Vascular screenings important part of ongoing health

Certain vascular diseases exist with no symptoms or warning signs.

The vascular system is an amazing collection of arteries, vessels and capillaries that aid in the proper circulation of blood throughout the body.

The average person doesn’t give much thought to this superhighway system in their body until something like a blockage keeps it from properly working. The vascular system can become compromised just about anywhere in the body — from a person’s head down to their feet — and in most cases it happens without a warning sign.

“There are many different types of vascular diseases,” said Srikanth Sadhu, MD, a cardiologist with Miami Valley Cardiologists. “We have cardiovascular disease, which is mainly blockages in heart arteries, and cerebrovascular disease, which is in the brain and the neck arteries and can cause strokes. Last, but not least, we have peripheral artery disease, which refers to the blockages of arteries in the abdomen or limbs.”

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is perhaps one of the most common forms of vascular disease and the one for which physicians like Dr. Sadhu urge patients to be screened. About 20 million Americans have PAD of which up to four million have an artery blocked so badly that it poses a risk for limb amputation, he said.

“The most concerning part about this is that a majority of these patients are either minimally symptomatic or have no symptoms at all,” said Dr. Sadhu, who practices with Premier Physician Network. “This means they have no symptoms until their disease progresses into the more advanced stages.”

Screening for vascular diseases like PAD is critical since they can occur with no symptoms. Those who should be screened include smokers, older adults over the age of 70, people with diabetes and high blood pressure, and anyone who has experienced prior cardiac events, Dr. Sadhu said.

Screening is also important because the discovery of PAD in a person likely means they are at-risk for coronary artery disease or cerebrovascular disease as well.

“If you don’t diagnose a person and it continues to progress it means it can eventually lead to a state where a small cut on their leg leads to the loss of a toe or leg,” he said. “Most importantly, the failure to diagnose means a person is walking around with a higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke and doesn’t know it.”

A thorough medical history and clinical exam are the first line of diagnosis for PAD. From there several different tests may be performed to diagnose vascular disease, and which one is chosen depends on the symptoms and area of concern. Tests include the use of ultrasounds, Dopplers, and Ankle Brachial Index (ABI), which measures blood pressure in arms and ankle levels. After these tests, CT angiogram or conventional angiogram may be necessary to further diagnose and treat the PAD.

Dr. Sadhu urges adults to consider their risk for vascular disease and be proactive in consulting their physician about whether they should undergo screening.

Never too late for prevention: All Americans should lead a healthier lifestyle to ensure they remain low risk for vascular disease. Eat a healthy diet, get exercise, quit smoking and manage diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. A positive screening test may only require lifestyle changes and regular physician checkups.

Be on the lookout: Know the classic signs for PAD: cramping in the calf, thighs or buttocks when you walk and fades when you stop moving. Pain at rest during the night or pain in a leg that resolves when you shake your leg.

Early care means hope: Simple awareness of vascular disease and choosing to reduce certain risk factors can go a long way in preventing the disease. Early screening and careful collaboration with physicians can significantly alter the outcome for those diagnosed with PAD.

For more information on vascular screenings or to find a Premier Physician Network physician near you, visit

Premier Physician Network is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Cat reunited with owner 14 years after hurricane disappearance
Cat reunited with owner 14 years after hurricane disappearance

Perry Martin probably can’t stop pondering about his cat. In 2004, the orange tabby Thomas 2, or simply just “T2,” disappeared. It happened when the Fort Pierce man moved into a friend’s house in Stuart after Hurricane Jeanne stormed through the area, according to TCPalm. The retired K-9 officer grieved, but then came...
Why is it called Good Friday and what’s so good about it?
Why is it called Good Friday and what’s so good about it?

Christians believe Jesus was mocked publicly and crucified on a solemn Friday more than two thousand years ago. Today, the calamitous day is celebrated as Good Friday. But what’s so good about that? One answer is that at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, “good” may have referred to “holy” in Old English, a linguistic...
Carrot cake pancakes are a thing now -- and here's where you can get them in Dayton
Carrot cake pancakes are a thing now -- and here's where you can get them in Dayton

Love carrot cake? You can eat this sinfully delicious treat for breakfast, and don’t even have to feel guilty about it, thanks to First Watch.  The brunch chain offers carrot cake as one of the options when you order the multigrain pancakes. They’re loaded with shredded carrots, of course, walnuts and raisins and just like any...
Why mothers shouldn’t rush into another pregnancy
Why mothers shouldn’t rush into another pregnancy

It only takes between eight and 10 weeks after giving birth for a woman to be able to conceive another child, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best thing for her body. While there’s no set rule as to how soon a woman should get pregnant again, a local doctor encourages women to consider giving their body enough time to physically...
Lion Gate Estate: Bizarre $550K home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars takes internet by storm
Lion Gate Estate: Bizarre $550K home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars takes internet by storm

In the market for a whimsical $550,000 home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars and statues lurking around every corner? No? You'll still want to check out the now-viral listing for Detroit's Lion Gate Estate. Trust us. "Unique barely begins to describe this one of a kind Grixdale Farms estate," reads the listing by Real Estate One's...
More Stories