You may be wondering if and when to see a vascular specialist for a health concern. Vascular specialists are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat vascular disease, including diseases of the arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels. Here are common reasons why a patient may see a vascular physician.
Nearly 6.5 million people in the US suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition where the blood supply to the limbs is disrupted due to a blocked artery. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart to the tissues of the body.
Vascular specialists treat patients with PAD; they also treat patients who suffer from renal artery disease and carotid artery disease. Besides medication, these specialists may perform procedures like angioplasty, carotid endarterectomy, or stent insertion. A vascular doctor will perform tests specific to your condition before recommending treatment.
Almost 50% of the US population suffer from vein problems, called venous insufficiency. This is a progressive condition that worsens over time, affecting the vessels carrying oxygen-poor blood from the limbs back toward the heart.
Vascular specialists treat conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), phlebitis, varicose, and spider veins, typically using non-invasive procedures like endovenous laser therapy.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
Every year, 200,000 people in the US are diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). It occurs when the aorta bulges and its wall becomes progressively weak. This bulging of the blood vessel can be dangerous and fatal.
Vascular specialists perform a procedure called open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair by placing an endovascular stent graft or open bypass grafting.
People with kidney failure or end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) need hemodialysis to stay alive. About 661,000 Americans currently have ESKD, out of which about 468,000 are on dialysis and 193,000 with a functioning kidney transplant.
For efficient hemodialysis procedures, it is crucial to get good vascular access (VA). This is a surgically created vein that removes and returns blood from the kidney during hemodialysis.
Vascular specialists crucially perform this difficult task of creating and maintaining VA grafts.
There are various other conditions that a vascular specialist may treat, depending on the patient and severity.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop on the uterine wall. It causes painful and heavy bleeding accompanied by severe pain in the back, legs, and pelvic area.
Vascular specialists sometimes perform a procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) to treat uterine fibroids. The procedure stops blood flow to the fibroids, eventually shrinking it.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) occurs when varicose veins in the pelvis exert pressure on the ovaries, bladder, and rectum, causing abdominal pain, a feeling of heavy legs, and bladder insufficiency. Vascular specialists use non-surgical embolization procedures to obstruct the blood supply to these varicose veins.
If you want more information on vascular conditions and treatment, don’t miss our blog on why the vascular system is important.