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Arterial Blockages

Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC

Vascular Surgery, Wound Care, and Podiatry located throughout Maryland

Of all the arterial blockages that can develop in your body, the most problematic is coronary artery disease because it’s the leading cause of death in the United States. The board-certified physicians at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, specialize in preventing and treating arterial blockages, helping patients prevent serious complications such as a heart attack, stroke, and gangrene. If you need experienced and compassionate vascular care, book an appointment online today or call one of the offices in Bel Air, Baltimore, Towson, Westminster, Elkton, Frederick, Ellicott City, Hampstead, Abingdon, Columbia, Lutherville, Severna Park, MD, Wilmington, and Newark, DE

Arterial Blockages Q & A

What causes arterial blockages?

Arterial blockages occur when cholesterol, calcium, and other fats accumulate in the artery wall, creating deposits called plaque. Without treatment, plaque gets progressively larger and hardens, blocking the blood flowing through the affected artery.

This condition, called atherosclerosis, can affect any artery in your body. It goes by different names, depending on where the plaque occurs. The most common include:

  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Renal artery stenosis

Peripheral artery disease most often affects your legs, while renal artery stenosis occurs when atherosclerosis develops in the arteries carrying blood to your kidneys.

What symptoms develop due to arterial blockages?

Arterial blockages don’t cause symptoms until the plaque is large enough to significantly block your circulation. 

If you have peripheral arterial disease, you develop symptoms such as:

  • Claudication (leg pain when you get active but improves when you rest)
  • Leg fatigue and weakness
  • One foot colder than the other
  • Loss of hair on the affected leg
  • Shiny skin on the affected leg
  • Skin hyperpigmentation
  • Ulcers on your lower legs, feet, or toes

When the blockages affect arteries serving your kidneys, you develop chronic kidney disease. If you have carotid artery disease or coronary artery disease, your first symptom may be a stroke or heart attack.

How are arterial blockages diagnosed?

Your provider at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, performs one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI) test
  • Six-minute walking test
  • Doppler ultrasound
  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA)
  • Catheter-based angiography

You may also need blood tests to check your cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels.

How are arterial blockages treated?

Your treatment begins with lifestyle changes to reduce risk factors and stop atherosclerosis from getting worse. You may need to change your diet, start an exercise program, lose weight, or stop smoking.

Your provider at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, may also prescribe medication to slow plaque buildup, lower your blood pressure, prevent blood clots, or reduce cholesterol. If you have an ulcer, you also need intensive wound care.

Advanced arterial blockages need treatment to eliminate the plaque and restore normal circulation. Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, perform minimally invasive procedures such as balloon angioplasty, atherectomy, and stenting.

If you have any of the above symptoms, call Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, or schedule an appointment online today.