Although it does not receive the same level of media attention that other deadly diseases tend to, vascular disease is nonetheless one of the primary causes of death in the U.S. Perhaps the scariest aspect of vascular disease is that it usually gives no indication of its presence until a devastating health event occurs, such as an aneurysm or stroke.
Vascular Disease Screening
Ideally, anyone who has a high risk for vascular disease should be screened as part of his or her regular checkup; however, this is usually not the case, and thus it behooves the individual to be proactive. High-risk groups include anyone age 70 or older and age 55 or older who have smoked habitually or have a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease and so forth. Another high-risk group is anyone, including young people, with a family history of circulatory or vascular problems.
The Value of Screening
Vascular-related disorders cause complications in the body’s complex system of blood vessels. These complications can result in chronic or disabling diseases, and they can lead to life-threatening emergencies in a moment. With vascular disease, a seemingly healthy person can die or become afflicted or disabled in a heartbeat. Early detection is the most effective way to combat vascular disease, and the vast majority of people who are detected early lead normal, healthy lives.
Screening Can Save Your Life
Anyone in a high-risk group should be screened as soon as possible and then scheduled for regular screening. People who are unsure if they’re in a high-risk group, including young people, should consult with a doctor. For most people under 55 years, the screening will not be necessary, but as they say, better safe than sorry. Consider that vascular disease affects as many Americans as cancer does and that the severest symptoms can occur without warning.
Types of Vascular Screening
Four types of vascular screening are available to provide early detection. They are all simple screening tests that are also painless and non-invasive. Depending on the patient, the doctor will use all or just some of the available tests. If a vascular disorder is found, in the vast majority of cases it can be handled in a painless and non-invasive manner. The tests are:
- Ankle-Brachial Index — ABI is a universal diagnostic test that compares blood pressure in the arm to blood pressure in the ankle, which provides an indication of blood flow throughout the body.
- Aortic Scan — An aortic scan is a scan of the body’s main artery using an ultrasound. This scan is most commonly used when there is an indication of an aneurysm.
- Carotid Scan — A carotid scan is a quick scan that evaluates blood pressure and is able to identify severe hypertension, which is the most frequent cause of strokes.
- Peripheral Arterial Disease Scan — PAD scans are able to determine if there’s any obstruction of circulation to the limbs in a very fast manner. It also identifies severity and helps to determine the optimal treatment.
Michael Jones is a keen health blogger and has covered many topics ranging from diabetes to heart disease.