Vascular Specialist in Atlanta, GA

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Vascular disease is a broad term that covers any condition that impairs blood flow to the body’s organs. The leading causes of vascular disease are diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Other causes include organ or muscle damage and other diseases that affect blood vessels. Many causes, however, are still unknown. Knowing the root of a vascular disease makes it easier to control it.
image 20

Vascular disease is common in the United States and worldwide, but many people feel healthy most of their lives without ever knowing there is a problem. 

Sometimes you may have one or more symptoms, but not necessarily enough to lead to a diagnosis of vascular disease.

Occasionally, the onset of vascular disease is sudden and causes life-threatening symptoms. If you think you are having a vascular crisis or noticing signs or symptoms of vascular disease, see your doctor as soon as possible. 

Describing symptoms helps determine if you are having a vascular problem. 

Schedule an appointment with the team at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow in Atlanta or Marietta, Georgia, for diagnosis and treatment options.

We offer innovative, non-invasive treatment for vascular issues and perform surgery if needed.

What Are the Symptoms of a Vascular Problem?

Vascular disease symptoms are more or less severe depending on the circumstances: how long the problem has persisted, genetics, and personal health factors. 

The symptoms of vascular disease include strokes, heart attacks, a heart murmur, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

All vascular disease symptoms are related to two problems: abnormal blood flow to various body parts and abnormal waste disposal from different body parts into the bloodstream. 

A low blood flow can cause general weakness. For example, a large amount of blood would flow over a partially blocked blockage in an artery in your leg. The reduced blood flow would cause symptoms, such as pain and swelling in your leg.

How Are Vascular Issues Evaluated?

There are various ways a physician can help evaluate the signs of this disorder to determine if a person will develop cardiovascular problems later in life.

The most common test done to determine the state of a person’s vascular system is an ultrasound evaluation.

With this test, a sound wave is transmitted into the body and picked up by an ultrasound transducer to form an image of arteries and veins. 

Doctors can use these images to look for plaque buildup, vessel narrowing, blood clots, and other abnormalities that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Another common method is the “clotting” test. A blood sample is drawn and placed into a heparin coagulometer machine. 

This machine will determine the effectiveness of the blood in fighting clots. If the clotting factor levels are low, it may indicate an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Other tests are also often used, including an electrocardiogram (ECG) and imaging scans such as X-rays or computerized tomography (CT) scans. 

These tests are more costly and may not be necessary for many people. However, these tests may help reveal the problem earlier than other metrics in some cases.

How Is It Treated?

Treatment options for vascular issues include medications, procedures, and lifestyle changes. Medications can help prevent heart and artery problems from becoming worse or from starting in the first place. 

Some treatments that have proven to decrease the risk of plaque buildup and narrowing of arteries are:

  • Dietary cholesterol restrictions
  • Statins such as lovastatin
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Vasodilators such as hydralazine and minoxidil
  • Alpha-blockers such as prazosin or doxazosin
  • Antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin or clopidogrel

 

All of these drugs have proven effective. However, they have also increased the risk of severe side effects, including cataracts and kidney failure. 

For this reason, medications are best as a last resort for those who do not respond well to lifestyle changes or procedures.

The medical treatment choices include:

  • Occlusive laser procedures
  • Laser treatment
  • Angioplasty
  • Stent placement
  • Stent grafting
  • Transplantation

 

If you experience any symptoms of vascular disease listed above, you should immediately bring that to your specialist’s attention. So schedule your appointment today.

Our team of vascular specialists at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, located in Atlanta and Marietta, are ready to help.

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD