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Surgery isn't a certainty: Vascular conditions treatable through non-invasive means
Omar P. Haqqani, MD
Midland Daily News
April 2, 2017
When diagnosed with any vascular condition, your medical doctor or vascular specialist/surgeon will help weigh in on your options, recommending specific treatment based on your individual needs.
Though surgery is often a necessary process in curing vascular conditions, there are numerous non-surgical methods available to help combat symptoms and potential health risks that can occur.
Every vascular condition can afflict its host in different ways, as well as cause complications at varying levels of progression; However, when a non-surgical method of treating vascular disease is able to be used, it is the preferred method for all involved.
When considering non-surgical methods of treating vascular conditions, the most often utilized measures taken typically fall under two categories: Medication and non-invasive therapy.
Starting with medication, in some cases, vascular disease can be treated through a regimen of prescribed medication in order to combat any symptoms presented.
For instance, peripheral vascular disease – a condition where plaque builds up in hardened arteries as a result of atherosclerosis – is often treated through medication.
Trental or Pletal, anti-inflammatory medications and vasodilators, help blood flow easier through narrowed areas in the arteries, while aspirin and Plavix can be used as blood thinners, making platelets in the blood less sticky, and lowers the risk of blood clots.
Often times, statin therapy can be prescribed to help control cholesterol levels, preventing the risk of arterial plaque build-up through blockage of the liver enzyme that produces cholesterol.
Renal artery stenosis is another condition that is treated through a number of medication regimens, all depending on the extent and severity of the disease in question.
The first medication that is often used are ACE inhibitors (ARB), whose ability to control the chemical Angiotensin II, which causes the blood vessel muscles to narrow, is able to help relax the blood vessels. Calcium channel blockers also aid in this process.
Diuretics are another medication that are used in cases of renal artery stenosis, as they eliminate excess water from the body, allowing blood vessels to relax.
Finally, beta-blockers are a medication that slows the user’s heart beat down, helping to widen and dilate blood vessels to allow blood to flow freely.
One or some of these medications can be used in a regimen to help combat renal artery stenosis. Calcium channel blockers can also be used to treat Raynaud’s syndrome – a condition that restricts blood from flowing through smaller arteries leading to certain areas of the body.
Those who are diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can also be given a medicinal regimen to help improve symptoms associated with the condition.
In some cases, anti-inflammatory medication can be given to decrease swelling caused by the compression of blood vessels or nerves, while muscle relaxants decrease the tightness and tension in the shoulder.
In other cases, where blood clots form as a result of this condition, medication known as thrombolytics, are available to help dissolve the masses of coagulated blood.
Medication isn’t the only non-surgical method of treating vascular disease, however, as there are numerous options that can either be paired with or completed without the help a medicinal regimen.
For those suffering from varicose or spider veins, for example, can undergo sclerotherapy – an injection of a chemical irritant that is sent directly into the affected veins.
The injection causes the veins to scar from the inside out, and will no longer allow blood to pass through them. Either a physician or a well-trained nurse can quickly perform sclerotherapy in the outpatient clinic.
Compression stockings can also be used to help squeeze varicose or spider veins, which cause the blood vessels to appear less noticeable over time, and can be bought over the counter at any drug store.
Looking at another vascular condition, in cases of thoracic outlet syndrome, physical therapy is often utilized as a method of strengthening areas affected by the disease. Undergoing consistent repetition of exercise targeted at the affected areas helps patients to find normalcy in their everyday lives.
In cases of non-healing wounds developed through vascular disease, many of the treatment options available do not stem from surgical methodology.
Topical wound care therapy, for example, is utilized through the combination of therapeutic footwear, daily saline dressings around the wound, necessary debridement, and regular evaluation.
Additionally, similar to cases of varicose veins, compression dressings are helpful in the healing process of wound care.
Prosthetics and orthotics – devices used in the healing process for non-healing wounds – allow for patients to return to a normal lifestyle and level of functioning.
As with any type of medical treatment for vascular disease, you should consult your medical doctor or vascular specialist for more information regarding all options available.
Though surgical options may be pursued if non-surgical methods of treatment prove to be unsatisfactory, many of these methods are able to be started immediately to help decrease the onset of symptoms and further health risks.
Dr. Omar P. Haqqani is the chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Vascular Health Clinics in Midland.
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