5 Things You Didn’t Know About Migraines

Migraines can be debilitating to those who get them. They can range in symptoms from throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, nausea, vomiting, to extreme sensitivity to sound and light. Attacks can last for hours, even days, keeping you from work or regular activities. Some people get warning symptoms before the headache begins, such as blind spots, tingling, or flashes of light. Read below about 5 things you may not know about migraines.

1. Migraine causes are undetermined.

Science does not yet know what causes migraines although environmental factors and genetics can have influences. Changes to the brainstem and how it interacts with the trigeminal nerve may contribute to them. Brain chemicals such as serotonin may also contribute to migraines. Research is ongoing as to how these parts of the brain play a part in migraine headaches.

2. Migraine triggers can set off a headache.

There are many common triggers of migraine headaches. Managing and being aware of these triggers is one way to reduce migraines. These triggers include hormonal changes especially in women, foods and food additives, alcohol and caffeine, stress and sensory stimuli, sleep patterns, physical exertion, weather or barometric fluctuations, and some medications.

3. Managing migraines can cause additional issues.

Managing migraines reduces pain and other symptoms, but can also cause additional problems. Some pain relievers can cause abdominal upset including ulcers. Overuse of medications can cause addiction or overuse symptoms. Some migraine medications can cause serotonin syndrome, which can affect cognition, behavior, muscle control, and even may result in death.

4. Lifestyle changes can prevent migraines.

Some lifestyle changes have been proven to help reduce or eliminate migraines in patients including:

  • Learn to cope strategy
  • Consistent daily schedule
  • Regular exercise
  • Reducing estrogen
  • Using transcutaneous supraorbital nerve stimulation device (t-SNS)

5. Migraine symptoms may mimic other disease symptoms.

Migraine symptoms often mimic symptoms of other conditions. These symptoms include:

  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles in legs or arms
  • Weakness in face or part of body
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Hearing sounds or music
  • Jerking uncontrollably

Since getting a migraine is a serious condition, it is important to seek a physician trained in migraine care such as a vascular doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Migraines can last from four to 72 hours on average.

If you suffer from frequent migraines, the Georgia Vascular Institute is here to help. GVI uses a SphenoCath device to provide a procedure called a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block. This quick, simple, and comfortable in-office procedure provides immediate relief to migraine and headache pain through administering anesthetics to the nasal cavity. This procedure blocks the pain without needles, cotton swabs, or harsh medicines. With low risks and high success rates, it is safe for adults and children alike.

The professionals at GVI are here to halt the pain and disruptions to everyday life that migraines cause. Reach out to our migraine specialists today by scheduling an appointment. We have several convenient locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.

What to Do When You Have a Foot or Leg Ulcer

Ulcers are open sores or wounds on your feet or legs that won’t heal or keep coming back after healing. They are painful and can keep you from physical activity. They are also a place that can become easily infected. Learn what you can do when you have a foot or leg ulcer below.


Foot and leg ulcers can be caused by many medical issues including:

  • Insufficient or poor circulation in the legs or feet
  • Venous insufficiency (congestion in leg veins caused by valve failure)
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in the legs and feet
  • Inflammatory diseases such as lupus
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • History of smoking (even if you quit)
  • Lying in one position too long (such as bedridden patients)
  • Genetics
  • Malignant tumor
  • Infection
  • Medications

Prevention and Treatment


To keep ulcers from forming, you’ll need to adopt a healthy lifestyle by reducing the risk factors. Start by:

  • Managing your blood pressure
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Limiting salt
  • Managing diabetes
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Prevention and treatment go hand-in-hand. To prevent further ulcers, begin by taking care of your legs and feet regularly. People with diabetes must check their own feet daily and have their physicians check them periodically. Sores that are discovered early are easier to manage. Wash your feet and legs daily with mild soap and lukewarm water. If you have an ulcer, washing will help any debris loosen and drainage clear. Gently dry skin thoroughly.

