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?
What are the risk factors of ischemia?
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol or triglycerides
- Increasing age
- Male gender
- Obesity or being overweight
- Physical inactivity
- Tobacco use
- Underlying vascular disease
- Venous thromboembolism
What are the symptoms of ischemia (excluding heart and brain) ?
- Abdominal discomfort when eating
- Bloody stools (the blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
- Leg pain with walking or climbing stairs
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Non-healing sores
- Skin changes like pallor, bluish discoloration
What is the treatment of ischemia?
- 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?
- 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