Ochsner North Shore Cardiologist Offers Tips on Whether it Could be PVD
SLIDELL – According to the American Heart Association, peripheral vascular disease (PVD) or peripheral arterial disease (PAD), impacts about 8 million Americans. This common condition is manageable and there are ways to reduce your risk. In conjunction with American Heart Month, Ochsner North Shore Cardiologist Jose Silva, MD, FACC offers tips and information on PVD and how you can reduce your risk.
Peripheral vascular disease is a condition in which the arteries that carry blood away from the heart become narrowed or clogged resulting in slowing or stopping of the blood flow. The most common location for PVD is in the legs but it can occur in other places such as the neck or kidney arteries. Dr. Silva says symptoms of PVD include pain or cramping in the legs during physical activity, such as walking, muscle atrophy, hair loss, skin that feels cool to the touch, cold or numb toes or non-healing ulcers. “If you experience these symptoms it is important to speak with your physician about the possibility of PVD, especially since having PVD has been shown to be an independent predictor of increased risk of cardiovascular death.”
Dr. Silva says there are factors that increase the overall risk of developing PVD, including:
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Family history of heart or vascular disease
“The most important thing to do to reduce your risk of PVD and a variety of other illnesses is to quit smoking,” says Dr. Silva. In addition, he recommends diet and exercise to lose weight along with blood pressure and cholesterol management.
If lifestyle changes and medication are not enough to control the symptoms, there are a number of treatment options available to successfully open blood vessels at the site of blockages and restore normal blood flow. In many cases, these procedures can be performed without open surgery using modern, interventional cardiovascular techniques in a cardiac catheterization lab. Some of the treatment options include:
• Angioplasty – In this procedure, a tiny balloon is placed in the blood vessel at the site of the blockage. It is then inflated to open the artery.
• Stents – This treatment involves a tiny wire mesh metal cylinder, or stent, which is inserted in the clogged vessel to act like scaffolding and hold it open. Stents and angioplasty are often used together.
• Thrombolytic therapy – This treatment involves thrombolytic or clot-busting drugs which are delivered to the site of blockages caused by blood clots. The drugs dissolve the clot and restore blood flow.
• Stent-grafts – In this procedure, a stent covered with synthetic fabric is inserted into the blood vessels to bypass diseased arteries.
Ochsner North Shore offers a full range of cardiology services provided by three local cardiologists. In 2011 Ochsner Medical Center – North Shore celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art catheterization lab. This is the second such Ochsner lab on the North Shore with the other at Ochsner Health Center – Covington. In addition, the local team offers general cardiology services and interventional cardiology options.
The North Shore team is also a part of the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute and works closely with cardiologists and specialists at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, which was recently ranked number 20 in the nation in heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Thomson Reuters also named Ochsner Medical Center one of the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals of 2011. HealthGrades also ranked the facility among the top five of Louisiana hospitals in cardiology services, coronary interventional procedures and overall cardiac services.
About Ochsner’s North Shore Services:
Ochsner’s North Shore region includes health centers in Abita Springs, Covington, Hammond, Mandeville and Slidell, providing access to physicians in a range of specialties. Ochsner Medical Center – North Shore is a 165-bed, acute-care hospital in Slidell offering a range of inpatient and outpatient services. Ochsner North Shore is a part of Ochsner Health System, southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 16 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital nationally recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a “Best Hospital” across eleven specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 13,000 employees, over 850 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.