Vascular lab

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You could have peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and not know it

More than 10 million adults in America suffer from PAD. Many aren’t aware they have a problem, thinking aches and changes in the limbs are a part of aging. Yet PAD is easily detected and often easily treated.

PAD results from narrowed arteries that limit blood flow to your limbs and can lead to gangrene and limb loss. PAD also can be a sign of atherosclerosis — widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries that causes reduced circulation to the kidneys, heart and brain.

Research shows that if left untreated, PAD increases your risk for high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

Signs of PAD

Get a leg up on PAD: Call 903-531-8000 for a vascular screening if you experience

  • pain and/or cramping in your hip, thigh, calf or arm muscles during exercise that goes away after momentary rest
  • one foot that is significantly colder than the other
  • leg numbness or weakness
  • burning or aching pain in your feet and/or toes when at rest
  • leg, foot and/or toe sores that won’t heal
  • discoloration or shiny skin on your legs
  • slower growth or loss of hair on your legs and/or feet
  • weak or no pulse in your legs and/or feet
  • erectile dysfunction

Risk factors for PAD and other vascular diseases

The potential for vascular disorders increases after age 50. Other factors include

  • family history of vascular or heart disease
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • pregnancy
  • illness or injury
  • long periods of sitting or standing still

 

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A certified, state-of-the-art vascular lab near you

The vascular lab at the ETMC Cardiovascular Institute is among the first to be certified for vascular testing by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission.

Specialists at the vascular lab utilize a variety of noninvasive procedures to test the blood pressure and flow to the heart, brain, legs and arms, including

  • blood pressure assessment of the extremities using blood pressure cuffs
  • ultrasound to directly visualize the blood vessels
  • arterial evaluations
  • carotid artery duplex examination
  • venous Doppler examination
  • peripheral arterial and venous scanning

About vascular disease

Vascular disease is potentially life threatening and includes any condition that involves the flow of blood through your circulatory system. This ranges from diseases of your arteries, veins and lymph vessels to blood disorders that  affect circulation.

Depending on the type and severity of your vascular disease, treatment options can range from lifestyle changes to drug therapies to surgery.

Risk factors for vascular disease

The potential for vascular disorders increases with age. Other factors include

  • family history of vascular or heart disease
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • pregnancy
  • illness or injury
  • long periods of sitting or standing still

Other common vascular diseases

Problems of the vascular system are common and can be serious. They range from diseases of the arteries, veins and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation. Many disorders involve atherosclerosis, the thickening or hardening of vessels due to fat and cholesterol buildup, known as plaque. Blood clots are another frequent and dangerous problem.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm: The aorta can weaken and rupture, often due to atherosclerosis, causing critical bleeding in the chest cavity.

Carotid artery disease: Arteries in the neck that deliver blood to the brain become blocked by plaque, leading to a variety of problems including stroke. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent stroke.

Mesenteric artery disease: Blood flow to the intestine becomes blocked by atherosclerosis, causing malnutrition, weight loss and death if untreated.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD): Plaque builds up in the arteries that deliver blood to the legs and arms, resulting in pain, weakness, skin ulcers and gangrene if left untreated.

Renal artery disease: A blockage of the renal (kidney) arteries that can lead to poor kidney function and high blood pressure.

Stroke: A potentially deadly situation that occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the brain bursts or is blocked by a clot, causing damage to the area of brain involved.

Varicose veins: Twisted, enlarged veins that appear near the surface of the skin, commonly in the legs and ankles. Treatment options include stockings, injections, ablation or removal.

Venous disease: Veins in the leg become inflamed, dilated and blocked, causing pain, ulcerations and the potential for blood clots that can break off and travel to the lungs.

Venous skin ulcer: A shallow wound that typically develops on the lower leg when the veins of the leg fail to properly move blood toward the heart.