Understanding Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Peripheral arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to the tissues outside the heart. As you age, your arteries become stiffer and thicker. In addition, risk factors, such as smoking and high cholesterol, can damage the artery lining. This allows plaque (a buildup of fat and other materials) to form within the artery walls. The buildup of plaque narrows the space inside the artery and sometimes blocks blood flow. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when blood flow through the arteries is reduced due to plaque buildup. It often happens in the legs and feet, but can also occur elsewhere in the body. If this buildup occurs in the carotid artery (a large artery in the neck), it can be a major contributor to stroke.
Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid Artery Disease is the leading cause of stroke. It occurs when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked, thereby obstructing the flow of blood to your brain. Because few common symptoms are associated with Carotid Artery Disease, the first sign could be a stroke.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVTs) occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in the large veins of the legs or pelvic area. Some may cause no pain, whereas others can be quite painful. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, the majority of DVT’s are not life threatening.
Pulmonary embolism (PE ) is a blood clot that lodges in the lung arteries. The blood clot forms in the leg, pelvic, or arm veins, then breaks off from the vein wall and travels through the heart into the lung arteries. PE can cause death or chronic shortness of breath from high lung artery pressures and can impair heart muscle function.
A brain aneurysm, also called a cerebral or intracranial aneurysm, is an abnormal bulging outward of one of the arteries in the brain. Brain aneurysms are often discovered when they rupture, causing bleeding into the brain or the space closely surrounding the brain.
Aortic dissection is the most common catastrophe affecting the aorta. It is caused when the inner layer of the aortic wall tears and then peels or separates away from the next layer of the aorta. This creates two channels; the original aortic channel for blood flow is still present while the peeling away of the outer layer in the dissection creates a new additional flow channel. Aortic dissection is a very serious, life threatening disorder that requires immediate medical attention.
Renovascular diseases are disorders primarily affecting the arteries of the kidneys, which result in hypertension (high blood pressure) and kidney dysfunction. According to the American Urological Association, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) accounts for approximately 90 percent of renovascular disease cases.
Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging superficial veins that can be felt beneath the skin, generally larger than 3-mm in diameter. They develop due to weakness of the vein wall and loss of valve function.
Abdominal Aortic Anuerysm-AAA
DMH Vascular Center offers specialized treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. These potentially life threatening events occur when the abdominal aorta becomes abnormally large or balloons outward.
Aneurysms develop slowly over many years and often have no symptoms. If an aneurysm expands rapidly or ruptures, symptoms may develop suddenly.
ANEURYSM SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:
- Pulsating sensation in the abdomen
- Pain in the abdomen or lower back that is sever, sudden, persistent, or constant
- Abdominal rigidity
- Nausea and vomiting
- Clammy skin
- Rapid heart rate when rising to a standing position
- Abdominal mass
Nearly 95% of AAAs can be successfully treated if detected prior to rupture. To help make the most accurate diagnosis, DMH uses the latest in 3D and 4D Ultrasound to help determine if an AAA is present.
DMH provides the latest minimally invasive treatment options for individuals diagnosed with AAA.
To learn more, call the DMH Vascular Center at 217-876-VASC (8272).