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Tips for vascular health

How to Improve Vascular Health with Exercise.png

A new year means new goals. One of those goals should be successfully managing your vascular disease. In many cases, this can be accomplished with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise instead of surgery. 

How Does Exercise Impact Vascular Disease and Overall Health

Exercise is vital to your health. In fact, new research shows that it not only helps your heart and muscles but every cell in your body. 

For a patient with vascular disease like Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), it can help stop the progression and even alleviate pain. Being sedentary or overweight actually causes more issues with circulation, which is the exact opposite of what’s needed. With exercise, patients can also lower their chance of stroke and the growth rate of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

How to Develop an Exercise Program

Exercise isn’t just a one time thing and must be done on a routine basis. Just like so many other things, the best way to make sure it happens is by scheduling it. Create a weekly exercise program and pencil it in on your calendar. 

Your weekly plan should include:

  • 30 minutes of daily cardio
  • Examples include walking, jogging, swimming and biking
  • 2 strength training sessions 
  • Examples include weightlifting, pilates, working with resistance bands and yoga
  • Stretching both pre and post workout to avoid injury

Exercise tip! Walking is one of the best exercises for patients with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Just remember to be patient with yourself. It took years for PAD to develop and it will take months to see improvement in walking. 

Don’t get burned out! To ensure you continue with your exercise program, try these tips:

  • Ramp up slowly
  • Select an exercise activity you like (did you know gardening can help with strengthening muscles?)
  • Get your friends and family involved
  • Hold yourself accountable by updating an app on your phone (i.e. Apple Watch or My Fitness Pal) or keeping a journal
  • Celebrate your progress

Before starting your exercise program, please talk with your doctor to make sure it's right for you and your vascular health issues.

Why Choose Vascular Associates of South Alabama to Help?

Our vascular physicians proactively work to combat vascular disease through lifestyle changes instead of immediately opting for surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary. They’ll meet with you to determine what changes need to be made as well as develop a plan of action including exercises that work for you. 

Book an appointment today by calling 251-410-8272! Same day appointments available!

Contact: 

Phone: 251-410-8272
Fax: 251-410-8273
Email: info@myvasadoc.net
Main Office: 1551 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL 36604
Hours: Mon - Fri 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Resources:

How to Keep Vascular Disease Under Control During the Holidays.png

 

It’s officially the holidays! While it’s a great time to spend with family and friends, all the festivities can cause issues with your vascular disease. From the unhealthy foods to the stress of it all, it’s crucial to be vigilant and up-to-date on your condition.

Watching Your Diet

Christmas cookies, fudge and fruit cake! Who doesn’t love digging into some sweet and savory foods during the holidays? Patients suffering with vascular disease don’t necessarily have to miss out on the good stuff, but definitely need to avoid overdoing it. 

Here are some things to remember when it comes to your diet:

  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Don’t use too much sodium
  • Keep portion size in mind
  • Eat the good, festive foods like cranberries and sweet potatoes 
  • Don’t over indulge in foods high in sugar

Controlling Stress

It’s important to manage stress during the holidays. Stress can increase heart rate and blood pressure while narrowing blood vessels. This can be particularly worrisome for patients with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) or other vascular diseases as the veins are already narrowed. 

There are some things you can do to manage stress like:

  • Just saying “no” and not overextending yourself
  • Keeping up your exercise routine
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Taking time to relax
  • Eating healthy (as laid out above)

Visiting the Doctor

Don’t forget to meet with your vascular physician as needed. The end of the year is a busy time, but patients must stick to their care schedule including attending appointments, taking medicines as prescribed and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Towards the end of the year, deductibles have probably already been met. So, it’s a great time to get all medical needs taken care of.

Why Choose Vascular Associates of South Alabama?

Our vascular physicians believe in taking a proactive approach in treating vascular health conditions. They have an in-house, outpatient endovascular lab that allows them to quickly care for patients all in one comfortable location. 

Book an appointment today by calling 251-410-8272! Same day appointments available!

Contact: 

Phone: 251-410-8272
Fax: 251-410-8273
Email: info@myvasadoc.net
Main Office: 1551 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL 36604
Hours: Mon - Fri 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/about/copingwith-stresstips.html 

Why You Need a Vascular Surgeon as Part of Your Diabetic Care Team.png

Since November is National Diabetes Month, let’s talk about your diabetic care team…

Every diabetic needs an all-encompassing care team as diabetes can potentially affect nearly every system in the body.

