • A previous blood clot
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Known clotting disorder
  • Recent surgery, hospitalization, or injury
  • Use of estrogen-containing birth control or hormone replacement therapy
  • Current or recent pregnancy
  • Older age (risk increases with age)
  • Obesity
  • Active cancer (or undergoing chemotherapy)
  • • Other serious illnesses, including congestive heart failure or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Limited movement

Preventing DVT

Anyone traveling more than 4 hours by air, by car, or by bus can be at risk for blood clots.

You can take steps to help prevent DVT. For long distance travelers, these steps include

  • Get up occasionally and walk around.
    • Select an aisle seat when possible so you can walk around every 2-3 hours.
    • If traveling by car, include breaks in your travel schedule to stretch and walk around.
  • Exercise your calf muscles and stretch your legs while you're sitting. Try these exercises next time you travel:
    • Raise and lower your heels while keeping your toes on the floor.
    • Raise and lower your toes while keeping your heels on the floor.
    • Tighten and release your leg muscles.

If you are a long-distance traveler with additional factors that increase your chance for developing a DVT, talk to your doctor about taking extra precautions, such as

  • Wearing properly fitted medical compression stockings and
  • Taking medication before you travel to prevent blood clots.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

It is helpful to know the symptoms so you can recognize if you develop DVT or PE.

DVT Symptoms

  • Swelling, pain, or tenderness in the affected limb (usually the leg)
  • Unexplained pain or tenderness
  • Skin that is red and warm to the touch

PE Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Faster than normal heartbeat
  • Chest pain that usually gets worse when you cough or breathe deeply
  • Coughing up blood
  • Very low blood pressure, lightheadedness or fainting

If you have symptoms of DVT, call a doctor right away. If you have symptoms of PE, you should seek immediate medical care from a doctor or hospital. Finding and treating these conditions early can prevent death or complications.

It is not possible to diagnose either condition without special tests performed by a doctor to look for clots within veins in the legs, pelvis, and chest, and within arteries in the lungs, such as an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI. That is why it is important for you to quickly seek medical care if you experience symptoms of DVT or PE.

DVT and PE are treatable, although a large PE can cause sudden death. Sometimes medicines or devices are used to dissolve or break up the clot. Typically, medicines are taken for several weeks or months to prevent more clots from forming and to give the body a chance to dissolve or heal existing clots.

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Winter Weather & Varicose Veins

Winter Weather Warning.png

It’s the perfect excuse to whip up a gumbo or gather with friends around the fire. But this winter, we’ve already had a bigger than normal serving of extreme cold, and we have at least another month to go.

For those with varicose veins, a condition in which veins enlarge and become painful due to the excess pressure in the saphenous system, harsh winter temperatures could present some challenges in managing the condition.

The news is not all bad, according to Dr. Carl Fastabend, founder and medical director of the Vein Center of Southwest Louisiana and Louisiana’s only full-time, comprehensive vein specialist. “Cold temperatures can cause veins to shrink, making it easier for the valves inside the veins to function properly. This could mean fewer cramps and swollen ankles for some people.”

However, overall, winter weather typically leads to an increase in symptoms for many with varicose veins. During and after the holidays, weight gain is common.

More weight means more work on the part of your legs to get blood back to the heart.

Dr. Fastabend says it’s easy to talk yourself out of an outdoor run or even venturing out to the gym in cold weather. “If it’s cold out, try to stay active indoors,” he says. “This will keep the valves actively pumping blood through the veins.”

When the temperature drops, there is sometimes a temporary change in atmospheric pressure. “That change can cause your circulatory system to, in general, become less efficient, which can further aggravate issues with the veins,” says Dr. Fastabend.

This is also something to monitor if your winter travel plans take you to the slopes.

Another concern in colder weather is its effect on the skin. Dr. Fastabend says dry, cold weather can contribute to dry skin on the legs and even a rash, which leads to itching of varicose veins. He says it’s a good idea to apply moisturizing lotion regularly to avoid this.

To manage your symptoms, Dr. Fastabend recommends pampering your veins a little during the winter months. “Elevate your legs for 30 minutes before going to bed, stretch throughout the day and massage your ankles and lower legs whenever you can,” he says.

Another best practice is to eat high-fiber foods, which are great for your circulation.

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RLS related to Veins

"About 10 percent of the population is thought to suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).

Are you one of them? Perhaps you or your bed partner are kept awake at night with the irresistible urge to move your legs; some people describe it as a “creeping” feeling in the legs; or tingling, burning, aching or numbness of the legs. These symptoms are worse at night or during periods of relaxation, such as lying down during the day.

Summer Legs in Winter

winter is a great time to get varicose veins and spider veins treated.

A few reasons why winter is one of the best times to get your leg health evaluated:

  1. Compression Therapy: Most insurance companies will want you to wear compression stockings for a few months before they approve treatment, and while support garments are now available in stylish colors and patterns and should be worn all year long; most people prefer to wear them in the winter.
  2. Post Treatment Healing: While the non-invasive treatments we offer for the treatment of varicose and spider veins are virtually pain free, there is a period of time between treatment and your legs looking their best. Obtaining treatment now gives you a few months to heal before summer and shorts on the beach.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters."


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Flu Shots!

"Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. CDC estimates that flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000, while flu-related deaths are estimated to have ranged from 12,000 to 56,000. During flu season, flu viruses circulate at higher levels in the U.S. population. (“Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.) An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.

How do flu vaccines work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus."


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"The clearest benefit is for people with certain leg problems or at risk for blood clots in the legs, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Many factors can increase the risk of these clots, including prolonged bed rest (such as after surgery), sitting for long periods (such as on a plane), use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, pregnancy, family history of DVT, inflammatory bowel disease, and certain genetic clotting disorders. Compression stockings are also sometimes used in people who have an acute DVT, to prevent a group of symptoms known as post-thrombotic syndrome that includes leg pain and swelling. But the American College of Chest Physicians says there’s insufficient evidence to support using the stockings for this purpose."


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