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Ask The Expert


Welcome to Universal Vascular Center

At Universal Vascular Center all exams can be done here from ultrasounds to diagnostic procedures. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here for you. Call the office today at (915) 599-9742 to set up your free vein screening. We can answer any questions you might have to make the process a better experience for you.



Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Peripheral Arterial Disease



What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins occur when the valves in the leg veins no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs. If varicose veins are left untreated, they can progress to a more serious for of venous disease called CVI (chronic venous insufficiency).


What Are the Signs and Symptoms of CVI?
•Pain
•Swelling
•Restlessness
•Fatigue of Legs
•Heaviness
•Discoloration, mainly noticed at the ankle area moving up towards knee level (venous stasis)

*Severe symptoms may include skin damage and ulcers. Those with the disease may experience symptoms that make walking and everyday tasks difficult.

Who is at Risk for CVI?
The most important factors leading to the development of chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins include:

•Family History
•Increasing age over 30
•One or more blood clots in superficial or deep veins Female gender, although varicose veins occur nearly as commonly in men
•Multiple pregnancies
•Prolonged standing
•Heavy lifting
•Limited physical activity, high blood pressure, and obesity have also been linked with the presence of varicose veins in women


What Causes Peripheral Arterial Disease?
The most common cause of peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up in your arteries. The exact cause of atherosclerosis isn't known.

Normal Artery and Artery with Plaque Buildup

The illustration shows how P.A.D. can affect arteries in the legs. Figure A shows a normal artery with normal blood flow. The inset image shows a cross-section of the normal artery. Figure B shows an artery with plaque buildup that's partially blocking blood flow. The inset image shows a cross-section of the narrowed artery.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of PAD?
•Claudication – Pain in calf when walking requiring you to stop and rest before you can start to walk again.
•Weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
•Sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all
•A pale or bluish color to the skin
•A lower temperature in one leg compared to the other leg
•Poor nail growth on the toes and decreased hair growth on the legs
•Erectile dysfunction, especially among men who have diabetes

Who is at Risk for PAD?
Smoking - is the main risk factor for P.A.D. Your risk of P.A.D. increases four times if you smoke or have a history of smoking.
Older Age - also is a risk factor for P.A.D. Plaque builds up in your arteries as you age. About 1 in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 has P.A.D. The risk continues to rise as you get older.
Diseases and Conditions

Many diseases and conditions can raise your risk of P.A.D., including:
•Diabetes.
•Kidney Disease
•High blood pressure or a family history of it.
•High cholesterol or a family history of it.
•Coronary heart disease (CHD) or a family history of it.
•Stroke or a family history of it.
•Metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that raise your risk of CHD and other health problems, such as P.A.D., stroke, and diabetes).

Do you have CVI?

•Pain
•Swelling
•Restlessness
•Fatigue of Legs
•Heaviness
•Discoloration, mainly noticed at the ankle area moving up towards knee level (venous stasis)

What can I do to alleviate the symptoms?


•Avoid long periods of standing or sitting
•Exercise regularly. Walking is especially beneficial.
•Lose weight if you are overweight.
•Elevate your legs while sitting and lying down, with your legs elevated above the level of your heart.
•Wear compression stockings

Do you have?


•Claudication – Pain in calf when walking requiring you to stop and rest before you can start to walk again.
•Weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
•Sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all
•A pale or bluish color to the skin
•A lower temperature in one leg compared to the other leg
•Poor nail growth on the toes and decreased hair growth on the legs

If I have PAD, What can I do?

Treatment for PAD depends on its severity. Discuss your options with your primary or specialty physician. 

Some people successfully treat PAD through:
•Lifestyle changes
•Quitting smoking
•Regular physical activity
•Eating a heart-healthy diet

Treatment options vary from person to person, so it is very important to discuss your options for treatment with your doctor.

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