What can I do to prevent vein disease?

Genetics can increase the likelihood of having vein or arterial issues but maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help prevent conditions developing.

It’s important that you:

  • maintain a healthy weight
  • exercise regularly
  • don’t smoke
  • avoid long times sitting or standing (wear compression stockings if you stand or sit for long times while you work). Ask us about compression stockings.

Varicose veins

Ropey veins in the legs.

What’s the problem?

They’re not doing their job of transporting blood back to the heart. If left untreated they can lead to ulcers.

Treatment

  1. Laser therapy – a fine fibre is passed through the varicose vein to heat and seal it off so the blood is sent to healthy veins.
  2. Sclerotherapy – a chemical injected into the vein makes the walls stick together. The vein can’t fill with blood.
  3. Venaseal™ – medical glue –  tiny, controlled amounts of medical-grade glue are injected into the vein via a thin tube, using a special dispenser. All the while progress is monitored onscreen using ultrasound. Once the glue is in place along the vein, the surgeon puts light pressure on the leg to seal it.

Carotid artery disease

Arteries on the side of the neck are blocked.

What’s the problem?

If cholesterol builds up in your carotid arteries this can lead to strokes or mini strokes.

Treatment
We may recommend some lifestyle changes, eg, giving up smoking, eating healthily and doing regular exercise. We may also recommend medication, such as a statin, to help lower your cholesterol and a low dose of aspirin. If your blockage is more severe we’ll recommend surgery to remove it. We’ll discuss your treatment plan once you’ve had an ultrasound scan.

Aortic aneurysms

The artery enlarges.

What’s the problem?

The aorta is in your abdomen; it’s the main artery that sends blood from your heart. If the enlargement keeps going, the artery can burst, which is very dangerous.

Treatment

Most aneurysms grow slowly and we offer regular ultrasound scans to monitor them. Once an aneurysm is 5.5 cm wide, surgery may be needed. This may mean inserting a stent into the artery or repairing the artery surgically. We’ll discuss the best option for you.

Lower limb arterial disease

Blocked arteries; poor circulation.

What’s the problem?

If you have cramp or pain in your calf muscle when walking, especially uphill, it may mean a blockage in your arteries is restricting blood flow. For some people this may progress to more pain and ulceration.

Treatment

We recommend giving up smoking (if you do), controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol with medication and doing regular exercise. If your problem is more severe we may recommend a stent or bypass operation.

Spider veins

Clusters of thin, red or blue veins.

What’s the problem?

You might be able to live with your spider veins but they could be a sign of an underlying vein problem. Many people just find them unsightly and want a treatment to improve how they look.

Treatment

We’ll often recommend an ultrasound to find out the cause.

Laser therapy can help reduce the appearance of spider veins. It can also help reduce some facial skin conditions, including fine lines, broken capillaries and redness or rosacea. See more at: www.laseraesthetics.co.nz.

Mediven compression stockings

What do compression stockings do?

Compression stockings help encourage blood flow from the legs to the heart and also help reduce swollen ankles. They are an important part of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) prevention. They are also effective in improving some varicose vein symptoms, such as aching and throbbing.

A DVT is caused by a blood clot blocking a large vein deep inside the leg. It can be very dangerous if it breaks away and travels to your lungs.

Our compression stockings provide graduated pressure, which keeps the blood flowing out of your legs, rather than pooling.

Book a fitting at one of our clinics or Reorder your compression stockings now in our online shop.

Implanting Ports and inserting PICCs

These procedures allow you to have regular medications without the need to use more needles. It’s especially effective for providing access to your veins for chemotherapy and can be used for blood tests as well.

Both are minor procedures.

The port implant

The port is a small dome that’s implanted in your chest or arm, sitting just under the skin. A small incision is made to create a pocket to house the port. A thin tube, or catheter, is securely connected to the port and inserted via a vein in your neck. It is then advanced into your body until the tube reaches a large vein just above your heart.

Allow about an hour for the insertion and several hours afterwards for recovery

A port can stay implanted for several years.

How does it work?

The catheter that goes into your vein is connected to the port. The top side is made of permeable material and when you need to receive medications a special needle is inserted through the skin into the port to create access to the veins.

A PICC insertion

A PICC (or peripherally inserted central catheter) is a long, flexible tube that’s inserted into a vein in your arm and then advanced until it reaches the large vein just above your heart. The other end remains outside of your body.

Allow around 90 minutes all up for the procedure.

A PICC can stay in place for six months or more.

No general anaesthetic

We use local anaesthetic for both procedures, which means you are awake during the procedure and recovery is easier. Most times you will be given a sedative to relax you.

When a catheter or port are inserted you may feel some pressure, like someone is pressing on your skin but no pain (apart from a little discomfort from the injection that numbs your skin). You won’t feel the tube itself being directed into position or the port being inserted.

These services are now available at the Bowen Cancer Centre on 04 896 0200
or call us on 0800 45 45 88.