Dr. Zachary M. Arthurs has been with Coastal Vascular & Vein Center for a year, and he has already experienced a patient/physician partnership that exemplifies not just how arterial disease creeps up and cripples people but also how, together, a patient and a physician can map out the lifestyle changes and treatment needed to provide the patient with pain-free movement.
Wanda came to CVVC with intermittent leg pain so fierce that she could walk only 100 feet before she had to stop. If she went any further, she knew the piercing, charley-horse-like pain would come.
Dr. Arthurs came to Coastal Vascular & Vein Center as a decorated retired lieutenant colonel in U.S Army with almost 15 years of vascular surgery experience. During his time serving the country, he led the prestigious Vascular Surgery Department at Brooke Army Medical Center.
Wando and Dr. Arthurs became an impressive success story.
“She is incredible woman, retired and knew a life of activity and strong friendships before the pain,” Dr. Arthurs explained. “The leg pain was so severe, she withdrew from her social circle, she stopped walking with her friends, she got depressed and eating became an outlet. She was miserable and she had diabetes.”
Wanda also had artery blockages in both thighs – 100% blockages, Dr. Arthur confirmed. Blockages that pulled blood flow down to 50%.
CVVC’s website offers a host of resources with descriptions, symptoms and treatment options for arterial and vascular diseases (coastalvvc.com). Dr. Arthurs also offers a few analogies to explain the complex causes of maladies such as diabetic vascular disease and peripheral arterial disease.
Analogy #1: Arteries are the pipes that bring everything to every organ. Usually the most common area of blockage are the legs, but blockages, which are comprised of plague and debris, also appear in the heart, brain and kidneys.
Analogy #2: Arteries are like water hoses. Without a kink in the hose, a good gush of water flows out the end. With one kink, there might be some flow; with additional kinks, the flow completely stops.
“The body can tolerate one blockage, one kink, sometimes more,” Dr. Arthurs explained. “But pain increases, other symptoms manifest and the risk gets higher.”
And that’s the path Wanda was walking.
“I remember just sitting down in tears and saying I don’t want to live my life like this. I don’t know what to do,” Wanda recalled. “I put up with it for so long, and my activities just ceased.”
Wanda and Dr. Arthurs agreed to dietary therapy first. They pulled sugar out of her diet and restricted the time frame Wanda could eat to from noon to 6 p.m.
“Wanda was motivated,” Dr. Arthurs explained. “That motivation drives everything.”
With a minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Arthurs opened up the blocked arteries, too.
Future visits to CVVC essentially became a monitored watch of Wanda’s transformation back to a healthy life. Her weight dropped 15 pounds and then, by eight weeks, 30 pounds. Wanda started to enjoy walks – and even six hours of gardening one day. She is now off diabetes medication, a benefit that doctors don’t see too often.
“At 67, for me to have such a new lease on life is just amazing,” Wanda said. “I’ve rejoined life and I’m very happy. I’m so glad that I worked with Dr. Arthurs.”
“I would love to say that treating her legs was a big part of Wanda’s success,” Dr. Arthurs said. “But her joy, her ability to take control and her dedication to making lifestyle changes deserve the most credit.”
Coastal Vascular & Vein Center, the only medical group of its kind in the Charleston area, has offices in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Walterboro, North Charleston and Murrells Inlet. Many patients are referred to CVVC by their family physicians, while others visit because they experience one or more of the hallmarks of arterial disease: pain in the legs, wounds that seem to take forever to heal and extremely dry skin.
Wanda’s success story is one of many that unfold at CVVC.
According to the Centers for Diseases Control, 38% of the people living in the United States between the ages of 18 and 40 are prediabetic or diabetic, a statistic so alarming that medical advances to treat diabetes and the comorbidities that often accompany it – including obesity, hypertension, vascular and kidney disease – can’t just be a new procedure or a new device. Medical advancement has to involve a cultural shift in people’s approach to food and their daily lifestyle.
“We didn’t get 38% because we are not active,” Dr. Arthurs explained. “Many people are pounding the pavement running, walking, getting to the gym. But you can’t out exercise out bad food, sugar, work and stress; they catch up with you.”
“In America, we are dealing with an unprecedented surge of uncontrollable weight gain, Dr. Arthurs added. “Calorie reduction and working out are not enough anymore. Obesity – the common, driving link to diabetes – has increased exponentially over the last 30 years because of our culture, our personal choices and behaviors.”
In addition to Wanda’s story, the ideal story for Dr. Arthurs and the team of experts at CVVC includes proactive patients who come to CVVC to seek ways to avoid, or to complement, the treatments CVVC offers once their arteries thicken or become blocked.
“Anyone who is a diabetic should connect with a vascular team as soon as possible,” Dr. Arthurs noted.
CVVC offers a host of treatments and procedures that are minimally invasive and enable patients to get back to the joys in their life almost immediately.
“If you have some issues that are vascular, Coastal Vascular & Vein Center is the place to come,” Wanda advised. “They know what they are doing, and they take good care of you. I can’t imagine getting anything else done other than here.”
Learn more here: https://coastalvvc.com/
By Lisa Moody Breslin