Members of the team may include: a primary care physician, endocrinologist, podiatrist, cardiologist, nephrologist, neurologist, ophthalmologist and, last but not least, a vascular surgeon. 

Vascular Disease and Diabetes

Vascular surgeons are extremely important to have on your diabetic care team. Diabetics are frequently diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). With the changes in blood chemistry and artery walls, their high levels of blood sugar can contribute to plaque buildup. Unfortunately, this causes poor circulation and blockages in the artery which can delay wound healing and lead to gangrene, a deadly infection. 

Diabetics may also develop dangerous foot ulcers due to decrease in pain from nerve damage. Some ulcers go untreated for long periods of time making amputation a viable solution. 

Limb Amputation

Patients with diabetes alone have an increased risk of limb amputation. Combined with PAD, that risk increases significantly. Amputation should always be the very last resort as it’s linked to a rise in five-year mortality rates

The best ways to avoid amputation are to understand the risk factors and be proactive. Find a physician who closely monitors and manages your underlying conditions. Learn how to check for wounds that aren’t healing and keep your blood sugar levels under control. 

Prior to any amputation, all diabetic patients should be evaluated by a vascular surgeon as there may be other ways to treat the affected limb.

Why Choose Vascular Associates of South Alabama to Be Part of Your Diabetic Care Team?

Our vascular physicians specialize in limb salvage and ulcer care specifically for diabetic patients with PAD. Vascular Associates of South Alabama takes a more proactive approach of managing your condition through healthy lifestyle changes, treatments and procedures. 

Book an appointment today by calling 251-410-8272!

Contact: 

Phone: 251-410-8272
Fax: 251-410-8273
Email: info@myvasadoc.net
Main Office: 1551 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL 36604
Hours: Mon - Fri 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Resources:

https://www.upstate.edu/surgery/healthcare/vascular/conditions-treated/diabetic.php#:~:text=Below%20is%20a%20list%20of,occur%20that%20will%20not%20heal 

 

Your Game Plan for Fighting Vascular Disease During Football Season.png

College football is in full swing down here in South Alabama. While game days are fun, patients with vascular disease should still be careful.

Let’s Talk Game Day Food

Tailgating is an important part of college game days. As you walk through campus, the smell of hamburgers, hot dogs and so many other delights fill the air. However, if you’re struggling with vascular disease, it’s crucial that you maintain a healthy diet. Splurging every once in a while is okay, but don’t go crazy with greasy red meats and carbohydrates. Try to substitute for healthier options like leaner meats, veggies as sides, whole wheat alternatives and fruits as desserts. 

Food is just one component of keeping a healthier diet. Limiting alcohol consumption is another. Too much imbibing may lead to worsening symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). 

Staying Active in the Stands

There’s nothing quite like watching a college football game from the stands. The excitement of cheering on your team with your fellow fans can be exhilarating, but too much excitement may increase your blood pressure. Make sure you stay vigilant and watch out for signs of high blood pressure. 

Also, the crowded stands with little leg room can be bad for patients with vascular disease. To keep blood flowing throughout the extremities, you must get up and move. Stretch your legs at half time or take a walk to the concession stand. The point is you need to stand up and move around from time to time. 

Beat the Heat 

In the South, the summer heat tends to extend into September and October. This means football games can be miserably hot. Symptoms of vascular disease may be exacerbated due to the heat. Recently, we wrote an entire article dedicated to this very topic of managing your symptoms during scorching temperatures. 

Here’s just a few things to do: 

  • Use a handheld fan
  • Wear a hat
  • Stay hydrated
  • Enjoy frozen treats
  • Find some shade

If you’re worried about vascular disease, it’s extremely important to get evaluated by one of our board-certified physicians. We welcome the opportunity to treat new patients. 

Book an appointment today by calling 251-410-8272!

Contact: 

Phone: 251-410-8272
Fax: 251-410-8273
Email: info@myvasadoc.net
Main Office: 1551 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL 36604
Hours: Mon - Fri 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Resources:

https://www.uab.edu/news/youcanuse/item/10720-surviving-gameday-tips-to-help-you-make-it-through-the-season 

https://www.myvasadoc.net/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-vascular-disease-the-summer-heat

Everything You  Need to Know About Vascular Disease  & the Summer Heat.png

 

In South Alabama, summers are hot and those temperatures can last well into the fall. Patients with vascular disease may see their symptoms exacerbated due to the heat. 

