Noticing vascular symptoms saved Dick's life
“My leg turned very cold, and it was painful. I knew there was something wrong,” recalls Dick Lambertson. A few years ago, the 79-year-old began having trouble with his left leg. Soon after that, he noticed a problem in his right leg, too. “I found out there was a blockage in my artery.”
Dick and his wife June are in the daylily business. The Lambertsons hybridize the flowers, start the seeds and sell them in the summertime at their pond-front home in Thompson.
“Dick couldn't walk and do his activities to take care of his farm,” says Dr. Steven Busuttil, a vascular surgeon at Geisinger Community Medical Center. "He could have been at risk of losing his legs.”
A scan of Dick’s abdominal aorta, the largest artery in the abdomen, revealed a severe blockage. In September 2018, Dick had surgery to replace his aorta and restore the blood flow to his legs.
After the vascular surgery that may have saved his limbs, Dick was ready to get back to planning his flower garden. "I'm just glad it's over," he says. "Now I can get prepared for next summer."
What is vascular disease?
Vascular disease occurs when the blood vessels, arteries or veins that carry blood to and from your heart experience problems, such as buildup that restricts the flow of blood. This buildup can lead to varicose veins or more serious conditions including abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), carotid artery disease (CAD), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), peripheral artery disease (PAD) or stroke.
Risk factors for vascular disease include:
- History of stroke, varicose veins, PAD
- Family history of vascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High triglycerides
If you experience any abnormal symptoms in your extremities (legs or arms) like Dick did, or have any of the above risk factors, reach out to your doctor. You could rule out any possible health conditions and get the care you need, as soon as possible.
Looking for vascular care? Find a vascular disease provider.
Learn more about what makes someone at a higher risk for vascular diseases