Managing your Atherosclerosis

shutterstock 1367408030 It is estimated that 1 out of every 58 American adults has atherosclerosis. This vascular condition occurs when fatty plaques adhere to the walls of coronary arteries. Buildup of arterial plaques causes the arteries to narrow and, over time, harden. Thus, atherosclerosis is aptly referred to as “hardening or narrowing of the arteries.” Atherosclerosis not only impedes blood flow to certain areas of the body, such as the heart, it also increases the risk of stroke via a blood clot dislodging from an artery. For these reasons, it is essential that patients diagnosed with this condition seek proper management care. Here, we discuss a few. 

Lifestyle Changes for Atherosclerosis

One of the very best things a person can do to manage their atherosclerosis is to take a good, hard look at their lifestyle habits. Multiple studies have shown that lifestyle modifications can slow or even reverse some of the plaque formation that has occurred. Suggestions include:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. The risk factors associated with atherosclerosis can be brought under control by eating for a healthy heart and regulated blood sugar. A heart-healthy diet generally includes whole grains and soluble fiber, fresh fruits, and vegetables. It is low in sodium, trans fats and saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates.
  • Make movement a priority. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other potentially serious conditions. Daily exercise, even if only a 30 to 45 minute walk, helps the body receive and utilize oxygen more efficiently. Ideally, exercise will increase breathing and heart rate for at least 30 minutes at one time. 
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco use. The chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco products have been shown to damage the arteries and inhibit oxygen use.
  • Learn to manage stress. The average American lifestyle is relatively stressful. We are a productive bunch, and most people have a difficult time slowing down and caring for health and wellness, especially when it involves sleep and rest. To manage heart health, though, it is essential to manage stress well. Techniques like yoga, meditation, walking in nature, and deep breathing can help. 

Lifestyle changes are often the first recommendation given to patients diagnosed with atherosclerosis. A doctor may also prescribe medication to slow or reverse this condition. If lifestyle and medications do not improve cholesterol and arterial health, surgery such as angioplasty or endocardectomy may be necessary. Minor surgical procedures work by removing the blockages that have developed. 

Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center provides treatment for the full spectrum of arterial disease. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Hauppauge, Port Jefferson Station, or Riverhead location. 

Can I Manage Peripheral Artery Disease On My Own?

Peripheral artery disease measuring for patient ankle-brachial index (ABI) test limb ischemia. Medic hands working with device. Peripheral artery disease, called PAD for short, can be a chronic condition that leads to debilitation if not properly managed. Statistics tell us that about 9 million Americans have peripheral artery disease, making it an important topic of discussion for all adults. At Suffolk Vascular and Vein Center, we provide the most conservative care possible to patients living with peripheral artery disease and also discuss how they may manage their condition on their won when appropriate. 

Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease

PAD is a disease that involves the circulatory system. It occurs when the extremities farthest from the heart, the feet and legs, don’t receive the nutrients and oxygenation needed for adequate function. While we usually see peripheral artery disease in these lower extremities, symptoms may occur elsewhere. One reason that PAD may develop is that the heart does not pump the blood forcefully enough to reach the distal extremities. Another is that the arteries that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body are coated with arterial plaque. This plaque is formed of cholesterol, fatty deposits, and calcium. 

Factors that can contribute to the onset of peripheral artery disease include:

  • Age. PAD is usually diagnosed in adults over age 50.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • An unhealthy diet that is high in fatty foods.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Smoking.

Symptoms of PAD

The symptoms of PAD may look slightly different in every case. The following may range from mild to severe:

  • Leg pain, usually in the calf area
  • Discoloration of the skin  in the leg or foot
  • Leg cramps while sitting or standing
  • Slower toenail or hair growth
  • Constant coldness, only one leg or foot
  • Open leg sores that fail to heal

Treating Peripheral Artery Disease

Regardless of how mild the symptoms of peripheral artery disease are, they should not be ignored. When an appropriate diagnosis is made, the condition may respond well to conservative care, such as lifestyle modifications. Even if medical intervention is necessary, patients may support optimal results by increasing their physical activity. A 45-minute walk each day is sufficient to boost circulation and potentially ease PAD symptoms. Additionally, patients are encouraged to reduce their intake of fatty foods, sugar, and processed foods and increase the consumption of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein. Smoking should be strictly avoided. 

We are proud to serve the Hauppauge, Port Jefferson, and Riverhead NY areas. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to discuss treatment options for peripheral artery disease.

Minimally Invasive Vein Treatments

iStock 159737169 1 Vein health isn’t something that most people think about very often. Even when a person starts to notice a few spider veins or a little bulge in a vein in their calf or thigh, the concept of vein disease may not enter their mind. Spider veins and varicose veins are the two most common consequences of venous insufficiency, a condition in which the valves in small and larger veins do not work properly. While they are not preventable, these problems can be treated, and treated well with minimally invasive techniques. Here, we discuss a few. 