How Does the Summer Heat Affect Vascular Disease?

Veins dilate when exposed to high temperatures causing an increase in swelling and stress on the body as it works harder to circulate blood. This can lead to vein damage, discomfort, blood accumulation in the lower legs and skin sensitivity like itching and rashes. 

Additionally, people tend to be more active during the summer when the weather is nice. This can lead to pain in the extremities especially if people overdo it. While the pain may simply be misuse, it could also be a sign of Peripheral Artery Disease. 

What Can You Do to Beat the Summer Heat?

People with vascular disease should follow year-round lifestyle changes including:

  • Staying properly hydrated
  • Maintaining a health weight through diet and exercise
  • Wearing loose fitting clothing and compression socks
  • Cutting out smoking 

More specifically in the summer months, patients should cool down by:

  • Staying in the shade
  • Wearing a hat
  • Enjoying frozen treats
  • Spending time in the air conditioning 
  • Exercising indoors or during times when the weather is cooler like morning or night
  • Hopping in the water
  • Using a handheld fan

The board-certified surgeons at Vascular Associates of South Alabama are highly experienced in treating patients with vascular disease. Since each patient is different, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a vascular expert to determine the best and most appropriate treatment. 

Call us at 251-410-8272 to book an appointment today! 

Contact: 

Phone: 251-410-8272
Fax: 251-410-8273
Email: info@myvasadoc.net
Main Office: 1551 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL 36604
Hours: Mon - Fri 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Resources:

https://njvvc.com/how-the-summer-heat-affects-your-veins/ 

Vascular Disease Awareness Month What Is Vascular Disease.png

September is Vascular Disease Awareness Month! By the age of 50, 50% of women and 30% of men are affected by a vein disorder. 

What Is Vascular Disease?

Vascular disease is a term used to describe numerous conditions affecting the veins, arteries and small vessels. 

Here are just a few examples of vascular diseases:

  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Varicose Veins
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Symptoms can vary depending on the blood vessels affected. Coronary Artery Disease may present symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain while PAD can cause swelling, pain or weakness in the extremities. Unfortunately, a serious or even life-threatening event may occur before a patient even knows they have vascular disease as sometimes there are no symptoms.

People are more at risk if they have a family history of vascular disease or have the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • History of smoking
  • Unhealthy diet

How Does Vascular Associates of South Alabama Treat Vascular Disease?

At Vascular Associates of South Alabama, their board-certified physicians are experts in treating patients with vascular disease. While some types can be treated with medications and changes in lifestyle, others may need surgery to restore blood flow. With the addition of their first outpatient endovascular lab in Alabama, complex arterial and venous diseases are treated quickly and comfortably. 

If you’re concerned about vascular disease, it’s extremely important to get evaluated. We welcome the opportunity to treat new patients. 

Call us at 251-410-8272 to book an appointment today! 

Contact: 

Phone: 251-410-8272
Fax: 251-410-8273
Email: info@myvasadoc.net
Main Office: 1551 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL 36604
Hours: Mon - Fri 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Resources:

Everything You Need to Know About Flying with PAD.png

According to the American Heart Association, patients can fly with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) as long as their symptoms are managed. However, this may not be the case for everyone, so always check with your doctor. 

While air travel is relatively safe for PAD patients, it doesn’t come without risk. Flights over four hours require passengers to remain still for long periods of time which can cause blood flow to decrease and increase the chance of a blood clot. This is especially concerning for people with PAD as their arteries are already narrowed and blood flow is more difficult. 

High altitude is also a concern as it affects PAD. Although cabins are pressurized, air may be thin at times and this puts more strain on the heart to pump blood throughout the body.

As a person with PAD, it’s best to be prepared and know the facts. Here are 6 things you can do to make flying safer and more comfortable:

#1: Keep medications readily available

Put your medications in your carry-on instead of your checked luggage. Before leaving the house, make sure to take pictures of your prescriptions and their dosages just in case you lose them.

#2: Stay hydrated

As soon as you get through security, purchase a large bottle of water and drink it. Fill it up before boarding the plane and continue to drink it on the flight. Studies have shown that proper hydration can reduce claudification. To prevent dehydration, avoid alcohol before and during the flight. 

#3: Wear compression socks 

Compression socks help improve blood flow throughout the legs. Talk with your doctor to determine if you need them and what kind. 

