What Exactly Is a Vascular Screening?
By Grand Rapids Cardiology
February 19, 2020
Category: General
Tags: Vascular Screening  

Could a vascular screening help you protect your health? These screenings, offered by your cardiologist, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan of Grand Rapids Cardiology, provide important information about the condition of your blood vessels.

Why are vascular screenings important?

You are at an increased risk of experiencing a stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, or peripheral artery disease if your blood vessels are blocked or clogged with plaque. Plaque is a collection of fat, cholesterol, and calcium that adheres to the walls of your blood vessels.

How are vascular screenings performed?

Screenings are non-invasive and completely painless. During the ultrasound portion of the testing, you'll lie down while a technician passes a handheld ultrasound transducer over the carotid arteries in your neck, the aorta in your abdomen and the veins in your leg. Vascular screenings also includes ankle and arm blood pressure measurements. A lower reading in either of the legs may be an indication that you have peripheral artery disease.

Should I receive a vascular screening?

Your Grand Rapids heart doctor may recommend a vascular screening if:

  • You smoke: Smokers are more likely to develop vascular disease than non-smokers. In fact, smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, according to the U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking and health.
  • You have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes: Damage to blood vessels and plaque build up in blood vessels can be caused by these conditions. You may be more likely to develop a problem with your blood vessels if you've had the condition for a long time or if your condition isn't well-controlled.
  • You're overweight or sedentary: Excess weight and lack of exercise both increase your risk of stroke, aneurysm, and peripheral artery disease.
  • Your legs bother you: Swelling in your legs/ankles, leg pain, heaviness, or tightness can all be signs of peripheral artery disease and should be evaluated with a vascular screening. Screenings are also a good idea if you have varicose veins or frequent leg ulcers.
  • You are 55 or older: Your risk of developing plaque build-up or blocked vessels increases with age.

Concerned? Give us a call

Protect your health with a vascular screening. Call your cardiologist, Dr. VanderLaan of Grand Rapids Cardiology, at (616) 717-5141 to schedule your appointment.