There are three main vascular diseases that are not connected to cardiac diseases. Peripheral artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and stroke can each be detected early through a vascular screening check. Early detection will help you prevent long-term disabilities and life-threatening conditions.
When plaque builds up in the blood vessels, it blocks blood flow and can develop a clot. This may result in the person having an aneurysm or stroke. Vascular screening provides a picture of the blood vessels, so our doctors can determine if a clot is developing.
Vascular screening is painless and doesn’t require the person to undress, do any exercise or have blood drawn. There are three separate exams. The carotid ultrasound exam looks for the plaque build-up in the carotid arteries in the neck, which could lead to a stroke if untreated.
The Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm exam looks for ballooning of the abdominal aorta wall. This is an aneurysm and could rupture and be fatal. It is possible to have this condition and not know it, which makes vascular screening important. The aneurysm can be detected before it becomes dangerous.
The Peripheral Arterial Disease exam checks for blockage in the arteries in the legs and ankles. This exam can prevent coronary artery and peripheral arterial disease.
If you are over the age of 55 or over the age of 40 with multiple risk factors, it is recommended that you be screened. The risk factors are:
• Hereditary stroke or heart disease
• History of smoking
• High stress levels on a daily basis
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Inactive lifestyle
The tests can detect atherosclerosis sooner than a standard exercise stress test. When the early signs of disease are identified, we’ll discuss prevention strategies, to help you get the right treatment. This may slow down or completely stop the progression of the disease. The screening may help find the disease if it is already present, so it can be treated before it becomes life-threatening.
The patient lies down and exposes his or her mid-section. Our technician applies some clear gel and uses ultrasound scan to get images of the aorta to see if any part is bulging. The carotid arteries are checked for thickness.
Thick arteries are cause for concern because they present a risk of stroke or heart attack. Blood pressure is checked with a cuff on the arm and ankles. The blood pressure should be almost equal in the arms and feet. This means there are no circulation issues.
A detailed report should be ready in about a week. If there are no findings in your first test, you may consider having a screening every couple of years. If there are any problems indicated, a yearly exam may be the best option. Many of the diseases that can be detected with vascular screening give no warning signs, so the screening is your best chance at prevention or finding problems early.
To schedule a vascular screening, contact Miami Vein Center today to talk to our board certified vascular surgeon, Dr. Jose Almeida. We are dedicated to ensuring our patients receive the highest quality care. You can rest easier knowing you had a vascular screening.