The ulnar artery is a large artery located on the inside of your wrist. It supplies blood to your hand and forearm. Ulnar artery pulse, or carotis ulnaris pulsation, is a sound you hear when you place your palm on your forearm. A blood test can confirm your diagnosis of ulnar artery stenosis.
Ulnar artery stenosis can cause ulnar artery pulse to be blocked, making it difficult to hear. It can also cause nerve damage and pain in your hand.
Symptoms of Ulnar Artery Stenosis
- Pain in the back of your hand
- Red pain in your hand
- Numbness and weakness in your hand
- Tingling or numbness in your fingers
- Tingling or numbness in your fingers and forearm
- Pain in the thumb
- Swelling in your fingers
- Weakness in your fingers
- Weakness in your wrist
- Hand and forearm swelling
- Hand and forearm pain
- Difficulty moving your fingers
- Tingling in your fingers
Causes of Ulnar Artery Stenosis
Ulnar artery stenosis is a rare condition that develops when you have atherosclerosis (hardening of your arteries) and inflammation of the blood vessels in your body. Atherosclerosis affects blood vessels in all parts of your body, including your heart, brain, kidneys, and arteries. Atherosclerosis makes the arteries stiff and narrow. The inflammation of the vessels causes them to become thick and hard, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels.
Ulnar artery stenosis can be caused by:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar (diabetes)
- High blood sugar (glucose)
- High levels of homocysteine, a chemical in the blood that can accumulate in the arteries
- High levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides, or “bad” fats
- Genetic factors
Complications of Ulnar Artery Stenosis
If you have ulnar artery stenosis, you may experience:
- Numbness and tingling in your fingers
- Numbness in your fingers and forearm
If you have ulnar artery stenosis, you may also experience:
- Hand pain
- Hand and wrist pain
- Hand and forearm redness
If you have ulnar artery stenosis, you need to see a doctor. They will check your blood for high levels of LDL, triglycerides, and homocysteine. They may also perform a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) test to check your arteries.
What Is the Treatment for Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
Ulnar artery stenosis can be treated in a number of ways. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery.
- Lifestyle changes
You may need to make some lifestyle changes to treat ulnar artery stenosis. These may include:
- Making changes to your diet
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight
- Increasing physical activity
- Increasing your intake of high-fiber foods
- Decreasing your intake of salt
You can also take medications to treat ulnar artery stenosis. These include:
- Blood pressure medications: Diuretics, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers are used to treat high blood pressure.
- Cholesterol medications: Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol.
- Antidepressants: Some antidepressants can treat depression.
- Pain medications: Some pain medications can help relieve pain associated with ulnar artery stenosis.
- Glucose-lowering medication: Some diabetes medications (metformin) can help prevent ulnar artery stenosis and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Homocysteine medications: There are several medications that can treat high levels of homocysteine.
- Insulin medications: There are several drugs that can help lower your blood sugar.
- Blood vessel-stiffening medications: There are several drugs that can help treat the narrowing of your blood vessels.
Your doctor may also recommend surgery to treat ulnar artery stenosis. This is done by cutting off or bypassing the narrowed blood vessel. The procedure is done in an outpatient setting.
What Are the Complications of Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
Complications of ulnar artery stenosis can include:
- Damage to the nerve
- Hand and wrist discomfort
How Can I Prevent Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
The best way to prevent ulnar artery stenosis is to stop smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. These risk factors contribute to ulnar artery stenosis.
You can also lower the risk of ulnar artery stenosis by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting drinking alcohol
- Quitting or cutting back on smoking
- Reducing or quitting your intake of salt
How Can I Treat Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
The best way to treat ulnar artery stenosis is to reduce the risk factors that cause it. This includes:
- Quitting or cutting back on your smoking
- Increasing your physical activity
- Quitting or cutting down on your intake of salt
- Reducing your intake of high-fiber foods
What Can I Expect from My Treatment or Diagnosis of Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
Your doctor will determine the best treatment for you and your condition. For example, they may recommend surgery or medication to treat ulnar artery stenosis.
If you have ulcerative lesions on your fingers, you may need a procedure called pulsed dye laser therapy. This minimally invasive procedure destroys the ulcerations.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and adjust your medications if necessary. You may need to visit the doctor frequently as your condition progresses. In some cases, ulnar artery stenosis will lead to a heart attack or stroke.
What Is the Outlook for Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
The outlook for ulnar artery stenosis is very good. However, some people will require more intensive treatment later in life.
The outlook is good if you:
- Quit smoking and reduce your intake of alcohol
- Lose weight
- Reduce your intake of salt
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar under control
- Reduce your risk factors for heart disease and stroke
Are There Any Complications Associated with Ulnar Artery Stenosis?
Complications of ulnar artery stenosis include:
- Damage to the nerves in your fingers, hands, and arms
- Hand and forearm discomfort
The outlook of ulnar artery stenosis is good if you:
- Quit smoking and reduce your intake of drinking alcohol
Ulnar artery stenoses are narrowing of the arteries in your hands and fingers. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and other risk factors for ulnar artery stenoses can lead to the condition. It is usually treated with lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery.
Ulnar artery stenoses can cause pain, damage to the nerves, and loss of function in your hands. This condition can also lead to heart attack or stroke.
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