Compression Stockings

People don’t often think of compression stockings as a form of vein treatment. This is more of a remedy that can be managed at home, and should be when venous insufficiency is in its early stages. Compression stockings can be purchased online or at various pharmacies or medical supply stores. A doctor may also prescribe medical-grade compression stockings for more supportive care. Compression stockings work by narrowing the cross-section of a vein. With less side-to-side room, the valves in compressed veins are supported to close more efficiently. Better closure means less blood moving backward in the veins. 

Endovenous Radiofrequency Therapy

Endovenous treatment is delivered into the vein. Endovenous radiofrequency therapy works by delivering controlled waves of radiofrequency energy into a single vein at a time. Treatment is comfortably performed in the office using a tiny laser fiber. Ultrasound imaging guides the fiber to the affected area in the vein. Pulses of energy are emitted from the tip of the fiber, causing the inner walls of the vein to heat and collapse. Energy is delivered through the vein as the doctor slowly removes it to ensure adequate closure. 


Many people have heard of sclerotherapy. This office treatment can be used to close spider veins and minor varicose veins. It is an injection therapy that is comfortable without the need for anesthetic. To close bulging veins, the doctor makes multiple tiny injections into the superficial vein, delivering a sclerosing medication. This FDA-approved drug is one that causes controlled inflammation within the vein, resulting in the walls sticking together. The vein collapses and gets absorbed by the body. 

Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center offers a variety of proven vein treatments. To discuss your options, contact an office near you. We proudly serve Hauppauge, Riverhead, and Port Jefferson Station, NY.

Does Insurance Pay for Varicose Vein Treatment?

Dermatologist Removing Patient's Vascular Veins with Laser. There is no good reason to live with varicose veins, but many people do. The idea that these ropy, bulging veins are merely a cosmetic problem is a misconception. For many people, varicose veins make daily tasks more than a little uncomfortable. The idea that varicose veins are cosmetic could cause a person who is a perfect candidate for vein treatment to put off seeing a vein specialist. Treatments that are performed for cosmetic purposes are not covered by insurance. Therefore, varicose vein treatment wouldn’t be covered, would it? Not so fast! This is the very thinking that could result in unnecessary pain and stress. Here, we answer the question that some never think to ask: will insurance pay for varicose vein treatment?

Criteria for Varicose Vein Treatment

We do understand why it can be easy to assume vein treatment would not qualify for medical insurance coverage. In some cases, this is true. Spider veins, for example, are more cosmetically concerning. They rarely hurt and do not turn into varicose veins. Fully developed varicose veins, on the other hand, can be disruptive to a quality life. Generally speaking, insurance companies, including Medicare, will extend coverage for vein treatments when they are deemed medically necessary. How do they decide? With various criteria such as the following.

  • Varicose veins are significantly symptomatic. 

If you have symptomatic varicose veins, you know it. They ache. They throb. Your skin may itch or burn or look discolored. Additional symptoms include skin ulcerations, phlebitis, and blood clots. Varicose veins can also be an underlying cause of restless legs syndrome. These are all indications that vein treatment may be medically necessary. 

  • Symptoms affect daily life.

Varicose veins that burn, itch, ache, and cramp can make it difficult to stand or sit for long periods. Some people with varicose vein symptoms have to take frequent breaks at work to put their feet up, even if they wear compression stockings. Being unable to work a full-time job is also a sign that vein treatment is medically necessary, as is being unable to stand long enough to cook meals or do household chores comfortably. 

  • Conservative treatment for 6-12 weeks.

One of the guidelines that seems to be consistent across most insurance companies is the requirement to have tried conservative vein therapies for a period of several weeks. Many companies require patients to wear medical grade compression stockings for 6 to 12 weeks before they will approve vein treatment like sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation. Medical grade compression stockings usually have to be prescribed by a physician. A vascular specialist may be the perfect doctor to do this. 

Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center offers state-of-the-art vascular and vein disease treatment. We serve all of Suffolk County. To schedule a consultation, contact an office near you. 

What Are the Signs of a Blood Clot?

Deep vein thrombosis - blood disorder abstract. The signs of a blood clot depend on the type of clot and where it forms in your body. Deep vein thrombosis is indicated by clots that are located deep within the veins of your body, and they do not move from that location. An embolism is a clot that has broken free and travels elsewhere in your body, often to the brain or lungs.

The initial signs of a clot are not always obvious:

  •         Swelling
  •         Skin is warm to the touch
  •         Pain and tenderness
  •         Redness

The symptoms above would most commonly appear in the legs, thigh, pelvis, and abdomen. If you have a clot in your leg, the calf of that leg may appear red and swollen when you compare it to your other leg. The skin may feel warm to the touch.

These symptoms could very well be linked to another health issue, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you are concerned. You know your body the best. Seek diagnosis for anything that is concerning or unusual.

