how to find a good healthcare specialist

5 Things You Should Look for When Seeking a Specialist

Having a go-to healthcare specialist is paramount to your overall health. With the help of a specialist, you can rest easy knowing you are in the hands of a competent medical professional who can address any concerns you may have. And not only is a specialist helpful in answering questions, but also preventative tests, tools, and resources can be accessed through a healthcare provider, which is vital in catching and treating conditions in a timely manner. For now, let’s take a quick look at the top five things you should look for when seeking a specialist.

Is the specialist in your network?

If you have insurance, you will need to contact your provider and ask for a list of physicians and specialists who are in your network. If you opt for a specialist outside of your network, you may find yourself reaching deep into your pocket to pay for office visits and treatments. A simple call to your provider is the simplest way to narrow down the list of available specialists who will be covered by your insurance.

Does the specialist specialize in your area of health needs?

If you’re seeking a specialist for arthritis, you, of course, want to choose a physician that has many years of experience and extensive knowledge in treating patients suffering from arthritis. There are many types of healthcare providers available, most of which will fall into one of the following categories:

  • Family practice
  • Internal medicine
  • General practice
  • Specialist

Ideally, you will need to assess the type of care you are in need of to help determine which type of provider to choose. If you are having trouble determining the exact type of provider you need, you can always turn to the assistance of a general practitioner to guide you in the right direction.

Have you asked your friends and family for recommendations?

Your friends and family along with your coworkers are excellent sources of information regarding local specialists. You can ask them for recommendations and easily narrow down your list of providers to help you choose one who has a strong reputation among the people you trust most, like your friends and family.

Do you feel comfortable with the specialist?

Before you choose a specialist to meet your healthcare needs, it’s a good idea to meet the doctor in person and see if you feel comfortable or not. Since you will be sharing personal and medical information with the person, it’s of the utmost importance that you be comfortable and be able to communicate clearly to ensure the best treatment can be obtained.

Have you checked the experience and credentials of the doctor?

Lastly, you need to make sure and verify the experience and credentials of the specialist. The more experience and the more credentials the doctor has, the better.

Georgia Vascular Institute is a referral center that can help with many types of health concerns. We can help with veins, fibroids, infertility, migraines, osteoporosis, cancer treatment, foot and leg ulcers, and many other conditions. Contact us anytime to learn more about how interventional radiology can help you. 

poor circulation circulatory problems

The Symptoms and Effects of Poor Circulation

Poor circulation can be a major problem for many people today, especially when other medical problems are present. Often, people don’t even realize that they have circulatory problems because the symptoms aren’t very well known. This blog focuses on helping you identify the signs of poor circulation — and when you should reach out for help.

The Signs of Poor Circulation: What to Watch Out For

Some of the signs of poor circulation are quite hard to deal with while others may be more subtle, at least in the beginning. The most common indicators that you may be suffering from poor circulation include:

  • Numbness in your hands and/or feet
  • A “pins and needles” sensation in your hands and/or feet
  • Your hands and/or feet feel colder than the rest of your body
  • Your feet and/or ankles are swollen
  • You’re having memory problems or can’t focus
  • You feel run-down or even exhausted all the time
  • You have joint pain
  • You experience muscle cramps often
  • Your skin color changes in some areas of your body
  • Your skin’s texture changes, becoming thicker and tougher in some places

It’s quite common to have several of these symptoms simultaneously. It’s not unusual for the symptoms to be worse at some times than others. However, improvements are usually short-lived unless you seek out treatment for your circulation problems.

How Poor Circulation Can Affect Your Life — and When to Get Help

Poor circulation can impact your life in many negative ways. You may find that untreated circulatory problems keep you from doing anything that requires standing for any length of time. Exercise — even walking at a moderate pace — can become nearly impossible when your feet are numb, tingling, or uncomfortably swollen. Even driving a car can be difficult if you’re dealing with circulatory problems that impact your feet. Small tasks that require holding an object, for example cutting up food with a knife, can be terribly difficult when your hands are freezing cold, numb, tingling, or swollen.

If poor circulation is causing you to miss out on your normal daily activities, it’s time to ask for help. With today’s highly advanced treatments, you don’t have to live this way any longer.

If you’re dealing with poor circulation, contact Georgia Vascular Institute at 770-506-4007 for help. As a referral center that aids in both diagnostics and treatment, we can help with everything from lifestyle change recommendations to surgery for poor circulation. Schedule an appointment online now!

uterine fibroids and pregnancy

How Uterine Fibroids Affect Pregnancy

Uterine fibroids are abnormal, non-cancerous growths that can appear in a woman’s uterus. The exact cause of their development is not known; however, some professionals believe it relates to a woman’s hormones or genes. Having yourself checked for uterine fibroids is an excellent precautionary choice to make being that numerous side effects can cause harm to your body. It is suggested to get checked for uterine fibroids because it is likely you might have them. In fact, some sources like UCLA Health claim these fibroids occur within 20 to 50 percent of women.

Why Do Uterine Fibroids Go Undetected?

