Symptoms We Treat

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)

Central arteries transport blood directly from the heart, while peripheral arteries carry blood everywhere else in the body (head, neck, arms, lower abdomen, legs, feet).

What is peripheral artery/vascular disease and what causes it?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) occur when peripheral blood vessels are blocked, hardened and narrowed, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Risk factors for developing vascular disease include:

  • Family history of atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Exposure to lead and cadmium
  • Kidney disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) Symptoms

Signs that you may have peripheral vascular disease are leg pain that often occurs when exercising and ceases during rest; numbness, coldness, change of color or loss of hair in the legs or feet; muscle pain in the thighs or lower; paleness, blueness or weak or absent pulse in a limb; and an abnormal change in the way you walk.

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) Diagnosis

Various instruments and tests can detect the presence of vascular disease. These include blood pressure cuffs, Doppler and intravascular (IVUS) ultrasound, angiogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), plethysmogram and venogram.

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) Treatment

Treatment options for PAD/PVD range from life changes and medications (sclerosing agents or blood thinners) to catheter-based treatments and traditional or endoscopic surgery. Surgery promotes clear blood flow by bypassing a vessel using a graft made of tissue from another undamaged vessel.

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Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension occurs when the pressure in the arteries of your lungs is higher than normal. This causes shortness of breath during normal activities. The diagnosis is made with an echocardiogram or possibly a cardiac catheterization. Treatment is customized to whatever the specific disease is that is causing the high pressure in the arteries of the lungs.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath occurs when you feel that you are not taking in enough air or it is difficult to breathe. It can be the result of numerous causes, including a blocked airway, reaction to environmental allergens, lung disease, certain heart conditions and severe anxiety or panic attack. If shortness of breath is due to congestion relating to a cold or flu, it will most likely resolve on its own in a few days. However, if you do not know the cause or it is accompanied by chest pain, fever, wheezing or a harsh-sounding cough, you should visit your doctor for an examination.

Stroke

A stroke occurs when there is a reduction in the flow of blood to the brain. The lack of blood supply may be the result of a blockage in an artery or a burst blood vessel in the brain. A stroke deprives brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients, causing brain cells to die. A stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention by a medical professional. Prompt treatment can minimize damage to the brain and prevent further complications.

Types of Stroke

There are two different categories of strokes, ischemic and hemorrhagic. The more common type of stroke is ischemic, which accounts for approximately 85 percent of all strokes. Common types of ischemic strokes include thrombotic and embolic.

Thrombotic Stroke

A thrombotic stroke occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot. Blockage of the artery usually happens gradually.

Embolic Stroke

An embolic stroke, also known as a cerebral embolism, occurs when a blood clot forms in another part of the body, breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the brain. The clot lodges in a narrowed brain artery, blocking the passage of blood.

A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel’s leaking or bursting in the brain. This has the double effect of cutting off the blood supply to brain cells, and causing blood pressure to build up within the skull. There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes.

Intracerebral Hemorrhage

An intracerebral hemorrhage, also known as a cerebral hemorrhage, occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain tissue. Brain cells beyond the rupture are deprived of blood and unable to receive the necessary oxygen and nutrients to stay alive.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

A subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when blood accumulates in the space between the brain and its lining, called the arachnoid membrane. The bleeding occurs when an artery bursts on or near the brain’s surface. One of the primary symptoms of a subarachnoid hemorrhage is a sudden, severe headache in the back of the head.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is extremely important and the sooner it is given, the more likely it is that damage can be minimized.

Treatment of Stroke

Stroke treatment varies depending on the type of stroke that occurred.

Ischemic Stroke Treatment

To treat an ischemic stroke, blood flow to the brain needs to be restored quickly. Emergency treatment with medication improves the chance of survival and lowers the chance of complications. Drugs to break up the blood clot(s) need to be started quickly (no more than 5 hours after the stroke). Aspirin, and an injection of a clot-busting drug called a tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), are usually the course of treatment for an ischemic stroke. t-PA can be given to patients only within a certain period of time following the stroke, and only in situations in which it will not worsen bleeding in the brain. Some ischemic strokes may require surgery to remove the blockage.

Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment

A combination of blood-vessel surgery and medication to control bleeding may be used to treat a hemorrhagic stroke. The surgery may either be an aneurysm clipping, in which a tiny clamp is placed at the base of the aneurysm to isolate it from the circulation of the artery to which it is attached, or an endovascular embolization, in which a coil is wrapped around the aneurysm, blocking blood flow and causing the aneurysm to clot.

Stroke surgery carries risks, and is usually only recommended for those who have a high risk of spontaneous aneurysm or an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) rupture.


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