Examine your legs and feet daily thoroughly including between toes. Look for any cuts or cracks, ingrown toenails, corns, or calluses. Use a lanolin-based cream to moisturize your skin in the morning and before bed. Don’t apply lotion on open sores or cuts. Cut toenails regularly after bathing when they are softer. Cut straight across and smooth with emery board or file.


Treatment will relieve pain, and help sores heal faster. Your doctor will prescribe individualized treatment depending on the causes and types of ulcers you have. Treatments can include any or all of the following:

  • Antibiotics for infection
  • Medications to prevent blood clots
  • Topical care for ulcers
  • Compression stockings (to increase circulation)
  • Orthotics or prosthetics

For more information on foot and leg ulcers, make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute today by calling 770-506-4007. We have several convenient locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Decatur, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.

Georgia Vascular Institute Offers Telemedicine Appointments to Uterine Fibroid Patients

Georgia Vascular Institute is proud to introduce the newest service offered to Dr. Kevin Carson’s patients: telemedicine appointments. This easy-to-use and easy-to-understand appointment feature allows Dr. Carson to videochat with his patients that may be candidates for uterine fibroid treatment, combining convenience and medical expertise. All a patient has to do is click “Schedule a Telemedicine Appointment” on the GVI homepage and follow the step-by -step instructions. A patient can schedule an online appointment, receive email confirmation, and sync the appointment time with their calendar all in one place.

When it comes time for the telemedicine appointment, all the patient has to do is logon with a computer that has microphone and webcam capabilities and use our secure videoconference software, DoxyMe. The Doxy Me software link is located in the confirmation email as well as on Step Two of the “Schedule a Telemedicine Appointment” page. It’s as easy and simple as that!

We offer this service as a way to speak to patients who otherwise might not be able to make it to see Dr. Carson in person, for those struggling with a long commute or other issues strict work schedules. These patients now have the option to stay at work or at home while still receiving high-quality healthcare.

It is our hope to be able to reach more and more patients with this opportunity. Check out this innovative service yourself by clicking here!

5 Questions Women Should Ask About Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are a common condition in women, but they elicit a number of important questions. Here’s what you may wish to ask your doctor if you suspect you have fibroids.

Who Is Most At Risk for Uterine Fibroids?

Women ages 35 and older are at a higher risk for these fibrous tumors, with 20 to 40 percent of women in this age group having fibroids that are of significant size. For African-American women, the risk is even higher. Up to 50 percent of women in this group have significantly sized fibroids.

What Are the Symptoms?

Pelvic pain is the most common symptom. Heavy menstrual periods that go on longer than normal, and that may contain clots, can be a sign of fibroids. There may also be pelvic pressure, pain in your legs and back, pressure on your bladder that leads to frequent urination, bloating, an enlarged abdomen and constipation. The symptoms that are present will depend on the number of fibroids present, their location, and their size.

Do All Fibroids Require Treatment?

These non-cancerous growths are caused by estrogen, and they are extremely common in women. Only about 10 to 20 percent of women with these growths need treatment for them. Most of them don’t cause any symptoms at all; however, when they do begin to grow large enough to cause symptoms, treatment may be needed.

How Are They Diagnosed? 

An ultrasound is generally the first diagnostic tool used to check for uterine fibroids. Once they have been located, an MRI will give your doctor a better look at the size and positioning of the tumors. Both of these imaging tests are non-invasive and completely painless.

What Treatments Are Available?

The treatment that you may need for fibroids will depend on the size and placement of them. Small uterine fibroids may require no treatment at all. For many women, a non-surgical uterine fibroid embolization is a non-invasive way to treat the condition and ease the symptoms. With this treatment, the patient is sedated but does not have to undergo general anesthesia. A tiny incision is made allowing the doctor to place a catheter into the femoral artery. This catheter releases tiny particles into the uterine arteries that feed the tumor. These particles block the flow of blood to the growth so that it will shrink and go away.

If you have any additional questions about uterine fibroids, feel free to contact Dr. Carson at 770-506-4007 today to make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute. We have several locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.

