Vascular disease treatment in Largo, Florida

If you have leg pain, leg cramps or need to rest when walking, you may show symptoms of a vascular disorder.

Largo Medical Center's highly trained physicians, nurses and technologists have extensive expertise in all aspects of vascular disease. Our vascular services team uses the latest technology in diagnostic testing and treatment options for peripheral arterial and venous disorders.

For more information about vascular disease treatment, call our Consult-A-Nurse® team any time at (888) 741-5115.

Our cardiovascular specialists and surgeons are committed to delivering the highest levels of cardiovascular care.

Largo Medical Center is equipped with a state-of-the-art endovascular suite equipped to perform the most advanced therapeutic procedures treating vascular disease (and heart disease, in some cases), including:

  • Balloon angioplasty— surgical procedure using a specially designed catheter with a tiny balloon, which is inflated to widen a narrowed or blocked artery and increase blood flow to the heart
  • Intravascular stents—procedure to insert a stent to widen an blocked or narrowed artery of the heart and increase blood flow to the heart
  • Intravascular thrombolysis—medication treatment to dissolve clots in blood vessels and improve blood flow
  • Mechanical atherectomy—procedure used to remove the buildup of plaque of fatty materials in diseased arteries

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

PAD is a type of peripheral vascular disease. In PAD, the arteries carrying blood to the legs or arms become clogged with cholesterol plaque. As a result of the blockage, the blood going to the limbs slows or stops, often causing pain or numbness.

Although anyone can develop PAD, it is most common in people 50 years old or older. Unfortunately, leg pain and other symptoms of PAD are too often dismissed as an expected part of aging.

PAD risk factors

Some risk factors of PAD include:

  • Being 50 years old and older
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Family history of vascular disease
  • Overweight

PAD symptoms

Untreated, PAD can be deadly. You should see your physician if you experience these symptoms:

  • The need to rest when walking because of pain or cramps in the leg
  • Numbness or tingling in the toes, foot or leg
  • Discoloration of the foot or leg
  • Sores or ulcers on the foot or leg that heal slowly

Intermittent leg pain or cramping

A major symptom of PAD is intermittent leg pain or cramping, also called claudication.

Your body needs oxygen to function. When you walk, your leg muscles need increased amounts of oxygen to do their work.

If you have blockages in your leg arteries, or in the arteries leading to the legs, you may not be able to get enough oxygen-rich blood down to your legs. The decrease in oxygen to your legs will often result in claudication.

Symptoms of claudication

Claudication can be described as an aching, crampy, tired, heavy and sometimes burning pain in the legs that comes and goes. It typically occurs with walking and goes away with rest.

Symptoms may occur in one or both legs, and they are most often described as cramps. The most common place to feel the cramping is in the calf muscle, although cramping may also appear in the thigh or buttock.

Typically, people with claudication will be able to walk a certain distance, such as three blocks, before cramping becomes so severe they must stop and rest. When they have rested until the pain is gone, they may walk exactly the same distance again before having to stop and rest. The distance a person is able to walk varies with the severity of the blockages in the arteries. Most people with claudication experience no leg discomfort when they are at rest.

Diagnosing claudication

Our extensive heart screening and imaging services help our cardiovascular specialists diagnose any vascular diseases or disorders. Our vascular disease specialists may order any of the following tests to determine whether your arterial blood flow is normal.

Arteries and veins

During this test, blood pressure cuffs are placed at several points along your legs and a Doppler is used to take your blood pressure. You may be asked to walk on a treadmill, and your ankle pressures will be taken again to determine if the pressures decreased when you walked.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound evaluates blood flow and measures the diameter of the arteries.

Arteriogram

During an arteriogram, dye is injected into the arteries while X-rays are taken. The dye shows the blood flow through the arterial system, allowing blockages to be accurately pinpointed.

Claudication treatment

Your physician will use the results from your diagnostic tests to determine the best treatment plan and course of action to take for your particular situation. These treatments may include:

  • Angioplasty
  • Bypass surgery
  • Diet changes
  • Exercise
  • Medication
  • Stenting