Why is screening for vascular disease so important?
There are many different kinds of vascular disease, or diseases of the arteries and veins. Because the role of these blood vessels is to transport blood which carries essential oxygen and nutrients to the entire body, it's important to maintain good vascular health. Blood vessel problems almost always result in diminishe–or blocked–blood flow, or weakened arteries which can rupture (e.g. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm).
That is why vascular disease puts a person at risk of very serious, possibly disabling, and potentially fatal conditions. The greatest threats include:
- Aneurysm of the aorta or a bulge in the body's main artery, which can be fatal if it bursts
- Stroke caused by a blockage in the carotid (neck) arteries which supply blood to the brain
- Poor circulation in the legs, which can lead to serious disability, and in extreme cases, amputation if gangrene develops
A key fact to remember is that many of these conditions can become serious–without symptoms.
Vascular screening detects problems early on, greatly reducing the risk of disability and death. Screening can also prevent vascular disease from starting.
Who needs to get a vascular screening?
People over 60 years old with one or more of the following risk factors, as well as everyone over 50 years old with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Risk factors for vascular disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Coronary (heart) heart disease
- Family history of vascular disease
- Prior stroke or "mini" stroke
- Peripheral (non-cardiac) vascular disease
Beth Israel's three state-of-the-art Vascular Labs offer screening for the full range of vascular diseases using today's most advanced diagnostic techniques. All tests are completely non-invasive, do not involve needles or injections, cause no pain, and have no side effects.