Dr. Kevin Carson of Georgia Vascular Institute Appears on WSB Radio’s “The Weekly Check-Up”

Dr. Kevin L. Carson from Georgia Vascular Institute was recently featured on “The Weekly Check-Up with Dr. Bruce Feinberg” on WSB-AM 750 and 95.5 FM. Dr. Carson, a uterine fibroid expert, sat down with host Dr. Bruce Feinberg on the June 25th show.

As an Atlanta local for the past twenty years, Dr. Carson witnessed firsthand the dire healthcare needs in his community from an early age. Inspired by those needs, and the women in his family who battled uterine fibroids, Dr. Carson set his sights on a career in medicine.

“One of the things that drives a physician’s passion is when they see something that is not happening — a void within medicine,” Dr. Carson explained on the show. From the lack of physicians available to the challenges of access and awareness, the problems that he observed were stark. Dr. Carson set out to help the women in his community that were suffering from uterine fibroids after completing his extensive medical training at Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Temple University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts, and Columbia University.

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous masses that grow on the walls of the uterus. Dr. Carson explained during his interview that some women do not experience any symptoms from this condition, while others experience heavy bleeding, pain, and problems with intimacy.

“80 percent of women of color and 60 percent of most other women will develop fibroids. Most women will not experience symptoms,” Dr. Carson said. “Of the 80 percent of women of color that will develop fibroids, 20 percent will develop symptoms and about 10-15 percent of other women will develop symptoms.”

Dr. Carson and Dr. Feinberg discussed historical treatment options as well as a non-invasive treatment called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE). This outpatient procedure involves creating a small incision in the groin area and inserting a small catheter into the femoral artery. Using real-time imaging, Dr. Carson explained that the physician guides the catheter through the artery and then releases miniscule particles, the size of grains of sand, into the uterine arteries that supply blood to the fibroid tumor. By doing so, this prevents blood from flowing to the fibroid tumor, causing the fibroids to shrink and eventually go away.

Listen to Dr. Carson’s full interview on The Weekly Check-Up and learn about uterine fibroids treatment.

Can What You Eat Cause Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects the blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body. PAD is usually the result of narrowed or clogged arteries that in turn poorly transport blood to the farthest points in the body such as the arms and legs. This narrowing of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, is the most common cause of PAD. Atherosclerosis is often the result of an unbalanced diet, as eating certain foods increases the risk for atherosclerosis.

In other words, what you eat can cause peripheral arterial disease.

About PAD

Peripheral arterial disease, also known as peripheral artery disease, is a common problem that affects eight to 12 million people in the United States. Peripheral artery disease can develop at any age, but it is more common among individuals above the age of 50. While PAD affects men and women equally, diabetic women suffer worse outcomes from PAD compared with diabetic men.

Cholesterol and scar tissue can build up on the inside of blood vessels. With time, fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood can collect inside arteries and turn into plaque. PAD develops when plaque blocks the arteries in a way that prevents blood from flowing through the vessel. In some cases, PAD can develop when blood clots lodge in arteries and clog blood flow. Peripheral arterial disease typically forms in arteries of the legs, but may develop in other arteries of the body.

Signs and symptoms develop when arteries clog so severely that they cannot deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to tissues, including nerves. One of the main symptoms of PAD is leg pain that begins when you walk or exercise and subsides when you rest. Other symptoms include numbness, tingling, and coldness in the lower legs. Sores, known as ulcers, may develop on the lower legs and feet in some advanced cases of PAD.

Additionally, certain factors including smoking, age, and other health conditions can increase the development of plaque and blood clots that lead to peripheral arterial disease.

While you cannot control some risk factors such as age, you can control many of the others. You can quit smoking and you can improve your diet, for example.

Eating the Right Diet to Reduce PAD

Eating the right foods can reduce your risk for PAD by decreasing the amount of blood cholesterol and fat that could turn into arterial plaque in the future. Reducing your intake of dietary and saturated fat, like that found in red meat, to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories prevents excess fat from entering your bloodstream. Restricting your salt intake to about 6 grams of sodium each day can reduce your blood pressure. Increasing your intake of dietary fiber can reduce your blood cholesterol as well.

