Understanding Women’s Vascular Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. But while this fact is certainly no secret, how often do people also think about how a woman’s vascular health might otherwise be impacted?

Women’s vascular health can extend beyond that of the heart. It can also strongly affect a woman’s abdominal comfort and health, such as with uterine fibroids and pelvic congestion, as well as the limbs and circulatory system.

And we’re here to help women remain educated and find the healthcare they deserve.

Understanding Women’s Vascular-Related Risk

According to Stony Brook Medicine, women’s vascular health is oftentimes overlooked, leading to both misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis, and thereby complicating their ability to receive proper care.

“Much awareness has been raised about the risks of vascular disease in men, but not as much for women,” Stony Brook vascular surgeon Dr. Angela Kokkosis reported. “Women over the age of 60 are at increased risk of developing abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and carotid arterial disease.”

Additionally, proper care for venous and vascular complications in women are critical, as some studies indicate that “the outcome of cardiovascular disease in women is worse compared with men.”

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are the most common form of benign tumors in women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Manifesting with a range of physical symptoms, women may find their lives impacted by pelvic pain and pressure, heavier menstruation periods, urinary incontinence, and more.

Some studies also show that uterine fibroids are also “associated with hypertension and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD).”

That being said, one of the most commonly recommended solutions to uterine fibroids is uterine fibroid embolization, which is minimally-invasive, non-surgical, and requires no general anesthesia. Uterine fibroid embolization is the process by which your leading physician will cut off the blood flow from an artery to the fibroid, effectively shrinking and eliminating it. UFE is an alternative to hysterectomy and has a patient satisfaction rate over 90%.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

When the blood no longer flows functionally and efficiently through a woman’s abdomen, she may develop pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS), which leads to an increase in chronic pelvic pain and pressure as the veins grow larger.

A woman’s risk of developing PCS may also increase if she is either in her child-bearing years or has previously given birth to more than one child. A woman whose family has a history of PCS may also be at an increased risk.

Recommended treatment and management of this diagnosis may include hormone therapy, sclerotherapy, surgery, and more.

If you’re a woman with a family history of vascular conditions, or if you believe you may be experiencing the symptoms of a vascular or venous-related issue, Duval Vascular Center is on your side. We provide timely, knowledgeable care in a warm and comfortable setting, so don’t forget to call us today at (904) 518-1398 to schedule your free screening!