#4: Move around at least every 2 hours

Unfortunately, space is quite limited on a flight, but it’s still important to stretch your legs. Get up and use the bathroom. Take a walk up and down the aisle. Keep leg room clear so you can move around more. You can also do this exercise several times in your seat which requires pulling your knees up to your chest and holding them there for 15 seconds. 

#5: Know the symptoms of a blood clot

Get medical help right away if you suspect a blood clot. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Warmth on the affected area

  • Change of color

  • Cramping

  • Trouble breathing

  • Excessive swelling

#6: Avoid excessive salt

Longer flights normally provide meals. This food may have more sodium than you’re normally used to. Be sure to pack healthy, low sodium options in your carry-on. The buildup of excessive sodium can exacerbate PAD symptoms.

Before traveling, please consult with a physician. Vascular Associates of South Alabama is the leading provider of vascular care in South Alabama. We welcome the opportunity to treat you. 

Contact Us!

PHONE: 251-410-8272 
FAX: (251) 410-8273
EMAIL: info@myvasadoc.net

Resources: 

5 Ways to Slow  the Progression  of Peripheral  Artery Disease.png

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) can be a difficult condition to live with as it affects blood flow to the extremities and organs. This illness should never be left untreated as it could lead to life-threatening complications like stroke, amputation, kidney disease and heart attack. 

While there isn’t currently a cure for PAD, the symptoms from the disease can be managed with lifestyle changes or even minimally-invasive procedures. Making these changes can help slow the progression of the disease and its symptoms. Here’s five ways:

#1: Exercise Regularly 

No need to start off by running a marathon… Walking is a perfectly good exercise to reduce the development of PAD symptoms. In fact, studies have found that the severity of PAD symptoms is less when patients engage in regular physical activity. Remember, consistency is key! 

#2: Stop Smoking

Smoking is terrible for one’s health for numerous reasons, but it’s especially troublesome for patients with PAD. When it comes to this disease, smoking increases the risk of complications and death as it constricts the arteries. Upon diagnosis, patients should work with their physician to develop a plan that helps them quit smoking as soon as possible.

#3: Eat Healthy 

A healthy diet is always recommended as it helps with health issues like diabetes and high cholesterol. With PAD, many patients have underlying conditions that are positively affected by a healthier meal plan. Many physicians suggest the Mediterranean diet as it reduces the consumption of dairy and red meat which may contribute to arterial plaque. 

#4: Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption

Excessive drinking can affect the heart and its ability to pump blood throughout the body. PAD already causes narrowed vessels. Mixed with cardiomyopathy, PAD symptoms may be worsened. The best course of action is to entirely cut out or limit the amount of alcohol consumed. 

#5: Take Care of the Feet

PAD is worsened by diabetes and can worsen diabetic peripheral neuropathy. To prevent ulcers or amputation, it’s important to follow proper foot care like:

  • Treating infections immediately

  • Washing feet regularly and thoroughly

  • Inspecting for injuries

  • Visiting the doctor promptly when something won’t heal

Before making any changes to your lifestyle, please consult with a physician. Vascular Associates of South Alabama is the leading provider of vascular care in South Alabama. We welcome the opportunity to treat you. 

Contact Us!

PHONE: 251-410-8272 
FAX: (251) 410-8273
EMAIL: info@myvasadoc.net

Resources: 

https://modernvascular.com/category/pad/ 

Vascular Blog.png

 

A vascular surgeon is a highly-trained specialist who treats vascular diseases and provides comprehensive vascular care. Vascular disease is defined as “any condition that affects your circulatory system, or system of blood vessels” by Cleveland Clinic. Types of vascular disease include atherosclerosis, peripheral artery disease, carotid artery disease and pulmonary embolism.

Do they always operate?

While vascular surgeons do perform surgery, they also treat patients using only lifestyle changes and preventative health plans. Some conditions, like Peripheral Artery Disease, can be managed with exercise and a healthy diet. 

Why would I need a vascular surgeon?

Normally, a patient’s primary care doctor will refer them to a vascular surgeon if they’ve been recently diagnosed with vascular disease, present with pain in their legs or are at high risk. Patients with diabetes or who smoke may need to start a relationship and work on slowing the progression of vascular diseases. Some people may skip the general practitioner entirely after an unexpected trip to the hospital that’s related to vascular disease. 

What should I look for in a vascular specialist?

A patient needs a board-certified vascular surgeon who is highly trained in a multitude of innovative vascular treatments and procedures. They should be training on the latest technology and looking for modern care techniques. It’s also beneficial if they have an in-house, endovascular outpatient lab with their own staff.

