Skip to Content
Methodist Healthcare

Vascular disease

Vascular disease is a broad term used to describe conditions and diseases affecting the arteries and veins. These blood vessels are vital for blood circulation throughout the body, and problems with vascular function may result in adverse health effects.

Expert vascular care in San Antonio

Our dedicated surgeons work to help maintain your vascular system as a power source for your body's essential functions.

For more than 50 years, Methodist Healthcare has provided high-quality, individualized treatments for vascular diseases and disorders, including surgery and drug therapy. We prioritize using leading-edge technology, the latest research and minimally invasive techniques to provide the best possible outcomes for your condition.

Vascular conditions we treat

Our vascular specialists treat a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
  • Aortoiliac disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Carotid artery occlusive disease
  • Narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the arms and legs
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Vascular malformation

Peripheral vascular disease

Peripheral vascular disease, commonly known as PVD, refers to diseases of blood vessels outside the heart or brain. Usually marked by a narrowing of vessels, peripheral vascular disease restricts the blood flow to the legs, arms or other parts of the body.

Peripheral vascular disease risk factors

Choosing a healthier lifestyle can reduce your chances of getting a peripheral vascular disease. You can manage your risk with healthy lifestyle changes, like:

  • Keeping blood pressure at healthy levels (120/80)
  • Keeping cholesterol at healthy levels (LDL levels less than 100 mg/dL)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight (body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9)
  • Managing diabetes
  • Quitting smoking

Peripheral vascular disease treatment

There are a variety of treatment options available for patients with peripheral vascular disease, ranging from lifestyle changes and home remedies to surgical intervention. Quitting smoking, for example, is one of the best things you can do to reduce the risk of further complications.

Common treatment options for peripheral vascular disease include:

  • Angioplasty
  • Blood clot medication
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Bypass surgery
  • Cholesterol-lowering medication

Aortoiliac disease

Aortoiliac disease, a type of peripheral vascular disease, occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage in the aorta or the iliac arteries from a buildup of plaque. These important arteries are responsible for transporting blood through your pelvis and legs. Plaque can cause arteries to narrow and harden, a process called atherosclerosis.

Aortoiliac disease risk factors

  • Family history of cardiovascular diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking

Aortoiliac disease symptoms

Symptoms of aortoiliac disease vary depending on which artery is being blocked or if it is the abdominal aorta. Cases of aortoiliac disease are characterized by:

  • Blue toe syndrome
  • Deep pain in the abdomen or lower back
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain or cramping in the legs while walking
  • Weak leg muscles

Aortoiliac disease treatment

Typically, symptoms of aortoiliac disease can be treated by lifestyle changes and medication. Surgery may be necessary for more advanced cases.

Lifestyle changes include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise
  • Quitting smoking

Surgical options include:

  • Angioplasty and stenting
  • Endarterectomy
  • Surgical bypass

Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), a type of peripheral vascular disease, is characterized by claudication, which is pain caused by an obstruction in the blood flow due to a narrowing of blood vessels to either your legs or your arms, usually during exercise.

As claudication worsens, you may notice discomfort even when you are resting. Typically, claudication is a symptom of peripheral artery disease.

Peripheral artery disease symptoms

Symptoms of peripheral artery disease include:

  • Coldness or numbness in the lower body
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Slow healing wounds on the legs and feet

Peripheral artery disease risk factors

Old age is the most common cause of peripheral artery disease, as plaque builds up over the course of a lifetime, but there are certain risk factors that can increase your odds of developing peripheral artery disease, including:

  • Family history of heart and vascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Peripheral artery disease diagnosis

In addition to a physical examination, your vascular specialist may perform some additional tests to diagnose PAD:

  • Ankle-brachial index
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Duplex ultrasound

Peripheral artery disease treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Angioplasty
  • Blood clot medication
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Bypass surgery
  • Cholesterol-lowering medication

If you think you have claudication, make an appointment with one of our peripheral vascular disease doctors today.


Arteries become hardened when plaque builds up in them over time, causing limited amounts of blood that travels to your limbs or organs. This process is called atherosclerosis and can cause damage to the part of the body that does not get a healthy amount of blood.

Carotid artery disease

Carotid artery disease is caused by plaque buildup in the carotid arteries, located on each side of your neck. The carotid arteries are responsible for delivering blood from your heart to your brain. Over time, plaque can accumulate in the walls of your carotid arteries, causing your arteries to narrow and not supply enough blood to your brain.

Carotid artery disease is a serious health concern because plaque or blood clots can break loose and travel to the smaller veins that lead directly to larger portions of your brain, blocking blood flow to the brain and causing a stroke.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a similar blockage of blood flow to the brain, but does not result in loss of brain cells due to the obstruction abruptly ending before permanent damage can occur. TIAs are typically called "mini strokes" and are warning signs that you are likely to have a stroke in the future.

Carotid artery disease risk factors

Risk factors for experiencing a stroke from a carotid artery disease include:

  • 65 years old or older
  • Family history of atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

Carotid artery disease symptoms

Because carotid artery disease takes a long time to manifest itself, many people do not experience any symptoms until they are having a stroke or a TIA. Seek medical attention at the nearest emergency room if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty moving or speaking
  • Inability to speak
  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Weakness or tingling on one side of your body, particularly the arms and the legs

If your doctor thinks you are at risk for carotid artery disease, they may suggest the following diagnostic tests:

  • Cerebral angiography
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Duplex ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA)

Carotid artery disease prevention

Below are lifestyle changes you can make to help you avoid carotid artery disease:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage high blood pressure
  • Manage high cholesterol
  • Stop smoking

If your carotid artery disease is severe, surgery will be required to prevent a TIA or stroke.

To learn more about the vascular services we offer, please call the Methodist Healthcare HealthLine at (210) 575-0355.

Methodist Healthcare's vascular disease specialists collaborate with our cardiac care team to diagnose and treat complicated vascular diseases and provide outstanding vascular care to our patients. They specialize in caring for all vein and artery conditions, including peripheral arterial disease, aortic aneurysms and more.

Vascular disease treatments we offer

If vascular surgery is necessary to treat your condition, our specialists may suggest one of the following procedures:

  • Angioplasty
  • Carotid artery stenting
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR)
  • Stenting
  • Surgical bypass
  • Traditional, open aneurysm repair

Looking for a location?

We also offer quality care at these other locations in our extended network.
View All Specialty Locations

Our Locations

We didn't find any facilities that matched your search

Please enter a new search using more specific search criteria.