Images courtesy of Michigan Vascular Center
Just as our community has an infrastructure of pipes, designed to carry life-sustaining water to our homes and businesses, our bodies have an infrastructure of pipes called blood vessels that function similarly. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to all the tissues of the body, while veins carry the deoxygenated blood back to the lungs to repeat the process. This massive network of arteries, veins and capillaries (estimated to reach 100,000 miles if laid end to end) also allows for the transportation of nutrients, immune cells and waste products, while helping protect the body from heat, cold and infection.
“Nothing in our profession is more difficult than being asked to participate in a patient’s care after a stroke, after a ruptured aneurysm or after a limb-threatening event has already occurred.” —Robert G. Molnar, M.D.
Unfortunately, this beautifully designed infrastructure can get out of balance, and systems can begin to deteriorate or even fail. Trauma, disease, lifestyle and genetics can all play a role. The question we have to ask ourselves is, Do I or does a loved one have some form of vascular disease?
The fact is that vascular disease is insidious and often stays in the shadows, destroying the foundation of our circulatory system until devastating complications occur. Vascular disease has many faces, including hardening or blockage of arteries that support and supply vital organs and extremities, weakened arteries called aneurysms that risk rupture and can lead to premature death and venous disease that can lead to significant leg discomfort and in extreme cases, severe swelling, non-healing ulcers and possible limb loss.
Michigan Vascular Center Can Help
Established in 1963 and entering its 55th year of practice, Michigan Vascular Center (MVC), headquartered in Flint Township, has become a nationally recognized center of excellence for the diagnosis, management and treatment of all components of vascular disease. MVC is involved with cutting-edge technology and clinical research that is offered in few other places in the Midwest. Using stem cell research, bioengineered vascular bypass options and the most sophisticated minimally invasive methods for severe vascular disease, MVC has enabled members of this community to receive the highest level of vascular care available anywhere.
Vascular surgeons are the only specialty physicians trained to treat all aspects of peripheral vascular disease. According to Robert G. Molnar, M.D., at MVC, “Our vascular surgeons have devoted our lives and careers to identifying, treating and correcting vascular disease processes. Nothing in our profession is more difficult than being asked to participate in a patient’s care after a stroke, after a ruptured aneurysm or after a limb-threatening event has already occurred.”
Free ASAP Screening
This stands for Assess your risk for Stroke, Aneurysm and Peripheral arterial disease. For over 10 years, MVC has offered free vascular screening to the community. To date, over 4,300 patients have received MVC’s free screening. Other organizations, including national groups, have offered these three screening exams at a cost of over $100 per patient. If you are over 50 years of age and have a history of smoking, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes or renal failure or a family history of vascular disease, you are eligible for the free ASAP screening program. Simply call the office at 810-720-ASAP (810-720-2727). If diagnosed early, serious complications may be avoided by modifying risk factors, through medical therapy or through appropriate vascular specialist intervention.
Protecting Personal Infrastructure
Nearly 20 million people in the United States harbor some form of vascular disease, and about 70 percent do not have symptoms, according to 2014 research by THE SAGE GROUP. Certainly, almost everyone knows that he or she should eat a healthy diet, maintain a proper weight and exercise regularly. But those with significant or advanced disease need to be monitored, helped to aggressively manage their risk factors and assisted in their care to avoid the loss of life and limb. In addition, the high financial costs associated with advanced vascular disease are significant. As stewards of our health care system, physicians need to do a better job of disease prevention, disease management and minimally invasive therapies to correct these conditions. MVC continues to offer free screening to those at risk and is happy to provide the expertise and care needed to prevent a crisis in your personal pipeline infrastructure.