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Vascular issues in the veins and arteries can build up over time — similarly to heart disease. If left untreated, they can result in pain, limited mobility, ulcers, damage to organs, amputation and life-threatening conditions such as infection, gangrene and stroke.
WakeMed Heart & Vascular — Vascular & Peripheral Vascular is the perfect place for all of your vascular disease treatments and surgeries. Whether you have varicose veins, carotid disease or an abdominal aneurysm, you’ll find specialized care in a comfortable setting.
The goal of our vascular experts is to alleviate pain, improve quality of life, detect vascular disease and treat it before a serious problem occurs. More often than not, we can successfully treat vascular conditions — often with minimally invasive procedures that make it possible for the patient to go home the same day.
Our physicians offer patients the most advanced tools and technologies — backed by the latest research — to address any conditions affecting their arteries and veins. We work with each patient to develop a course of treatment that allows them to live a more healthy and active lifestyle.
Symptoms of vascular disease can include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment today with a vascular specialist.
Risk factors for vascular disease include:
Vascular Conditions of the Legs
Vascular conditions that can affect the legs include:
Peripheral artery disease: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is the narrowing of arteries in the body. Also known as peripheral vascular disease, PAD is most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, the buildup of fat and cholesterol that turns into plaque on the inside of arteries.
Peripheral aneurysm: An aneurysm is a bulging of an artery at a weak spot. A peripheral aneurysm (PA) is one that occurs in an artery other than the aorta. Peripheral aneurysms in the legs are most common in the popliteal artery, which runs down the back of the lower thigh to the knee, but can also occur in the femoral artery, which is in the groin area.
Varicose veins: Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins of the legs become weak or damaged and do not work properly. As a result, blood pools in the veins, creating lumpy, twisted, swollen veins. Family history, pregnancy, injury and obesity are common causes of varicose veins. Intervention may become necessary if pain, blood clots or skin ulcers are present — although many people choose to have their varicose veins treated simply due to their appearance.
Blood clot (thrombus): Blood clots form in the veins when blood flow is compromised. They usually develop due to factors that include:
Both deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in a deep leg vein, and pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that breaks free and travels to the lungs, are life-threatening and can cause serious complications.
Carotid artery disease: Carotid artery disease is when one or both of the carotid arteries — the two large blood vessels on either side of the neck — are narrow or obstructed. This serious condition can lead to a blockage of blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm: The aorta is the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the legs and abdomen. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is when a bulge develops in a section of the aorta.
To diagnose vascular problems, we start with the basics — symptoms, family history, personal health, lifestyle and a physical exam. A cardiologist may perform a simple, painless ankle brachial index (ABI) screening to compare the blood pressure in the arms with the blood pressure in the legs. The blood pressure in the legs is typically higher than the blood pressure in the arms.
Additional non-invasive imaging tests can help the vascular specialist pinpoint the location and severity of a vascular issue — and determine the best way to treat it. Those tests may include:
If you suffer from vascular disease, your cardiologist might use cardiac imaging to see if it has affected your heart or coronary arteries. Imaging technologies that may be used include:
The goals of treating vascular disease are to restore quality of life and to prevent complications and related conditions. There are a number of options for treating vascular conditions.
Treatment begins with lifestyle changes, which include keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes under control; and improving diet, exercising and quitting smoking. Lifestyle changes alone often make a big difference in the fight against vascular disease.
A doctor also may prescribe medications such as blood thinners to help maintain blood flow.
A minimally invasive or surgical procedure can be necessary to treat vascular disease when the arteries become so clogged that blood flow is diminished to the point that oxygen is not reaching the leg muscles, which can cause serious problems such as ulcers, infection and gangrene. These treatments include:
If you or someone you know has the signs or symptoms of vascular disease, please make an appointment today with one of WakeMed’s experienced vascular specialists.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610