You have a family doctor, a dentist and perhaps an eye doctor, all working together to improve or maintain your wellness, your quality of life and help you better understand how you can control your own good health. When more specific health challenges occur, you’ll add specialists, like an orthopedic physician, a rheumatologist or a nephrologist.
So much of your continuing good health is tied to proper blood flow throughout your body and to the viability of your arteries and veins. It’s vital to have a vascular surgeon on your health care team too.
Vascular/endovascular surgeons are uniquely trained in treating diseases of the vascular system. These surgeons are the only physicians who can prescribe medications and non-invasive therapies, perform open surgery and perform minimally invasive procedures. They are also the only surgeons who can perform complicated hybrid surgeries involving both open surgery and minimally invasive procedures.
When should you add a vascular/endovascular surgeon to your health care team?
1) When you experience intermittent claudication, cramping or pain in your buttocks, thighs or legs while walking that eases when you stop activity.
2) when you have a wound that is slow to heal, a wound that gets worse instead of improves,
3) when you have a wound that shows signs of developing gangrene. Gangrene can discolor the skin in a range of hues, such as very pale, blue, purple, black, bronze or red. There is often swelling, blisters or foul-smelling discharge. You may see a clear delineation between diseased skin and healthy skin.
4) when you experience pain in your forefoot, toes and ball of foot, especially at night.
5) when you have coldness, numbness or tingling in your feet.
6) when you are experiencing erectile dysfunction.
These are all indications that you may have peripheral artery disease (PAD). This life-threatening vascular disease narrows arteries and dramatically increases your stroke risk. PAD developed when cholesterol particles accumulate on your artery walls, causing plaque to form. This plaque will build into thicker deposits, causing atherosclerosis, the narrowing of your arteries, restricting blood flow. This blockage can happen anywhere in your body, in the arteries in your stomach, head, arms, but most commonly your legs.
If left untreated, atherosclerotic plaque can cause stroke and critical limb ischemia. When sores, injuries and infections in your legs can’t heal because of restricted blood flow, the tissue begins to die, causing gangrene and requiring amputation
You should see a vascular surgeon when you have:
7) renal artery disease.
8) family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm or a pulsating abdominal mass.
9) over 50 years of age with a history of smoking.
10) over 50 years of age with a history of diabetes.
11) history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
To make an appointment with Vascular Specialists, call 815-824-4406. Having a vascular/endovascular surgeon on your wellness team means better health for you!