Both vein disease and arterial disease fall under the “umbrella” of vascular disease, which is defined as any condition that affects the circulatory system. Your circulatory system is composed of arteries (which carry oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body) and veins (which carry deoxygenated blood and waste products back to the heart and lungs). Any disease that impairs the proper flow of blood through this network of blood vessels is serious, but some forms of vascular disease are more dangerous than others.
What do Winston-Salem residents need to know about vascular disease?
In terms of the total number of deaths caused by vascular disease, you’d have to say that arterial disease is more dangerous. Atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, also referred to as hardening of the arteries) is the most prevalent form of arterial disease, and one of the most common causes of death and disability. Arteries blocked by artherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and poor circulation that results in gangrene and amputation. Another dangerous form of arterial disease is abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), in which arteries in the abdomen become enlarged; if these aneurysms rupture, there is an 85% chance of death as a result. Carotid artery stenosis (CAS), sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” because initial symptoms go away quickly, can lead to full strokes that result in brain damage or death.
To balance the scales a bit, however, there are vein diseases that are just as dangerous, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when blood clots form in the large, deep veins of the legs. If these blood clots break loose from where they form and travel to the lungs or brain they can cause pulmonary embolisms or stroke.
How do I know if I have vascular disease?
Very few of the symptoms of vascular disease are obvious enough that a layman can recognize them. If you have varicose veins, that is often a sign that you have deeper, underlying vein disease, but to detect PAD, AAA, CAS, or DVT you need to see a Winston-Salem vein expert like the doctors at Novant Health Vein Specialists and have a screening. During this screening, the vascular doctors will use specialized equipment like Doppler ultrasound to look beneath the surface of the skin and detect possible problems in both your veins and your arteries. The screening is fast, non-invasive and completely painless.
If vein disease or arterial disease is found, the best vein doctors in Winston-Salem will explain your treatment options to you. Many of them are conservative, such as recommendations to stop smoking, lose weight, and wear support stockings to improve circulation if you have varicose veins. Other treatments for more serious vein or arterial problems are minimally invasive, require no hospitalization, and can be performed in the comfort of our offices.
So give us a call at 336-245-4890 or go online and set up an appointment for a screening and an initial consultation. In about an hour we can tell you what the state of your vascular health is. If there are any indications of vascular disease, we can treat it, and if there are not, we can give you advice on how to prevent it.