Vascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in the U.S. However, symptoms are often not apparent until a severe event like a stroke, aneurysm rupture, or a heart attack. Millions of Americans are still unaware that they are at risk for stroke and death due to vascular diseases.

Vascular screenings are the best way to locate blockages in arteries and help you avoid serious disease,”Anil Hingorani M.D., a vascular specialist at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn (N.Y.) and member of Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), said. “These are painless, noninvasive tests (like an ultrasound examination or Doppler pressure studies).”

Dr. Hingorani stated that vascular disease, which can cause stroke, blockages in the leg and loss of limbs, can also lead to stroke and paralysis.

Vascular disease may lead to aneurysms in the aorta (AAA), which is the main arterial of the body. AAA is unlikely in the general population. However, it increases with age, male gender and race, smoking, family history, previous vascular aneurysms or history of other vascular aneurysms.

According to the SVS, all men aged 65 and over should have an ultrasound screening for AAA. The same goes for women 65 and older with a AAA family history or smokers. If an ultrasound scan of patients 65 years old or older shows an aortic diameter less than 2.6cm, re-screening them for AAA is not recommended. Men with a family history of AAA should be screened at 55 years old because they are more likely to have an AAA-related event.

Vascular disease can also impair circulation and cause peripheral arterial disease in the legs. This can lead to reduced walking ability, and sometimes even leg amputation. Early screening can reduce or stop the progression and identify people who might be at risk of stroke or heart attack from blockages.

For more information about your vascular health, please visit the SVS site at