Apr 10, 2008
The diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is facilitated by the early identification of the process. The barrier to the early diagnosis of the process is the preconceived idea that the diagnosis of the process must be painful. Nothing could be further from the truth. For people who are at high risk; if you smoke, have Diabetes, High blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or any of these risk factors in a person greater than age 65 should be assessed.
The ankle brachial index (ABI) is a painless test that requires five minutes and can be performed by anyone who can measure a blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff. The blood pressure at the ankle is compared with the blood pressure in the arm. A normal value is greater than .9- between .9 and .75 mild disese, .74 to .50 moderate
An abnormal ankle brachial index suggests that blockages in the vessels of the legs are present. This is important for obvious reasons but also because atherosclerotic blockages are a systemic process. If one has blockages in the legs then it is more likely that these blockages are present in the blood vessels that cause stroke and blood vessels of the heart that may cause a heart attack. In fact, if you have an abnormal ABI, some research studies would show that you are twice as likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack if this process is not treated
So assess your own personal symptoms and risk factors and ask your doctor if you require an ABI test.