What disorders are covered under vascular diseases?
Vascular disease is a class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels. We await patients who suffer from disorders of the arteries and veins such as vasoconstriction, varicose veins, ulcers, etc. and also those who are healthy but are genetically susceptible or are at risk due to other factors and would like to avoid vascular diseases by undergoing a screening examination. Following the complex screening examination, your vascular surgeon will set up your medication, injection, etc. therapy and discuss with you needed life style changes and perform any necessary surgical interventions.
Who should undergo a vascular screening examination?
Some diseases and disorders, such as diabetes, elevated cholesterol level and high blood pressure have vascular complications, thus, if any of these was diagnosed, it is worth having the condition of your blood vessels determined. The screening examination is also recommended if your life style puts you at risk of vascular disease, for example, if you smoke, are mostly sedentary, are significantly obese, are pregnant or if your are over sixty years old. Of course, if you have symptoms originating in the veins or arteries (i.e., abdominal throbbing, leg symptoms: “heavy leg syndrome” or pain, numbness, cramps, dizziness, weakness on one side of the body, discoloration of finger tips) and serious vascular disease appeared in your family, parents and/or siblings, that is enough cause for examination. It is also worth seeing a doctor with varicose problems already in cases of esthetically not desired spider veins as well as protruding and thickened varicose veins.
Are there arteriosclerosis symptoms? How do I know if I am affected?
The appearance of arteriosclerosis, in itself, is enough reason for a vascular screening examination (especially of the neck, chest or abdominal regions) since the arterial disorders are usually silent. It often happens that by the time the patient presents for medical consultation, the condition has reached the life threatening stage with internal bleeding, unilateral paralysis or arterial blockage. Since changes in the leg arteries appear relatively early, it would behoove you to pay attention to pain in the calf while walking or if you feel your leg unusually heavy or stiff. The vascular system is a unified system, thus, if a problem appears in one area, a similar one may appears elsewhere.
Do I need to worry about varicose veins if they are not causing me any problems?
Varicosity has many stages from the unaesthetic spider veins, through the reticular veins to the main body varicosities. The spider veins, purple, blue or red in color, are dilated veins found in the skin’s top layer most often found on the legs, but may be found elsewhere also, such as the face. Though they do not cause complaints, they have a very negative effect on the person’s feeling of self-worth and, as such, it is best to see a specialist as soon as possible.
The reticular veins are veins just beneath the skin surface that have dilated several millimeters, may be accompanied by leg pain, making walking difficult and causing leg swelling. Truncal Varicose Veins are secondary to poorly functioning valves and ensuing dilation of one of the main trunk veins of the superficial system. The flawed truncal vein subsequently causes dilatation of their large branches that twist and bulge. These swollen vessels appear under the skin as blue, bumpy and rope-like veins. These can be quite painful and sometimes cause serious complications. If left untreated serious problems may arise, such as deep vein thrombosis, lung embolism, inflammation caused by the stagnating blood and the improper circulation may lead to ulceration. All this can be prevented if treatment is begun at the early stages
What is the treatment for varicose veins?
The treatment is always personalized. Conservative treatment always includes bandaging or compression stockings, special vein exercises as well as medication to decrease oedema and inflammation of the leg. Injections are used to get rid of spider veins and smaller dilated veins by injecting an agent into the veins causing the walls to adhere to each other, in effect completely closing that section of the vein. Surgery is only indicated when the varicose veins are in an advanced stage and there is danger of thrombosis or ulceration.
How is vasoconstriction measured or screened?
Doppler ultrasound is used to screen the veins for constriction, occlusion and measuring the speed of blood flow, to determine the thickness of the wall and of possible plaque deposits. No preparation is required. The examination is not painful and can be repeated, if needed. If the hand-held Doppler ultrasound or the color Doppler imaging shows irregularities, angiography may be necessary.