Veins and CVD: Tips to Control Your Blood Pressure

It’s no secret that one of the leading causes of varicose veins is high blood pressure. When blood vessels have excess amounts of pressure on them, it does not allow blood to flow through the veins easily and ultimately leads to blood pooling in sections of veins. While varicose veins are commonly a cosmetic problem only, severe cases can often lead to more serious problems as well.

Here are 8 lifestyle changes you can start making today to keep manage your blood pressure:

  1. Lose a Few Extra Pounds – as weight increases, blood pressure often increases also which makes weight loss one of the best and most effective ways of managing your blood pressure. Additionally, paying close attention to your waistline may also help as carrying excess weight around the hips may put you at greater risk of developing high blood pressure.
  2. Exercise Regularly – getting at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3-5 days a week can greatly impact your blood pressure. Regular exercise will help balance out your blood pressure and can lower to regular levels over time.
  3. Focus on Your Diet – consume foods you know will benefit your overall health! Eating whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables can help lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mmHg.
  4. Watch Your Sodium Intake – pay attention to your food labels for hidden salt! Even a small reduction can change your blood pressure by 2 to 8mmHg. Try not salting your foods and consuming fewer process foods to keep your sodium intake below 1,500mg per day.
  5. Limit Alcohol Intake – while some alcohol can be good for your health, drinking more than the average moderate amount can increase your blood pressure and even reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. If you are on blood pressure medications, consult your physician.
  6. Quit Smoking – smoking not only directly affects your blood pressure, but also has lasting effects even minutes after your finish. Quitting smoking will not only help your blood pressure return to normal, but will increase life expectancy.
  7. Reduce Stress Levels – chronic stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure and can lead to other life choices that have even greater effects. Try using a healthy activity to lower your stress levels like yoga, a long walk or time meditating.
  8. Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly – regular visits to your physician or monitoring your blood pressure at home can greatly help hold yourself accountable and motivate you to make the proper decisions to get your number under control!

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Fitness Apps to Help Keep You Accountable through 2017

The New Year is the best time to reevaluate your health, set new fitness goals and motivate yourself to meet those goals in 2017. Because our Smart Phones are in our homes, car, and office, fitness and health apps make tracking exercise and diet easier than ever!

Here is a list of our top favorite health and fitness apps to help you reach our goals this year!

My Fitness Pal

The best way to hold yourself accountable for your diet is to track your meals, snacks and water. My Fitness Pal will do it all for you! My Fitness Pal has one of the largest databases of foods, so you never have to wonder if what you’re eating will be able to track. Equipped with a barcode, you can even scan any food item to avoid manually. Another reason My Fitness Pal is our ultimate health go-to, if you are a Fitbit user, simply sync the two together and you can track your exercise and get a close estimate of your calories in versus your calories out!

Download: iTunes App Store | Google Play

Price: Free or purchase a Premium subscription option for more features.

My Macros + Diet

If you aren’t familiar with tracking your macros, this is a great way to make sure you are getting your calories from all the right sources and in the right amounts! This app will track over 5 million food items and get detailed insight on how your diet is impacting your goals.

Download: iTunes App Store

Price: Free

Nike+ Training Club

This app is your personal trainer on the go. Fully loaded with 100+ workouts and visual guides, this is perfect for an at home workout when you couldn’t quite make it to the gym, or for the gym or park. With expert personal trainers leading you through your workout, the app will also create a personalized training plan based on your needs as you go. This app will definitely have you reaching all your goals in no time!

Download: iTunes App Store | Google Play

Price: Free


Another personal trainer on the go, but more for the cardio junkie! This app will have you feeling like you’re in a spin class every day! With trainers talking you through every ride, run or elliptical workout, they crank up the intensity but also cool you down. Time flies when there is someone in your ear motivating you through the workout and who is with you every step of the way!

Download: iTunes App Store | Google Play

Price: $9.99/month

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Happy Trails: Snowshoeing through Winter Months

Winter months take a huge toll on the body; whether it’s less exercise or holiday food, it gets tough to keep up with your healthy habits! As we age, our major joints (knees, hips and shoulders) cannot keep up how they used to in our earlier ski bum days. While skiing is typically very tough on the knees and hips, putting great amounts of stress on crucial joints, snowshoeing is the perfect alternative as a form of low-impact, low joint stress winter exercise that will torch those stubborn holiday calories!

While not only a great workout, snowshoeing also provides great benefits to your major joints such as your knees and hips, and even your back. As a workout that covers all major bases, snowshoeing is a great calorie burner, fat burner, cardiovascular conditioning exercise, strength builder, and works to increase balance and agility. Able to burn upward of 1,000 calories in only an hour, this is an activity the whole family and even your dogs can enjoy! Pack a thermos of hot chocolate and head out for an afternoon! (Source)

Here is a list of some of the best snowshoeing trails to try in the Reno/Tahoe/Truckee area! Try something new this winter and keep your veins happy and healthy through the holidays and winter months! Happy trails!

Donner Pass to Mount Judah Trail

Distance: 5 miles

Skill Level: Moderate


Donner Memorial State Park


Eagle Point and Emerald Bay Trail

Distance: 4 miles

Skill Level: Easy to Moderate


Blackwood Canyon to Barker Pass Trail

Distance: 14 miles

Skill Level: Moderate


Meeks Creek Trail

Distance: 3.8 miles

Skill Level: Easy


Loch Leven Lakes Trail

Distance: 7.4 miles

Skill Level: Moderate to Strenuous

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Stay Healthy Through the Holidays

As the holidays are quickly approaching, this time of year is always the hardest to keep up with healthy eating and regular exercise. While indulging in your favorite sweets, Thanksgiving dishes and family traditions, your health does not always need to go by the wayside…completely.  Easy swaps and simple changes can make a huge difference in how you feel (and look) during and after the holiday season. Here are 7 tips to stay on track through the holidays and get a jump-start on that New Year’s Resolution!

