Do you think you have an issue with your arteries, veins or circulatory system or are suffering from a chronic wound that won’t heal? Vascular conditions and vein diseases are any illness that affects the circulatory system, and knowing you are at risk is an important first step.
Dr. Peter Beaulieu, a vascular surgeon with Spectrum Health Medical Group, talks about vascular disease and how you can identify risk and prevention.
Vascular disease is any illness that affects the circulatory system. This could be a ballooning or bulging vessel, poor blood flow, a weakened or diseased valve, plaque buildup or blood clot. Different conditions include:
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms: The aorta is a major blood vessel that runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. An abdominal aortic aneurysm, or AAA, occurs when the lower section of the aorta becomes enlarged. This can cause the aorta to rupture.
- Carotid Artery Disease: Carotid arteries run along either side of your neck and deliver blood to your brain and head. Carotid artery disease occurs when these arteries become clogged with a fatty buildup of plaque. This can increase your risk of stroke.
- Peripheral Artery Disease: PAD is a condition where the blood vessels in the extremities narrow or becomes blocked due to a buildup of fatty plaque. The buildup is called atherosclerosis. For people who experience symptoms, it can cause pain and cramping while walking that goes away when you rest.
- Vein Disease: Venous disease, otherwise known as venous insufficiency, occurs when veins are not functioning properly and have problems sending blood from the legs back to the heart causing spider and varicose veins.
Progressions of these diseases can be slowed by making lifestyle stages such as daily exercise, hydration, quitting smoking, eating less red meat, and eating healthy fats.
Sometimes vascular disease can be difficult to detect. It is important that you understand your risks:
- Men are more likely to develop AAA than women
- Before the age of 75, men have a higher risk of developing carotid artery disease. After 75, women have a higher risk
- You can get PAD at any age, but it is most common in people more than 60 years old
- Common symptoms including heaviness, aching, restlessness and swelling could be an indication you could have venous disease
If you notice any of these symptoms, Spectrum Health provides free screenings to patients. There is also a free screening event on September 11 in honor of vascular awareness month from 2 to 7 p.m.
Free venous screenings will be offered for anyone with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Bulging veins
- Ankle swelling
- Pain/aching in leg(s)
- Heavy/tired feeling in leg(s)
- Restlessness in leg(s)
Free carotid artery, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and peripheral artery disease screenings will be offered for anyone with one or more of the following symptoms:
- 60 years of age or older
- High blood pressure
- History of smoking
- High cholesterol
- Immediate family history of aortic aneurysm
- Immediate family history of arterial disease before 60
The screening will take place at Spectrum Health Medical Group Vein Center located at 4069 Lake Drive, Suite 114.
To schedule an appointment or to learn more information, call (616)-391-8278 or visit spectrumhealth.org/vein-screening.