Your body consists of a series of blood vessels that all connect with one another to deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the organs and then return it to the heart. Any disruption to this blood flow will put a strain on your heart as well as the rest of your body. This extra stress can put you in danger of serious medical problems, including a stroke, aneurysm, or heart attack.
Abnormalities within the blood vessels, whether narrowing, blockage, or inflammation, are known as vascular disease. Many patients do not experience symptoms when they have these concerns in their cardiovascular system. So doctors recommend preventative care for certain at-risk patients using vascular screening.
You can feel more comfortable and confident pursuing this type of imaging and testing when you know what will occur during your appointment. Read on to learn more about what a screening for vascular concerns can do for your overall health and what you can expect from this testing.
How Does Vascular Screening Work?
A full vascular screening will involve three types of imaging and testing. The cardiovascular doctor will begin with an ultrasound of the carotid artery in the neck. With this imaging, the doctor can see if any deposits or build-up block the flow of blood in this area.
The next ultrasound will be of the abdominal aorta. They glide the device over the top of your abdomen to ensure there are no underlying symptoms like bulging that could point to a problem with the artery’s function.
Then the doctor will check the extremities, particularly the legs and feet, for a condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The non-invasive testing monitors blood pressure around the ankles to make sure you get the blood you need there.
What Can Vascular Screening Detect?
With this thorough vascular screening, your doctor can see a complete analysis of your blood flow through major arteries. They can ensure you do not show signs of vascular disease or imminent danger of medical emergencies.
These tests can display early stages that point to risks of a stroke, artery rupture, aneurysm, and more. They can also show problems with blood pressure that could put other parts of your body in danger.
Who Needs Vascular Screening?
Doctors will suggest a routine vascular screening in patients that carry risk factors related to cardiovascular concerns. Examples include patients above age 55, those with pre-existing conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history, obesity, and smoking habits.
Patients with symptoms like chest pain or who feel high levels of stress might also benefit from vascular screening. These tests can help you avoid major health problems, so follow recommendations from your cardiovascular specialist.
You can reduce your risk for these blood vessel and artery concerns when you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This will include exercising regularly, ceasing the use of tobacco products, and eating a nutritious and balanced diet. Learn more about preventative care for your vascular system when you call your doctor.