  1. Stay Active – While you may not want to take an hour to go to the gym while the family is in town, creating a fun way to get the whole family to participate is a great way to get active before the food coma hits. Organize a family flag football game for Thanksgiving morning before cooking ensues or take a walk and look at the stars after you’ve eaten!
  2. Lighten Up Typical Meals – No one will even notice these simple swaps, but they will notice they feel much better the day after! A few simple suggestions are to use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey or make gravy, reduce butter and oil wherever you can and try using plain Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream in dips, casseroles, and mashed potatoes.
  3. Watch Your Portions – The table may look like an all you cat eat buffet, but being mindful of your serving sizes may be the trick to keep your pants fitting! Instead of loading up on mashed potatoes, which are available all year, fill your plate up first with the seasonal favorites!
  4. Enjoy Each Other’s Company – Enjoying conversation, putting the fork down between bites and tasting each mouthful will leave you feeling more satisfied after just one plate instead of not allowing your stomach to tell your brain, “that’s enough!” Try to fill up first on fiber-rich foods and foods that hold water to feel more full.
  5. Sip Your Alcohol – Alcohol calories add up quickly! While it is easy to get caught in the moment on the day and want to out drink your Uncle, you will not be feeling great the next day, and will be drinking way too many calories you would rather be eating! Instead, stay hydrated throughout the day and enjoy a glass of wine with the feast!
  6. Be Realistic – While you may not lose weight during the holidays, focusing on maintenance will change your attitude about eating and indulging. While limiting yourself may cause a big binge meal at the end of the week, indulging slightly throughout the week will make maintaining weight easier and even easier to kick off a few pounds after the holidays pass.
  7. Focus on What Matters – While the holidays are the best time of year to indulge, they are also a time to create lasting memories with the friends and family you spend them with. Instead of creating memories around food, take food out of the picture and focus on the people who are surrounding you for them!



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Avoiding Varicose Vein Development During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it’s no secret that the female body goes through many diverse changes.  While many of these changes are internal and may not be visible to the eye, some are not so subtle.  Varicose vein development is common in roughly 50-60% of women and pregnancy greatly increases risks of early development due to pressure on the veins and reduced circulation.  While the cause of varicose veins is unknown, during pregnancy there are several precautions you can take to prevent development such as:

  • Exercise and walk regularly.
  • Elevate your legs early on in pregnancy stages.
  • Avoid standing for prolonged periods of time.
  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
  • Control weight gain during pregnancy (additional weight will put more unwanted pressure on veins and circulation).
  • Avoid tight clothing that may compress waist or groin.
  • Limit salt intake to avoid excess water retention.

While these practices do not guarantee 100% prevention, being proactive and taking preventative actions will greatly reduce your chances of varicose veins occurring during pregnancy and reduce risk of future development as well. Varicose veins do worsen if not treated properly over time and can sometimes lead to more serious complications, such as venous ulceration, venous eczema and bleeding.  If you do develop varicose veins during pregnancy, there are treatment options available to reduce visibility and side effects. Call us at (775) 329-3100 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about treatment options.  (Source)

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3 Major Diet Tips to Fight Varicose Veins

When it comes to eating healthy, we should not just be thinking about bikini season, but overall health and how our everyday choices are preparing us for (or damaging) our future. Whether you have existing varicose veins or are being proactive and fighting the symptoms, these 3 easy diet tips can help your veins stay healthy and strong for years to come.

Consume more fiber

Fiber is a key ingredient to maintaining healthy veins. Soluble fibers from foods including oats, flaxseed, beans, apples, carrots, barley and berries allow for softer stools and will not put additional pressure on your veins. Because soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with water, stools will be softer and prevent added pressure from building up.

 Stay hydrated

As mentioned above, water is also crucial in preventing added pressure on veins all throughout your body. By drinking water throughout the day, blood will be able to flow easily through the body without additional pressure.

Consume Vitamins C & E

Vitamins C and E, both powerhouse antioxidants, are crucial in maintaining connective tissue throughout the body and help to keep veins strong and toned. When consumed together, C and E have stronger effects on blood vessels and make for healthier vein activity overall. Available in foods such as, fruits, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli and berries, this combo is a varicose vein-fighting dynamic duo.


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Red Wine and Vein Health

Sure we’ve maybe heard that a glass or two every now and then can actually be beneficial to our health. Red wine is a dose depended drink, meaning a little can show health benefits, while too much can become unhealthy. Dependent on varietal, red wine provides resveratrol, an anti aging antioxidant as well as phytonutrients like flavonols and flavonoids. Here’s how they work to help your vascular health:

Flavanols: Wine contains flavanols which are phytonutrients linked to maintaining heart health, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells and boosting antioxidant defenses in cells. Phytonutrients, like flavanols, are naturally produced by plants to protect them from viruses, bacteria and fungi. Similarly, in the body phytonutrients appear to reduce your risk of diseases by working as antioxidants to fight free radicals. Phytochemicals/phytonutrients are what provide the aroma, texture, flavor and color of foods.

Flavonoids: This is another phytonutrient group found in wine and includes resveratrol. These are linked to heart health, urinary tract health and antioxidant defenses. Specifically for resveratrol, these phytochemicals may increases the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Also being researched is if resveratrol boosts the natural clot-dissolving enzyme, which could help reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

So, if you are a wine drinker, go ahead and have ONE glass! If not, no worries, while there is some added nutritional benefits, it’s always healthiest to abstain from alcoholic beverages.

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