Eating certain diets can reduce the risk for PAD. A Mediterranean diet, which focuses on fruits, vegetables, and unrefined grain, can help. The DASH diet limits salt, fat, and alcohol intake. A low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet can also reduce your risk for peripheral arterial disease.

For more information on reducing your risk or finding resources for dealing with PAD, make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute today by calling 770-506-4007. We have several convenient locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.

GVI’s Dr. Sendhil Subramanian Attends The Amputation Prevention Symposium

GVI’s co-founder, Dr. Sendhil Subramanian, recently attended the The Amputation Prevention Symposium in Chicago, Illinois. This conference is the largest medical conference dedicated to the treatment and prevention of Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI).

The conference consisted of 800 participants from over 20 countries examining the yearly count of 20,000 cases related to CLI.  The three-day conference examined strategies with world-renowned faculty and provided Dr. Subramanian with leading education to take into the field.

“The Amputation Prevention Symposium addresses the need for education and technologies for treating CLI and preventing amputations in patients. I am excited to take the education from this conference into my practice,” Dr. Subramanian said.

The Amputation Prevention Symposium was held from August 9th to August 12th, 2017 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel.

What You Should Know About Male Infertility and Vascular Health

As an adult male, you may not like thinking about doctors and staying healthy, but it is a must. If you are like many men, two of your biggest health concerns are probably your heart health and your sexual health. Did you realize how connected these two parts of your body actually are? In reality, the health of your heart can impact all parts of your body. If you are dealing with any sort of health problems, understanding the connection between male infertility and vascular health is vital.


One of the most common causes of male infertility is something called varicoceles. Among infertile couples, the instance of varicoceles is around 30 percent. The varicocele is a varicose vein which occurs in the testicle or scrotum. Unlike some varicose veins that are just an aesthetic concern, these varicose veins can cause pain, testicular atrophy (better known as shrinkage) and even male infertility.


Since this is a problem that affects both your sexual and heart health, there are different forms of treatment that can be performed.   Varicocele embolization, which is a nonsurgical treatment that an interventional radiologist can perform is just as effective as the standard surgical treatments, and in many cases causes less pain, risk or recovery time.

Other Connections Between Vascular and Reproductive Health

While varicoceles are one of the biggest vascular concerns that can affect fertility, they certainly are not the only heart or vascular related problem. Good heart health leads to overall better health and may improve fertility as well. That’s why working with your vascular doctor and discussing all your medical concerns is so important. Following a healthy diet and taking recommended medication is vital to keep you feeling your best and performing well in all areas of life.

Your vascular health can impact many other parts of your body—not just the heart. That’s why having a good team of vascular specialists on your side is so important. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, reach out to the Georgia Vascular Institute team at 770-506-4007 today. We are always here for you and have several locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.

Five Celebrities Who’ve Shared Their Personal Struggle with Varicose Veins

Celebrities are known for all sorts of reasons, from the great roles that they personify on screen to their incredibly public personal lives. If there is one aspect of celebrity life that is most frequently discussed which is their aesthetic. The way a celebrity looks will get front page headlines before just about anything else that they say or do.

This is why it becomes such a big deal when it is revealed that a celebrity—especially a well-known and well-endowed celebrity—struggles with some sort of issue or disease that mars their appearance in some way. For female celebrities, having healthy legs is part of the job. Long, healthy legs help win them magazine covers, and that type of publicity makes up a large chunk of their reputation. For this reason, it is especially of interest when a female celebrity reveals that they are struggling with something as common as spider or varicose veins.

Who Struggles with Varicose Veins?

Approximately 50 percent of all women develop varicose veins at some point in their lives. For many women, this happens shortly after having children, if not during pregnancy itself. Varicose veins develop when veins in the legs become twisted, causing the veins to bulge and become visible underneath the skin.

