Peripheral Vascular and EndoVascular Surgery Center


What is Ischemia?

In this condition, a blood clot is formed in veins most commonly in the legs, sometimes in the arms, and the patient experiences pain swelling and redness of the affected limb.

Ischemia is any reduction in blood flow resulting in decreased oxygen and nutrient supplies to a tissue.

Ischemia may be reversible or it may be irreversible, resulting in tissue death.

Ischemia can be acute due to a sudden reduction in blood flow or chronic due to slowly decreasing blood flow.

Ischemia can occur anywhere in the body. Heart attacks and strokes can both result from ischemia. Although less well known, ischemia can also affect the intestines, resulting in abdominal pain, bloody stool, and even intestinal rupture or gangrene. Peripheral ischemia can lead to loss of fingers or toes or the need for limb amputation.

What are the causes of ischemia?

Ischemia is caused by a decrease in blood supply to a tissue or organ. Blood flow can be blocked by a clot, an embolus, or constriction of an artery. It can occur due to gradual thickening of the artery wall and narrowing of the artery, as in atherosclerosis. Trauma can also cause ischemia.

What are the risk factors of ischemia?

Some of the risk factors of Ischemia are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol or triglycerides
  • Increasing age
  • Male gender
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress
  • Tobacco use
  • Trauma
  • Underlying vascular disease
  • Venous thromboembolism

What are the symptoms of ischemia (excluding heart and brain) ?

Some of the symptoms of Ischemia are:

  • Abdominal discomfort when eating
  • Bloody stools (the blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Diarrhea
  • Leg pain with walking or climbing stairs
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Non-healing sores
  • Pain
  • Skin changes like pallor, bluish discoloration

What is the treatment of ischemia?

Some of the treatments of Ischemia are:

  • Medications to control pain and dilate blood vessels
  • Medications to prevent ongoing clot formation
  • Medications to reduce the heart's workload
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Procedures to expand blood vessels
  • Surgery or procedures to remove clots
  • Surgery to bypass blocked blood vessels
  • Thrombolytic drugs to dissolve clots

How do we prevent ischemia?

Some of the preventive measures for Ischemia are:

  • Controlling your blood sugar
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Engaging in physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking and other tobacco products
  • Reducing your stress level
  • Taking medications as recommended for heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure

More FAQ for Ischemia

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