Prevention & Screening for Vascular Disease & Stroke
Early detection is key in preventing stroke & vascular disease
At Rochester General, proper vascular screening is an essential part of preventive care, and especially important when it comes to vascular disease and stroke, which can often become serious before any symptoms are noticed. People over the age of 60 with one or more of the following risk factors, and everyone over the age of 50 who has a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm, should be screened for vascular disease and stroke prevention purposes. Risk factors include:
- Coronary (heart) artery disease
- Family history of vascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Peripheral (non-cardiac) vascular disease
- Prior stroke or “mini” stroke
What is Vascular Disease?
Vascular disease is the general term for a variety of problems affecting the blood flow throughout the body's blood vessels. The causes of arterial diseases or problems are wide-ranging, but most vascular disease result from artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Other causes of arterial problems include congenital malformation, trauma and diseases of the arteries.
People with vascular disease have an increased risk of potentially disabling or fatal conditions, including heart attack; stroke due to blocked carotid arteries, which carry blood to the brain; aneurysm of the aorta, the body's main artery; and impaired circulation in the arms and legs, which can lead to severe disability.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” is caused by an interruption in the blood supply to any part of the brain. There are two major types of stroke that cause bleeding in the brain: ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.
An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot (either a thrombus or an embolism). A hemorrhagic stroke happens when small blood vessels in the brain become weak and burst. The resulting blood flow from the ruptured blood vessel damages the brain cells. Some people have defects in the blood vessels of the brain, making a hemorrhagic stroke more likely.
At Rochester General, stroke prevention is extremely important to us. Adopting the following lifestyle changes may help prevent a stroke:
- Eat a healthy, low-fat diet and avoid fatty foods
- Do not drink more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks per day
- Exercise regularly - 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight and 60–90 minutes a day if you are overweight
- Quit smoking
- Get your blood pressure checked every 1–2 years—especially if high blood pressure runs in your family—or more often if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or have had a stroke
- Have your cholesterol checked every 5 years (for adults) or more often if you are being treated for high cholesterol
Follow your doctor's treatment and stroke prevention recommendations if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease
Vascular Surgery Associates offers preventative screenings for the early detection of vascular disease, stroke and other vascular diseases, which can significantly reduce the risk of related long-term health problems, death or disability.
If you would like to arrange a non-urgent screening appointment with one of our vascular surgeons, please contact us at any time.