Imaging having those bulging veins visible when paparazzi show up at your doorstep. This is why so many celebrity women have come out about their veins, revealing how they coped with the ongoing issue.

You may be surprised to learn that the following celebrity women have ALL had varicose veins:

  • Britney Spears. This mother of two went through the same body metamorphosis as any other young mom, varicose veins included.
  • Kristen Davis. The Sex in the City star was doted on for her seemingly perfect legs, and then was quickly attacked when the tabloids pointed out her venous problem. Davis opted for vein removal treatment to clear up her issue.
  • Janice Dickinson. Known as the original supermodel, Dickinson had more reason than the average woman to make sure her long legs looked healthy. This is why when varicose veins started to become an issue, perhaps as a result of all the high heels she has worn for her work, she opted for vein treatment.
  • Emma Thompson. This famous actress underwent surgery to remove troubled veins after she entered her 50s, which is when many women begin struggling with varicose veins.
  • Serena Williams. The power tennis player is known for her muscular legs. She was quite open about addressing venous disease when it afflicted her, taking action to ensure that her legs remained healthy and powerful for her future Olympic ambitions.

Varicose veins can be removed or reduced with minimally invasive vein treatment. Vein disease, including varicose and spider veins, are incredibly common. In many circumstances the issue is a cosmetic one. The staff at Georgia Vascular Institute can provide you with what you need to get healthy, youthful legs! Call today at 770-506-4007 and schedule an appointment with us.

Spider Vein Myths Debunked

While spider veins are common, they are often poorly understood. There are many myths surrounding spider veins, and some of these myths can prevent someone from seeking treatment. Read below to debunk some popular myths about spider veins.

Myth: Men never get spider veins

Fact: Vein problems affect women more often, according to the Office on Women’s Health, but 40 to 45 percent of men in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem.

Myth: Spider veins only appear on your legs

Fact: Spider veins can appear nearly anywhere on your body, including on your face.

Myth: There is nothing you can do to prevent spider veins

Fact: Many factors contribute to the development of spider veins; you have control over some of these factors. For example, obesity, sitting for a long time, smoking, exposure to the sun and the use of hormonal birth control can contribute to the formation of these tiny, yet unsightly veins. Injuries may also result in spider veins.

Myth: Spider veins do not cause symptoms

Fact: While spider veins do not hurt like their larger counterparts, varicose veins, spider veins can sometimes cause uncomfortable burning and itching. In some rare cases, spider veins can cause blood to back up inside the vein somewhat like a varicose vein to cause similar symptoms.

Myth: Women are better off waiting until they are finished having children to worry about addressing their spider veins

Fact: Historically, doctors used to advise women to delay vein treatment until after they finished having children because old-fashioned vein treatment is a significant surgical procedure that can be painful and risky – most women would want to have this surgery only once. Modern treatments, by comparison, present minimal pain and risk so patients may undergo treatment as often as necessary.

Myth: One treatment cures spider veins forever

Fact: While it is true that treatment removes the treated spider vein forever, you may develop new spider veins in other places on your skin.

Myth: Treatment for spider veins hurts and does not work very well

Fact: The newest generation of spider vein treatments is nearly pain-free and provides great results. Most treated veins fade with the first treatment, although larger and exceptionally stubborn veins require repeat treatments for full results.

Myth: There are no effective treatments for spider veins

Fact: Sclerotherapy is the gold standard for spider vein treatments, providing optimal results with minimal pain and recovery time. In sclerotherapy, a vein doctor injects a chemical agent that causes the walls of the spider vein to swell and stick together. The treated vein closes and breaks apart; the spider vein disappears as nearby tissue absorbs the remnants of the vein.

For more information about spider veins and their myths, talk to your vein doctor. Learning about spider veins can help you get rid of these unsightly veins. The staff at Georgia Vascular Institute can provide you with what you need to get rid of pesky spider veins. Call today at 770-506-4007 and schedule an appointment with us.