If you’re curious about what to expect when you come in for your venous evaluation, you are not alone. Many of our patients have no idea what will happen on their first visit to our center. We want to make sure you are as informed as you can possibly be before coming to see us so that you can be more comfortable and educated about the process and working with our Chicago vein specialist.

During your initial appointment, we spend a lot of time discussing your health and medical history, learning about your treatment goals and doing a physical evaluation. That said, not every patient is the same, and there are a few different exams that could be performed. Ultrasound is typically used to ‘see’ how your veins are functioning, but other tests tell us more about the inner workings of your veins. In this article, we discuss one of those other tests—the ankle brachial index.

What do Chicago residents need to know about the ankle brachial index?

The ankle brachial index is a fast, noninvasive method for finding out your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a vascular condition in which your arteries become blocked or narrowed. If you develop PAD, you are at a huge risk for heart attack and stroke. At best, you might suffer from poor circulation and leg pain.

The ankle brachial index test compares the blood pressure in your upper body to the blood pressure in your lower body by measuring your blood pressure with an everyday blood pressure cuff at your arm and again at your ankle. Sometimes this test is combined with an abdominal ultrasound to check for blockages in the arteries or right after walking on a treadmill.

Your ankle brachial index result will be the blood pressure at your ankle divided by the blood pressure at your arm and will suggest whether you have a blockage, are at risk for developing a blockage or are free from a blockage. The lower your ankle brachial index score, the greater your risk for having a blockage and associated complications. You and your Chicago vein specialist will discuss your results together and determine what steps to take next if need be.

Will my Chicago vein specialist do an ankle brachial index test on me?

If Dr. Ramon Castro, a top Chicago vein specialist, suspects that you’re at risk for PAD, he will perform an ankle brachial index test to confirm those suspicions. Some of the reasons he may suspect you’re at risk for PAD are:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight or obese
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Varicose veins

What happens if a blockage is found during my ankle brachial index test?

If you’re at a high risk for developing PAD, Dr. Castro may recommend making lifestyle changes to lower your risk or to keep your condition from worsening. If a blockage is found, the next course of action depends on the severity of the blockage itself. Varicose vein treatment in Chicago can vary from making lifestyle adjustments to taking medications to surgical procedures. Dr. Castro will work with you to determine your best care plan. Make your appointment by calling us at 773-283-7887 or go online to www.yourveinexpert.com.