Women are often unaware of having a uterine fibroid until an initial routine ultrasound is performed when expecting a child. This is because fibroids sometimes do not cause any symptoms. Although they are quite common, it is unusual for the fibroids to cause any complications during a woman’s pregnancy. If symptoms are present, they most often are experienced by the mother and can display themselves as nausea, pain, fever, vomiting, and infrequently, as an elevation of white blood cells. Even though complications are rare with fibroids, it’s still wise to be aware of possible problems. Unfortunately, due to risks involved with the uterus bleeding more than normally, once a woman is pregnant, the fibroid cannot be removed.

Side Effects of Uterine Fibroids

As previously mentioned, pain from the fibroid is one symptom an expectant mother may experience, especially as the fibroid becomes larger. This growth is often caused in part by the fibroid’s response to progesterone and estrogen hormones, both of which increase dramatically during pregnancy. The location of the fibroid is another determination of possible complications, both during pregnancy and at delivery. The risk of complication increases if the fibroid is located directly next to the placenta, which can translate into a decrease in the blood supply to the fetus.

A lower than normal blood supply could cause a baby to be born at a lower than normal birth weight; this increases the likelihood of breathing problems and an abnormal body temperature in the newborn. In more severe cases, an early delivery may be warranted if the blood supply is extremely compromised. A C-section may also be necessary if the fibroid is positioned in a location close to the cervix and obstructs delivery or causes the baby to be in a breech position.

Conclusion

If you are pregnant, it is imperative to have yourself tested for uterine fibroids. Detecting the fibroids can be essential in choosing the appropriate delivery method for your child.

Georgia Vascular Institute is a referral center that can help with many types of health concerns. We can help with veins, fibroids, infertility, migraines, osteoporosis, cancer treatment, foot and leg ulcers, and many other conditions. Contact us anytime to learn more about how interventional radiology can help you. 

Patient Success Story: Finding My Migraine Puzzle Pieces

At Georgia Vascular Institute, we love to hear stories of success from our patients.

In our latest testimony, patient Susan McManus tells her story of suffering from migraine for 18 years before visiting with Dr. Sendil Subramanian. Read more

GVI Features Partners in UFE Treatment and Awareness on “The Weekly Check-Up”

Georgia Vascular Institute was proud to feature two partners in uterine fibroid treatment and awareness on “The Weekly Check-Up with Dr. Bruce Feinberg” on WSB-AM 750 and 95.5 FM. Dr. Soyini Hawkins, a uterine fibroid expert, and Tanika Gray, founder of The White Dress Project, sat down with host Dr. Bruce Feinberg on the May 13th show to discuss uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths that are found in the uterus that often cause severe pain and discomfort.

Dr. Soyini Hawkins of Fibroid and Pelvic Wellness Center of Georgia is a graduate of the Morehouse School of Medicine and found her calling in the treatment of uterine fibroids due to fibroids impacting her daily life during her medical training. Dr. Hawkins highlighted the symptoms of fibroids and discussed the disruption of a woman’s life caused by the condition. “When most people think about fibroids, they think about heaving bleeding. They can also cause bulk symptoms including back pain, urinary urgency, urinary leakage, and pain during intercourse,” she said. Dr. Hawkins mentioned the impact of fibroids have on women of color and chose Atlanta to help bring treatment options to the community.

Dr. Carson of the Georgia Vascular Institute has echoed these statistics in women of color in a recent interview. “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.”

Tanika Gray of the White Dress Project also joined in on the conversation to talk about her organization that promotes the awareness of the condition. The White Dress Project is an organization committed to educating and empowering women across the globe who have uterine fibroids. Their project’s mission is to help women feel confident enough to wear white dresses, a simple action that many women with suffer from uterine fibroids feel they cannot do. In doing so, Tanika hopes to foster a bigger conversation around the issue. Tanika posed an striking question as she started the project several years ago: “If so many women are suffering, why isn’t there a national conversation and outcry?”

Listen to the conversation we started with these women on The Weekly Check-Up and learn about uterine fibroid treatment offered by GVI.

Signs of Infertility in Men and Women

Infertility is diagnosed in cases where a couple isn’t able to conceive a child after trying for 6-12 months. While diagnosing infertility depends largely on charting how long it takes to get pregnant without success, there are also many other potential signs of infertility. While the indicators of infertility tend to be more obvious in women, men can also show surprisingly revealing signs of infertility. Read about the signs of infertility in both women and men below:

Infertility in Women: The Signs

The main sign of infertility in women is an inability to conceive for 6-12 months of unprotected sex. You may also notice other symptoms, including:

  • Erratic periods 
  • More or less bleeding than usual during periods
  • Skipped periods
  • Unusually painful periods

If the infertility is connected to a hormone deficiency or excess, the symptoms may also include:

  • Increase in skin breakouts
  • Increase or decrease in sexual desire
  • Increase in hair growth, particularly on the face
  • Rapid weight gain even though diet hasn’t changed
  • Hair loss

Infertility in Men: The Signs

The signs of infertility in men can be more challenging to recognize, and in fact many men don’t suspect infertility until they’re trying to have a child with their partner. Some other changes that can be indicative of infertility in men may include: 

  • Chronic respiratory issues
  • Overdevelopment in chest (gynecomastia)
  • Sexual dysfunction: this can include impotence, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or unusually small quantity of ejaculate.
  • Testicular pain
  • Swelling in the testicles
  • Lumps in the testicles

It’s not uncommon for men to have fewer of these signs — or even none of these signs at all. Therefore, if you’ve been trying to have a child with your partner for 6-12 months without success, it’s best that you both see a doctor to diagnose the problem.