Why choose Vascular Associates of South Alabama?

Our practice has the technology, team and knowledge to handle all vascular conditions using expert limb salvage services, minimally invasive procedures and preventative health plans. We have Alabama’s first, outpatient endovascular lab at our Mobile office. This allows us to treat even the most complex venous and arterial diseases quickly and comfortably.

Before making any changes, please consult with a physician. Vascular Associates of South Alabama is the leading provider of vascular care in South Alabama. We welcome the opportunity to treat you. 

Resources: 

 
Contact Us!

PHONE: 251-410-8272 
FAX: (251) 410-8273
EMAIL: info@myvasadoc.net

 

Behaviors That May Reduce Your Chances of a Stroke.png

You’re waking up from a great night out with family or friends.  Food, drinks, dancing, and most importantly, laughter were the menu of the evening.  You stretch as you rise and think to yourself, “didn’t Bill tell some funny stories at the dinner table…” Suddenly, things get a little fuzzy, wobbly, out of focus.  Your head is pounding.  You reach out for the wall to steady yourself, but your legs feel weak, your face numb and tingly.  You want to call out for help, but the words won’t come.  Panic sets in, and the harder you try, the more difficult the simplest tasks become.  

 

Just then, someone nearby hears a noise and comes to check and see if you are feeling the after-effects of all that dancing when they see you and know something is terribly wrong…

 

If you’re lucky, you won’t be one of the nearly 800,000 people in the United States that suffers a stroke every year.  You won’t be one of those that has a stroke in the U.S. about every 40 seconds.  If you did experience one, you’ll be lucky if your stroke is not one of the approximately 87% that blocks blood flow to the brain, often causing permanent damage or disability. 

 

Does the scenario just described or the stroke statistics sound like something out of a scary movie?  It may be the season for it, but these frightening figures and effects of a stroke are real. Very, very real.

 

Consider This

 

Not including the current pandemic, strokes are the fourth leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and are a major contributor to disability.  However, we are a rugged bunch, an independent, pull yourself up by the bootstraps kind of folks, so we often discount symptoms (like mini-strokes, which are a temporary lack of blood to the brain).  And though all indications point to a stroke, we often won’t head for the nearest treatment facility. However, that poor decision could very well change the course of your life.  

 

There Is A Way

 

So, now that we’ve covered some terrifying information and possibilities, let’s talk about how we can reduce the chance for a stroke while at the same time improving our quality of life.  After all, any age is much too young to have a stroke.

 

Walking.  A walk – pace quickened a little, will do wonders for reducing the chances for a stroke by reducing body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol.  Leading health organizations recommend about 30 minutes of light to vigorous aerobic exercise a day for 5 days a week for adults. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also look better, and your opportunity for being a stroke statistic nosedive.

 

In addition to walking or other forms of exercise, you can lower your heart rate by changing your eating habits.  Lower the salt, eat healthier, and drink plenty of water, and suddenly your feeling 16 again! Okay, maybe not 16, but you will notice a pep in your step, and again, with exercise, you’re becoming a beacon of health and working to keep a stroke at bay.

 

Cut the smoking! Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation techniques.  The sooner you stop, the faster your body will start to heal itself.  Not only will you reduce the chance of stroke, but you reduce the risk of heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease (discussed in a previous blog), and even premature death.

 

Limit the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption.  Not to mention heavy binge drinking, frequent drinking or alcohol abuse, even a consistent amount of moderate drinking can adversely affect your health.  Increased blood pressure and weight, as well as the higher risk of diabetes or liver damage, can contribute to the possibility of a stroke.  

 

Vascular Associates of South Alabama 

 

Now that we’ve outlined what you can do to help yourself, let’s talk briefly about what the caring team at Vascular Associates of South Alabama can do for you.  Our highly trained and experienced specialists partner with our patients to help identify those at risk and may order a specific ultrasound exam to get a better look at their carotid arteries and then develop a plan of action based on the results of the ultrasound.  We may discuss changes in the habits mentioned above, prescribe medications to help reduce some stroke indicators or explore the option of surgery to help with blood flow.

 

You can trust that our caring staff at any of our convenient locations will make you and your health our utmost priority.  We welcome new patients and accept almost every major medical insurance plan.  

 

Come see us at Vascular Associates of South Alabama, and let’s work together to get you back on the road to better health!

 

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