Vascular Disease…..It's a Matter of Life and Limb!
The majority of the population is aware of the critical importance of heart disease, but very few understand vascular disease.
As the heart beats, it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels, called the circulatory system. The vessels are elastic tubes that carry blood to every part of the body
- Arteries carry blood away from the heart.
- Veins return blood back to the heart.
Vascular Disease includes any condition that affects the circulatory system. This ranges from diseases of the arteries, veins and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation.
- Vascular disease may be undiagnosed and untreated, despite the risks of serious complications like stroke, death or the loss of limbs.
- Our population is aging and the rate of vascular disease has risen significantly, but diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease have not kept pace with heart disease.
Vascular disease, like heart disease, MUST become a national health care priority to reduce death and disability due to vascular disease.
Who should be screened?
People over the age of 55 have a higher risk of vascular disease. There are other conditions that are associated with a higher risk including:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Cholesterol
- Heart Disease
- Family History of Vascular Disease
Carotid Artery Disease
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US and the #1 cause of disability in older populations. More than half of all strokes in older Americans are due to carotid artery disease and there are proven treatments to reduce strokes in those cases.
Carotid Artery Screening
Carotid Artery Disease can be diagnosed easily and accurately using an ultrasound scan to image the artery.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
This is the 10th leading cause of death in men over 50 (in the US); however, most people never know they have an aneurysm. AAA can be permanently cured when it is diagnosed early, but rupture is fatal in most cases. A painless risk-free ultrasound scan can diagnose an AAA and accurately measure its size to determine the need for treatment
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
This affects the health of millions of older Americans, at least a quarter of those over 70-years-old. Many older people with PAD have difficulty walking, and some may suffer from foot ulcers or infections. People with PAD have a much higher risk of stroke and heart attack, but these risks can be reduced if PAD is diagnosed early.
A simple Doppler exam can accurately diagnose PAD. When PAD is treated people are usually able to walk farther and have reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.
For more information on Vascular Disease and St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana, click here.