When you seek professional help, infertility is often a treatable condition. Your doctor can first get the the source of the problem to resolve the infertility, and can also help raise your odds to conceive when you’re ready to do so.

We Can Help With Infertility in Men and Women

If you’ve noticed one or more of the signs of infertility described above, contact Georgia Vascular Institute at 770-506-4007 for help today. As a referral center that helps with diagnosis and treatment of all types of medical conditions, we’re here to help you get the answers you need. Contact us anytime to arrange a consultation.

What You Need to Know: Seeking Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are quite common. In fact, about 75 percent of women will get at least one during their lifetime. Fortunately it is possible to have these fibroids treated. There are many benefits to be gained from seeking uterine fibroid treatment. Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of treatment and understanding when you should seek treatment. 

Reduced Risk of a Complicated Pregnancy

Many women wonder whether or not uterine fibroids complicate pregnancy. Studies have shown that the fibroids don’t necessarily make it hard to conceive, but they can lead to complications, including preterm labor and miscarriage. It is also known that the fibroids can cause the fetus to lay in the wrong position in the womb. If you have fibroids and intend to become pregnant, it is recommended that you seek treatment before conceiving. 

Decrease In Occurrence of Unpleasant Symptoms

Uterine fibroids have also been known to cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. For some women who have them, it can lead to frequent urination. There are also complaints from women relating to back aches, difficulty urinating, problems with constipation, and prolonged menstrual periods. 

No Scarring

Another benefit to seeking uterine fibroid treatment is that you can take advantage of an option that will result in no scarring. Uterine fibroid embolization is less invasive than surgical removal. Most women who undergo uterine fibroid embolization experience very little pain, heal quickly, and have no scarring. 

Enhanced Body Image

Due to the size of some uterine fibroids, they can cause a woman’s abdomen to appear bloated or pooched. Once fibroid removal treatment is sought, however, the size of the abdomen often shrinks. It all depends on how large the fibroids were prior to removal. If they were large and caused abdomen protrusion, the stomach will likely become flatter after removal. 

Understanding Your Treatment Options

There are several treatment options for uterine fibroids. One option consists of taking medication that decreases the size of the fibroid. In some instances, medicine is used to prevent the fibroid from becoming larger. There are also radiologic procedures that block blood from flowing to the fibroids, which prevents them from becoming larger. Surgical procedures and embolization are available, with the latter being the most-preferred because it does not require the use of anesthesia. 

If you have any additional questions about uterine fibroids and how you can benefit from treatment, contact Dr. Carson at 770-506-4007 today to make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute.

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.

Causes

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

Prevention

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

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.

What is Interventional Radiology?

The field of interventional radiology focuses on using minimally invasive radiological techniques and procedures to identify and treat many different types of diseases all over the body. Because interventional radiology procedures are so much less invasive than their historic counterparts, patients get the benefits of lower risk, reduced pain levels, and even reduced recovery time. 

Interventional Radiology Procedures

Interventional radiology procedures can be used to diagnose and treat many different conditions, including: 

Uterine Fibroids: While traditional uterine fibroid surgery requires a long recovery and considerable pain, a fibroid embolization treatment — a common interventional radiology procedure today — can resolve the problem much more easily. This minimally invasive procedure goes through the leg, using an ultra-thin catheter to essentially shut off the blood supply that allows the fibroids to grow. After that, they’ll shrink and eventually stop causing symptoms. 

Peripheral Arterial Disease:  Peripheral Arterial Disease causes insufficient blood flow, and it may cause symptoms like slow healing sores or coldness in the feet. This condition can be diagnosed and treated with the help of an interventional radiology procedure in which the damaged or diseased arteries are widened, repaired, or otherwise corrected to restore normal blood flow. 

Infertility: Infertility in both men and women can be diagnosed and treated with the help of interventional radiology procedures. For example, blocked fallopian tubes in women can be unblocked with a recanalization, a simple procedure in which tiny tubes are moved into the fallopian tubes to eliminate the blockage. For men who suffer from infertility due to a varicose vein problem in the testicle and scrotum, the varicocele embolization is a simple non-surgical procedure that can restore fertility and alleviate other symptoms. 

Interventional radiology physicians offer some of the most advanced and effective procedures and treatments being performed in the medical field today. When compared with open surgery, the recovery rate can be days less — maybe even weeks less in some cases. Thanks to the highly sophisticated tools and techniques used by your interventional radiologist, you can expect to get the answers and the treatments that you need much more easily than you might expect.

Georgia Vascular Institute is a referral center that can help with many types of health concerns. We can help with veins, fibroids, infertility, migraines, osteoporosis, cancer treatment, foot and leg ulcers, and many other conditions. Contact us anytime to learn more about how interventional radiology can help you.