How We Test Vascular Health
We employ both basic and advanced methods for testing vascular supply (i.e. how much blood certain areas of your body are receiving).
We can often reasonably determine vascular supply through a physical exam, gently squeezing the skin in certain areas and seeing its reaction.
However, there are situations where we may need more direct determinations, or someone’s vascular supply is more difficult to detect. That is where our SmartABI system comes in.
ABI stands for “ankle-brachial index.” It is a quick test where we compare the blood pressure at your ankle to the blood pressure at your arm. Through the miracle of modern technology, we get to do this with cool, Bluetooth-connected cuffs!
The lower your leg pressure is compared to your arms, the more of a problem there may be. We may recommend seeing a vascular surgeon or cardiologist in certain situations.
These tests measure arterial supply (blood heading out from the heart) and not venous supply (blood going back to the heart). Venous problems tend to be different from the dangers of PAD and CAD, and should be treated differently. You are much more likely to find swelling as a symptom of a venous problem, for example.
If circulation is a concern, we may recommend ABI testing every 6 months or so. The test is so quick, easy, and important that we do not charge for this service.
Addressing Vascular Concerns (and Just Talking with Your Loved One About It)
As noted above, there are some cases where we will refer you to a vascular expert or cardiologist for further treatment. It’s very important to do so if a condition has reached a certain point.
Otherwise, we may recommend certain changes and behaviors to help increase circulation and maintain better health.
Even if moving may cause some cramping, it is still important to keep moving within your abilities. In many cases, the body can navigate around narrowed and blocked areas by creating new vessels—but you need to be active for this to happen. This can mean gently pushing yourself to the point of claudication and then resting, if safe.
Of course, not everyone may be able to do this. We may need to consider changes in footwear, activity, medication—anything within reason to help circulation. And if these would not be effective, then vascular surgery may be necessary.
However, none of these steps can be taken if the problem remains undetected. And for this, we know you can only do so much with a parent or other loved one who may want to dismiss the concept of there being a problem. Try to make your argument as gently and explicitly as you can, but ultimately the choices for care may remain with them.
If you do suspect potential circulatory problems are affecting your loved one’s feet, please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us questions. You may reach our Indianapolis office at (317) 545-0505 or fill out our online contact form.