What Are Vascular Diseases and Vascular Surgery?
Vascular surgery is a specialized field of medicine designed to tackle vascular diseases that affect your arteries, veins and lymphatic systems. Your blood vessels act as messengers, connecting your heart and lungs to the rest of your body and vice versa. Sometimes, though, these arteries and veins get blocked, preventing blood from flowing properly.
Your vascular expert at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY expertly performs vascular surgery when you need it, which sometimes is in an emergency situation. But before you need vascular surgery to repair damaged blood vessels, you can take preventive measures to reduce your risks of needing vascular surgery, such as:
- Exercising regularly to improve the blood flow in your body
- Building stamina by gradually increasing the intensity of your exercise
- Developing healthy, nutritional eating habits
- Managing medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity
- Taking proper care of your feet
- Quitting smoking
How Would I Get a Vascular Disease?
Your arteries normally start to thicken and narrow as your grow older. You may also have a build-up of plaque in the larger to medium-sized arteries causing the narrowing. Eating fat-laden and fried food significantly increases your chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which creates too much plaque in your blood stream.
That’s why most doctors at Medex specializing in vascular surgery recommend exercise and diet as the first course in the treatment plan. Early diagnosis of vascular diseases prevents complications, especially if you have a family history of vein and artery disorders. Other conditions that may put you at risk for vascular diseases include:
- Illness or injury
- Work that requires you to stand or sit for extended periods of time
- Disorders that affect the blood-clotting function
- A sedentary lifestyle
What Are the Consequences of Vascular Disease?
Vascular disease can lead to a dramatic decrease in your quality of life. Pain from a throbbing vein or depression due to a lack of mobility reduce your ability to fully enjoy your life. Untreated, vein or artery blockages can lead to serious consequences, such as:
- Heart disease
- Carotid artery disease
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Fibromuscular disease
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Connective tissue disorder (CTD)
- Vascular infections
- Vascular trauma
- Renovascular conditions
- Pulmonary embolism
- Varicose veins
Since vascular problems can emerge in many ways with varying symptoms, diagnosis is crucial for getting the right treatment. Your primary care physician or your cardiologist may be the first to notice the risk factors or initial symptoms. But if you suspect a vein disorder, you can make an appointment directly with a vascular expert at Medex.
What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Vascular Disease?
After undergoing a thorough medical history and examination, your Medex specialist listens carefully to you review your symptoms. To understand the root cause of your problems, your vascular surgeon in New York City may recommend tests, such as:
- Angiogram. Using an iodine dye, x-rays are taken that give a clear picture of the blocked section.
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. Your doctor employs inflatable cuffs to measure the blood pressure in the arteries at different points on your body, like your thigh, calf, feet and toes.
- Carotid doppler. This test measures the rate at which your blood flows in the carotid arteries.
- Computed tomography angiography (CTA) test. With this image, your doctor receives a 3D view of your blood vessels.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). This is a more advanced version of the MRI. It uses radio frequency waves to detect the activity in your blood vessels.
- Duplex ultrasound. High-frequency sound waves measure the blood flow speed, usually done for problems in the legs.
Which Vascular Surgery Procedure Works?
Treatments for your vascular disease is dependent on the condition of your blood vessels and the severity of the disease. For milder cases, changes in diet and exercise can eliminate the disease entirely. If you’re older or have severe plaque build-up, however, you may need open surgery, or your vascular surgeon may suggest a minimally invasive alternative. Common interventions and vascular surgery procedures include:
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
- Carotid endarterectomy
- Diabetic foot care
- Catheter-directed thrombolytic therapy
- Peripherally inserted central catheter line
- Surgical bypass
- Transcarotid artery revascularization
- Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms
- Open surgery with aortic dissection
- Repair of thoracic aortic aneurysm
If you and your family maintain regular health checkups with your primary care doctor and monitor chronic conditions, you can prevent vascular disease most of the time. As you age, continued monitoring of your veins and arteries prevents blockages from developing. Contact the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center today to find experts in most every specialty available for you and your family.