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The ankle-brachial index(ABI)is a crucial measurement that allows a doctor to determine if there are signs or risk of peripheral arterial disease. The calculation is also used to predict the likelihood of coronary or cerebrovascular events that may arise in the patient’s future. As such, your doctor should calculate your ABI if there is a concern that you may develop these conditions or there is a family history.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

This common condition, also known as peripheral vascular disease, is caused by buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. These fatty deposits result in a blockage of blood flow to the muscles in the legs. The sufferer may not experience any symptoms of the condition, which is why an ABI is so important in early detection and treatment.

If the sufferer does experience symptoms they normally present as pain, usually in both legs, which can be anywhere on the scale from mild to severe. It is also common for patients to experience more pain in one leg than the other. Typically, the pain will diminish when at rest and will disappear completely within around five minute. Patients with an ABI of less than (< 0.9) and experiencing these symptoms are more than likely suffering from PAD.

Coronary or Cerebrovascular Events

Coronary events include heart failure, unstable angina and even sudden death. An ABI is therefore incredibly important in ensuring you receive the preventative treatment that you need. Waiting for related conditions to become symptomatic puts the sufferer’s life at risk. By calculating ABI your doctor can create a treatment plan that is designed to mitigate the chances of serious coronary events developing in the first place.

Just like coronary events, cerebrovascular events pose a serious risk to health. As calculating ABI is one of the tools that a doctor can employ to predict associated conditions, it is important that high risk patients are tested regularly. The most common condition related to cerebrovascular events is a stroke, which may be preventable through proper treatment from a qualified doctor. If your doctor does not calculate ABI as a routine part of your checkups or doesn’t have expertise in treating peripheral vascular disease, coronary or cerebrovascular events you may want to consider changing doctors.

At the Family Diagnostic Clinic we specialize in preventative treatments for a range of heart related health conditions. If you have concerns about your heart, contact our team today to arrange an appointment with a qualified doctor.

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