More severe symptoms of blood clot are often what set off alarms for the people experiencing them:

  •         Chest pain
  •         Pain when taking a deep breath
  •         Coughing up blood
  •         Rapid heartbeat
  •         Weakness in your limbs or face
  •         Difficulty speaking
  •         Sudden, crushing headache

These symptoms could indicate an embolism or another life-threatening health problem. You should seek emergency medical treatment if you experience them.

Symptoms can be highly variable, and sometimes the person experiencing the symptoms mistakes what they are feeling for something else. It’s important to contact your doctor – or the emergency room, if necessary – if something feels wrong to you. Diagnosing and treating a blood clot early is an important part of avoiding the most severe repercussions.

If you are searching for experienced vascular doctors and vascular surgeons in Riverhead, Port Jefferson, or Hauppauge, NY, please contact Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center to arrange a consultation. For people with blood clots that need to be treated, our experienced doctors utilize effective techniques for the given situation. Treatment may include blood thinners, drugs to remove clots, or surgery to remove clots.

Can I Reverse Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral artery disease measuring for patient ankle-brachial index (ABI) test limb ischemia Peripheral arterial disease makes walking and physical activity downright painful. You may find that you’ve become far less mobile as the aches and pains of PAD strike every time you walk. Fortunately, treatments exist for your stage of PAD, even if it has progressed to a severe stage. Consult our experienced vascular doctors to find out what your options are for restoring your quality of life and preventing further complications.

Atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque in the artery walls – cannot necessarily be reversed. There is a little evidence showing that some people are able to reduce a minimal amount of existing plaque with lifestyle changes and medication, but treatment instead focuses on preventing the condition from worsening and restoring your ability to lead an active lifestyle.

Especially in the early stages of PAD, some combination of the following may alleviate symptoms and improve blood circulation to the abdomen and legs:

  •         Quitting smoking and any other tobacco use
  •         Increasing physical activity
  •         Adopting a regular exercise routine
  •         Improving your diet
  •         Taking prescribed medications
  •         Losing weight
  •         Improving diabetes management

Surgical treatment may be the best route if PAD has progressed. You may be living with daily pain, cramping, and aching in your legs, even after you’ve sat down or are resting. The condition may be increasing your risk for heart attack, stroke, loss of the affected limb, and poor wound healing. Our vascular specialists perform modern surgical PAD interventions, including balloon angioplasty and stent placement. We will make sure you know all of the options available to you given the circumstances of your diagnosis.

If you are searching for experienced vascular specialists in Riverhead, Port Jefferson, Hauppauge, or the nearby areas of New York, please contact Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced vascular doctors. We are here to discuss all of your options for treating and slowing the progression of peripheral artery disease.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

iStock 541269710 1 Enlarged, twisted, ropey veins are known as varicose veins. They can occur anywhere in your body but are most often seen in the legs. The source of varicose veins is increased pressure that arises when the blood doesn’t get pumped effectively back toward the heart.

Blood is pumped away from your heart and out to the rest of your body. The blood is recirculated by veins that pump the blood back to your heart. In your legs, the veins have to work against gravity to get the blood flowing up to the heart. Valves in the veins open to allow the blood to pass through and then close to prevent it from flowing backward. When these valves are damaged or weakened, some blood may flow backward and pool in the veins. This pooling of blood increases pressure and pushes against the walls of the vein, which then become visible as bulging, dark, twisted veins beneath your skin.

There are several risk factors that may contribute to the development of varicose veins:

  •         Family history
  •         Obesity or being overweight
  •         Pregnancy
  •         Getting older
  •         Long and repeated periods of standing in one place or sitting

Varicose veins may cause symptoms including pain, throbbing, itching, and the sensation of heaviness in your legs. But some people with this issue experience no symptoms at all other than the cosmetic drawback of dark blue or purple, twisted, visible veins. The pooling of blood may lead to swollen ankles and blood clots. If you are concerned, you should see your doctor who may recommend that you visit one of our vascular specialists. Relief from varicose veins is possible. Not only can you restore the appearance of your legs, but you can also eliminate the health-related issues associated with blood pooling in your veins.

If you are experiencing varicose veins, effective treatment options are available. The next step is to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced vascular surgeons and specialists in Port Jefferson, Hauppauge, or Riverhead, NY. To arrange your visit, please contact us today. We look forward to helping you find relief from varicose veins.

Welcome to my blog!

Within this regularly updated feature of my website, I will provide visitors with practice news and specials, as well as information regarding the most recent technological advances and new treatments.

I believe that patient education and open communication with your doctor are the keys to achieving healthy, aesthetically-pleasing results and patient satisfaction, which is why I strive to provide the highest quality of care for patients of all ages. This is done by combining technical skill and broad experience with cutting-edge technology for impeccable results.

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to visit my new blog. Please check back often to learn about the latest news, updates, and additions to the practice.

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