Angiology and Vascular Surgery is the medical-surgical specialty, which is responsible for diagnosis and treatment not only of varicose veins, but all the diseases that involve the peripheral circulation. This is a very wide “pipe” network, whose mission is to carry blood (and with it, all the oxygen and the nutrients) to every single cell inside our body, and to bring it back to the heart.
All these “pipes” are living structures, and diseases that involve them cause a direct impact in the organ that was being supplied by them, or even in the whole organism. The myocardial infarction, the stroke (or brain embolism) and the pulmonary embolism are some of the leading causes of death in our civilization, and all of them are caused by a vascular problem.
Varicose Veins – venous diseases
The most frequent of the conditions in the venous systems is varicose veins in the legs. In some cases, they are just a small cosmetic problem; but in others, they can cause symptoms of different severity (leg pain, heaviness, tiredness, leg cramps, itching…) and some complications: phlebitis, leg ulcers or bleeding (if a varicose vein bursts). These complications can generally be avoided with timely treatment.
Other problems that may frequently appear in the veins are thrombosis and phlebitis. Both happen when a clot forms abnormally inside a vein. Severity of these conditions can be very variable depending on which vein is the affected one, and the way it evolves (it can range from very mild cases that are unnoticed, or some moderate that can be more or less painful, to very severe cases with real chances of death if it gets complicated with a pulmonary embolism).
Atherosclerosis – arterial diseases
On the other hand, arteries age prematurely if they are under what we call the vascular risk factors: smoking, hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes (and others less significant). They damage the structure of the arterial wall leading to one of the most serious diseases of our time: atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerotic arteries can become obstructed, causing a lack of blood supply to the organs that depend on them (myocardial infarction in the heart, stroke and hemiplegia if in the brain, ischemia and gangrene of extremities, potentially even causing limb loss, etc.). But they can also progressively expand causing aneurysms, which grow slowly and stealthily, asymptomatic, until they eventually break, causing an internal hemorrhage that is usually fatal.
How do we deal with these problems?
The mission of Dr. Jorge Molina Martínez as an Angiologist and Vascular Surgeon is the diagnosis and treatment of all these conditions once established, but even more important is prevention. The diagnosis of the disease in early stages can prevent its progression and its dreadful long-term complications.
A vascular examination and a Duplex Ultrasound study are usually enough to detect the disease, treat it early and avoid serious complications. Considering that it is a non-invasive scan, completely painless and without any risk, it should be performed systematically in patients of any age with varicose veins of all types, and especially in patients over 55 who have smoked and/or have hypertension, cholesterol or diabetes.