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Ischemia Singapore

Early Detection Crucial to Recovery

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What is Ischemia?

Ischemia refers to a condition or situation whereby the major organs do not get enough oxygen. The areas mainly affected by this condition are the heart, brain, intestines and the limbs. There are two types of ischemia; silent and chronic ischemia.

The silent type occurs when the patients experiences all the accompanying signs and symptoms minus the pain or discomfort. This condition is common in people suffering from diabetes, elderly people and women. Chronic ischemia occurs when the coronary arteries are so narrowed that the delivery of blood to the organ is limited all the time. This happens even when the patient is at rest. Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a chronic condition where there is severe blockage in the arteries of the lower extremities, which markedly reduces blood-flow and causes severe pain in the feet or toes.

What causes Ischemia?

The main factor for ischemia is the blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the organs with blood. The narrowing or blockage of the arteries may be permanent or temporary. Buildup of cholesterol is known as atherosclerosis. This build up significantly reduces the inner circumference of the arteries, thereby limiting or fully obstructing blood flow.
Other causes include blood clots in the vessels, low blood pressure and injuries.

Symptoms of Ischemia

On the first onset there are hardly any signs or symptoms. The location of the obstruction highly determines the onset, and severity of the symptoms. The common symptoms include;

  • Chest pains, extreme fatigue after mild exertion and shortness of breath. This is restricted or blocked blood flow in the coronary arteries.
  • Dizziness, dementia, motor problems and frequent fainting. These symptoms are mainly for ischemia of the brain and are usually very dangerous.
  • Nausea and vomiting is a common sign of intestinal ischemia.
  • Numbness of the limbs, weakness, cuts that take longer to heal usually accompanies ischemia of the limbs, especially the legs.
  • Restriction of blood flow to the limbs causes darkening of the affected area, slow healing of wounds, discoloration and pallor which may lead to gangrene.

Diagnosis of Ischemia

Most forms of ischemia are hard to detect on the early onset. Proper diagnosis involves a battery of tests which include;

  • Electro cardiogram. Detects electrical abnormalities in the heart activity
  • Blood tests. Damage to the major organs especially the heart is usually accompanied by leakage of enzymes into the blood. Sample tests are performed to determine the location and extent of the damage.
  • Nuclear scan. These are mainly used to establish blood flow to major organs, especially the heart. Small radioactive samples are injected into the blood stream, then small cameras and scanners monitor the blood flow. Restriction or blockage is then easy to point out.
  • For limb ischemia, common diagnosis methods included Doppler probes, ankle-brachial index and pulse volume and angiogram, an x-ray study of the blood vessels using contrasting dyes.

Ischemia Treatment Options

When critical limb ischemia occurs, the critical priority is to preserve the limb and restore the blood flow to the affected area. To prevent amputation, minimally invasive endovascular therapy is often chosen to care for Ischemia, which is often related to arterial diseases, including blockages of the arteries below the knee. Some of the treatments include Angioplasty and Stenting. After which, treatment regimens include;

  • Medication to manage the pain
  • Reduction of the heart workload
  • Prevention of formation of blood clots
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Expansion of the blood vessels
  • Clot removal, either through medication or surgery
  • Vascular bypass

Find out more about Ischemia and Treatment options

Our doctor regularly conducts free public educational forums at his clinic in Singapore. Contact us now if you will like to be informed about the next forum or make an appointment with our doctor for a consultation.

Should I Seek Treatment for Ischemia
Ischemia is a severe condition that requires immediate treatment as it is associated with quite a number of risk factors. These include

  • Heart attacks and cardiac arrest
  • Brain damage
  • Amputation
  • Permanent injury
  • Death