ABI Testing for Blood Pressure Questions and Answers
Need ABI testing for your blood pressure? At Primary Care 360, we offer this service along with many others. Call us for more information. Visit us at a location near you in Sherwood AR, Hensley AR, and White Hall AR.
What is ABI Testing?
Ankle-brachial index testing, commonly known as ABI testing, is a simple diagnostic test that compares the blood pressure in the lower and upper limbs of your body. The healthcare provider administering the test will calculate the ABI by dividing the blood pressure score from your lower body (commonly read from a large artery near the ankle), to the blood pressure in your upper body (commonly read from an artery in your arm). This score is your ultimate ABI result.
An ABI test may be ordered for various reasons, but one of the most common is to test for peripheral artery disease, or PAD. Essentially, PAD is a condition in which plaque builds up in your arteries, and it most commonly affects the blood vessels that carry blood down to the legs. Generally, if your ABI score (or ratio) is less than 0.9, it may indicate that you have PAD. The main functions of the ABI test are:
- To diagnose PAD, and then prevent its potential progression and complications
- To identify if you may have a higher risk for coronary artery disease
There are factors that can increase your risk for PAD, including:
- Being a smoker
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- Being 70 or older
- Already having plaque in other arteries, like the arteries in your heart
- Having abnormal pulses in your lower legs
- Being younger age 50, but with type 1 or 2 diabetes and one additional risk factor, such as regular smoking or high blood pressure (hypertension)
While an ABI test will not tell you exactly which blood vessels in your lower body have become blocked, it is a helpful, simple diagnostic tool that can be an integral part in diagnosing PAD or other potential health concerns.
How do you test for an ABI?
During the ABI test, you will most often be asked to lie down on your back. A technician, physician or other healthcare provider will attach a cuff to your ankle, similar to the one attached to your arm when having your blood pressure tested. The test overall will be similar to the way the blood pressure on your arm is tested.
Afterwards, the physician overseeing the test and your care will divide the blood pressure score of your lower body with that of your upper body, and from that, calculate your ABI.
How long does an ABI test take?
This may depend on a variety of factors, but usually, the ABI test itself takes only a few minutes, similar to the way blood pressure is taken for your upper body. However, the duration of your overall appointment may be a little longer, as the physician goes through and discusses your health, symptoms, concerns, and other factors specific to you.
Depending on the result of your ABI test, you may need further time with the doctor to discuss what this means for your health, and the next steps. This means that a test could be anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour or more, depending on your health and what you need. If you’re unsure of what to expect from an ABI test and want more information, feel free to contact us today. At Primary Care 360, we can provide an ABI test and the information you’ll need to ensure your health is taken care of in a comprehensive way.
Do I need a referral to get an ABI Test?
In some cases, you may need a referral for an ABI test. However, at Primary Care 360, we can offer ABI tests without a referral. Simply call us today to get set up. We can accommodate you whether you come in with a referral or not. Depending on the results of the ABI test, you may need follow up care, which we can also provide. We serve patients from Sherwood AR, Hensley AR, White Hall AR, Little Rock AR, Jacksonville AR, Maumelle AR, Cabot AR, Bryant AR, and Conway AR.