They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is especially true when it comes to vascular disease.
Many vascular conditions can be asymptomatic. A person may look or feel fine, but that doesn’t mean the warning signs aren’t there.
“Risk factor modification is a mainstay of vascular disease treatment,” said Aditi Madabhushi, MD, medical director of Samaritan’s Vascular Surgery program. “Some risk factors such as age, being male and having a family history of vascular disease are inherent — but others can be mitigated with medication or by making certain lifestyle changes.”
A history of smoking, an increased body mass index and extended periods of immobility are among the more common causative risk factors for vascular disease. Not surprisingly, quitting smoking, changing your diet and exercising are good ways to reduce these risks.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are also precursors of the disease and these can be managed with medication if diet and lifestyle changes alone
If you have a number of the risk factors, talk with your primary care provider to see if you should be screened for vascular disease.
Dizziness, sudden stomach pain, leg pain that impairs walking, and swelling of the legs can all be signs of peripheral vascular disease, deep vein thrombosis or aneurysms. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate attention at an ER or urgent care clinic.
Left untreated, vascular disease can be fatal or result in a stroke, pulmonary embolism or amputation.
The good news is that treatment no longer requires bypass surgery or long hospital stays.
“Thanks to advances in technology, we are able to offer simpler, less invasive treatments to all of our patients,” said Dr. Madabhushi. “Ninety percent of them go home the same day and the side effects are minimal, so there really is no reason to put off seeking treatment.”