For specialists who come here from other parts of the country, the question, “What brought you to South Carolina?” often sparks intriguing answers. For McLeod Vascular Specialist Eva Rzucidlo, MD, it was the state’s high level of vascular disease:
Here are some highlights from Dr. Rzucidlo’s comments:
I was in New Hampshire for 20 years, practicing vascular surgery. The thing that brought me down here was that South Carolina has the country’s highest rate of stroke, the highest rate of heart attack and the highest rate of amputation.
McLeod Regional Medical Center admitted 1,025 patients last year with strokes. And we did over 1,000 procedures on patients with vascular disease. That’s an incredible number.
The key is our risk factors. There are certain ones that we can’t control. We can’t control our age, our race and our family history. But there are things that you can control. Smoking. That is a huge problem in the state of South Carolina. Within a year of quitting smoking, your risk of heart attack drops by 50%. That is a significant benefit. Make sure you have a good diet and regular exercise. Those are things you can control.
An aneurysm is a ballooning of the main blood vessel in your belly. If that grows to a certain size like a balloon, it can burst. And there’s more than 30,000 sudden deaths in this country annually. They’re silent. No Symptoms to tell you that you have an aneurysm.
And we worry when people have a family history of vascular disease. For instance, if your mom had an abdominal aneurysm, you or your or siblings have a high risk the same problem. If your dad had one, the risk is somewhat lower for you. But if your mom had an aneurysm, then at the age of 50 you should have an ultrasound to look for an aneurysm. That’s really important.
Other diseases that run in the family are varicose veins. Most people think those are sort of just things that you’ve got to put up with. But they’re not. There’s lots of things that we can do in the office to make your quality of life and your life better with those varicose veins.
However, aneurysms are the most important thing that I could tell you about.