Screening for peripheral vascular disease could save your life
Symptoms include temporary blindness or a tingly, cool feeling in the legs - and if you have those, they might not just be old age. Something much more serious, called peripheral vascular disease, could be the cause. If it's not caught early, it can cause serious injuries like loss of a limb, or even death. KLTV 7's Danielle Capper explains who is most at risk, and what you need to know before it's too late.
"This is a silent killer," said Dr. Edwin Duncan.
Dr. Duncan, with East Texas Vascular Associates, has been treating those with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) for years. He says a simple screening procedure could save your life.
"All these screening procedures are to identify a decrease blood flow to some part of the body. The reason there is decreased blood flow would have to do with a blockage in that circulation due to a buildup of what we call plaque or cholesterol and fat that is deposited in that blood vessel that then prevents circulation to the organ," explained Dr. Duncan.
While about 10 million people in the United States are affected, only about one in four is diagnosed and receives treatment. Those most at risk include anyone over 50.
"People with high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, smokers and a family history of these blockages," said Dr. Duncan.
Although there is no cure, early detection is important. The symptoms are different for each so you must be tested. There are three types - a corratted artery test, an abdominal or aorta test, and an extremity test for the legs and arms.
"One of the techniques that we use is...where we actually go through this blockage. As we create a channel we are able to put a wire through that vessel."
Doctors say the sooner the screening, the better, so they can take action before there are serious consequences.
ETMC is offering free PAD screenings. The first screening in December is full but additional dates are being added in January.
Please call ETMC Healthfirst to get on the waiting list at 1-800-648-8141, then press 2.