We asked one of our vascular surgeons, Dr Lupe Taumeopeau what exactly does cardiovascular health mean? “Cardiovascular health refers to the health of your heart and blood vessels. Your cardiovascular system is the heart and blood vessels which carry blood around the body. The blood vessels transport blood, and the products in blood (nutrients, hormones, oxygen, waste products etc) to and from the heart and other vital organs or tissues. Mr JK.Wicks (Specialist Vein Health’s other vascular surgeon) and myself do not deal directly with the heart. We treat any abnormalities with blood vessels. Blood vessels are like highways in your body that allow blood to flow quickly and efficiently from the heart to the outer region of your body and back again.”
If you are young, you may think you have years ahead of you before it’s time to worry about your cardiovascular or vascular health – but we think your health needs attention at any age.
What is cardiovascular disease? This describes a range of conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels. These include:
- Heart diseases
- Blood vessel diseases
- Coronary artery disease
Why is it time to think about your cardiovascular health? Cardiovascular disease affects thousands of adults in New Zealand. Left untreated it can put patients at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, ischemic (reduced blood flow) limbs or death. Unfortunately, there are often no symptoms in the early stages of disease and when they do surface, they may seem more like annoying niggles than real warning signs.
Five top symptoms you should NOT ignore:
- Leg pain: the most common symptom of atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries) in the lower limbs is leg pain; This is often called claudication. Pain on rest or walking. This is diagnosed by a painless non invasive ultrasound scan.
- Odema: swelling of fluid in your tissues. Often this occurs in the feet, ankles and/or legs. It can be a sign of many health conditions including venous insufficiency (varicose veins).
- Ulcers: this can be a sign of decreased blood flow to the tissues.
- Cold, painful hands or feet: this type of sensation in hands or feet could be caused by not enough blood reaching your extremities. This can be a sign of a narrowing or blockage in the arteries.
- Pain in the buttocks or thighs: This can be a sign of narrowing or blockages in more central vessels such as the aorta (which goes through the abdomen) or the artery in your thigh (iliac). Pain mostly occurs on activity.
Top 10 tips for good cardiovascular health
We have put together a simple list of the top 10 ways to ensure you keep your cardiovascular health in check well into your 60s and beyond. Click here to learn more.
What are the most common Vascular diseases we treat?
- Varicose Veins – gnarled, enlarged veins.
- Spider Veins – small swollen blood vessels we call capillaries.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – Blood clots found inside a vein.
- Strokes – These occur when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked.
- Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm (AAA) – A bulge in the wall of your abdominal artery.
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) – A narrowing or occlusion (blockage) in an artery.
- Artherosclerosis – in your arteries and veins, that causes narrowing or blockages.
- Claudication – pain or cramping in the lower leg(s) due to inadequate blood flow.
What will happen when I have booked to see a Specialist Vein Health surgeon?
- We have developed a 3 stage arterial pathway which includes
- Consultation – with either Mr JK Wicks or Dr Lupe Taumeopeau.
- Diagnosis – our administration team will book you for the appropriate scan(s) at our SVH ultrasound lab.
- Treatment – recommendations and a plan will be made with you after diagnosis is completed.
Take care of your body at all ages – it is the only place you have to live in. Contact us today