Vein disease and arterial disease fall under the medical “umbrella” of vascular disease, which is usually defined as any condition that impairs the proper functioning of the circulatory system. Your circulatory system consists of arteries (to convey oxygenated blood from the heart and lungs to other parts of the body) and veins (to convey the deoxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs for regeneration). Both healthy arteries and healthy veins are needed to sustain the proper flow of blood through your body, so any disease – venous or arterial – that impairs this blood flow is serious. But some forms of vascular disease are more serious than others.
What do Texas residents need to know about the dangers of vascular disease?
If you were to attempt to classify the relative danger of arterial disease vs. vein disease by counting the total number of deaths caused by them, clearly arterial disease is more dangerous. Two of the most common causes of death and disability are atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”) and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). When critical arteries are blocked by either the plaque buildup of atherosclerosis of by PAD, the result can be heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and circulatory failure so acute it can lead to gangrene and amputation. Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is another type of arterial disease that causes the arteries in the abdomen to become enlarged; if they grow so large that they rupture, there is an 85% likelihood of death. And a fourth form of arterial disease that is dangerous is carotid artery stenosis (CAS), a type of “mini-stroke” in which the initial symptoms seem to go away, but then lead to a full stroke later.
On the other hand, there is a form of vein disease called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that is just as dangerous as these arterial diseases. DVT causes blood clots to form in the larger veins of the legs. If these clots travel through the veins to the brain they can cause a stroke, and if they travel to the lungs they can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). Embolism is such a common complication of DVT that doctors refer to the condition using a single acronym – DVT/PE – which kills over 300,000 Americans every year. Other vein diseases can cause so much swelling and pain that the person who has them becomes effectively disabled, unable to walk or perform normal activities.
How do you know if you have vascular disease?
See a specialist. This is necessary because very few of the symptoms of vascular disease are recognizable enough that a layman might recognize them. In the realm of vein disease, for example, if you notice varicose veins or the smaller spider veins, or notice that you often have swollen legs and ankles, that might be a good indication that you have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). But CVI can exist while producing no symptoms, so the only way to be sure is to have a screening, during which your Flower Mound vascular doctor will use ultrasound and other specialized diagnostic equipment to look under the surface of the skin. The same is true with most arterial diseases.
Fortunately, these vascular health screenings are fast (less than an hour), non-invasive, and completely painless. Yet they allow your Flower Mound vein specialist to accurately pinpoint vascular problems that cannot be seen on the surface of the skin. If problems arise, they can often be effectively treated by the best vein doctor in Texas in the same comfortable offices, and in about the same amount of time – under an hour.
So don’t just wonder whether you have vascular disease or are at risk of developing it. You can find out for sure by simply calling Dr. Robert A. Handley at 972-410-5757 to set up an appointment for a screening and an initial consultation. The checkup will only take a short time, and given the potential seriousness of both vein diseases and arterial diseases, it could save your life. Make that call today.