Doctor and patient

About 20 to 30 million Americans are at risk for various vascular diseases, including stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), carotid artery disease and aortic aneurysms. National screening studies indicate that 13 percent of the people screened have signs of these vascular conditions, but were unaware of them. Vascular disease outside the heart occurs in the carotid arteries in the neck, the aorta, and the arteries in the legs and arms and even in the veins. Just like heart disease, each one of these problems has consequences that can be fatal or can be very serious and lead to hospitalization and severe disability.

The Most Deadly Types of Vascular Disease

Carotid Artery Disease occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels to the brain, develop a buildup of plaque caused by hardening of the arteries. When the buildup becomes severe, it can cause a stroke; however, if carotid artery disease is detected and treated, doctors can prevent most strokes.

Aortic aneurysms occur when the wall of the aorta, the main artery in the chest and abdomen, progressively weakens, grows larger and eventually ruptures. An aneurysm that ruptures has an 80 percent fatality rate, and most people with aneurysms are never diagnosed until they experience a fatal rupture. If the aortic aneurysm is detected and treated electively, the risk of fatality is reduced to the range of two to three percent.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is the name for blockages that can impair circulation to the legs and lead to serious disability or amputation. Between 25 and 30 million people over 70 have PAD, and they are three times as likely to die of heart attacks and strokes as those without the disease.

Who Should be Screened for Vascular Disease?

Anyone over the age of 55 has a higher risk of atherosclerosis and developing vascular disease. Other well recognized risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Family history of atherosclerotic problems and circulatory problems

Early Detection is Vital

In most cases, with early detection, vascular disease can be treated effectively. There are several simple screening tests that detect these problems, all of which are non-invasive and painless.

  • Carotid Scan: This quick carotid duplex ultrasound scan and blood pressure check can detect the most frequent causes of stroke—significant internal carotid artery stenosis.
  • Aortic Scan: This ultrasound scan of the aorta, the body’s main artery, can show how big the aneurysm is and when it needs treatment.
  • PAD Scan: A Doppler exam for PAD can quickly determine if there is any impairment in the circulation to the limbs. The exam can identify blockages in the leg arteries and tell how severe the blockage is and whether treatment is needed.

How Can I Get a Screening?

Cabell Huntington Hospital is offering all three screenings for a total price of $99, payable by cash or credit card. Individual screenings can be purchased for $45 each. No physician referral is required. For more information or to schedule your screenings, please call 304.526.2125.