Keeping in Rhythm with Your Vascular Health
Vascular disease refers to any condition affecting the circulatory system. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an example of vascular disease, and so are varicose veins. Vascular disease covers any disorder of the arteries, veins, lymph vessels and some blood disorders, with some conditions being more serious than others. Since the circulatory system and heart work hand-in-hand to pump oxygen and nutrients through the body, a problem with the circulatory system can affect the heart and its ability to work properly.
Some examples of vascular disease are:
- Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm (AAA): An AAA is an enlargement of the lower part of the aorta that extends through the abdominal area. Aneurysms usually are discovered before they cause symptoms, such as back pain, but may rupture if they become too large. Aneurysms should be treated with surgery before they rupture.
- Carotid Artery Disease: This is the narrowing of arteries, usually due to fatty plaque build-up. There are often know warning signs of this disease, but knowing the warning signs of stroke can be critical for patients with carotid artery disease.
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI): CVI is a condition that occurs when the wall and/or valves in the leg veins are not working properly, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs. CVI causes blood to “pool” or collect in these veins. Symptoms can include new varicose veins, swelling in the ankles and aching/tiredness in the legs.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis: This is a blood clot that develops in a vein deep in the body. The clot may not be dangerous, but can break free to other party of the body which can be dangerous. It most often occurs in one arm or one leg. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness or feeling of warmth in the arm or leg.
- Pulmonary Embolism: This happens when a blood clot travels to the lungs and becomes lodged. It is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
- Congenital Vascular Malformations: These are conditions of the blood vessels that people are born with. Some affect the skin and are harmless and others are internal and more serious. These malformations can often be treated with minimally-invasive procedures.
- Varicose Veins: These are abnormal, dilated blood vessels caused by a weakening in the vessel wall. They can look like groups of blue or purple veins and are sometimes surrounded by thin red capillaries known as spider veins. They can appear anywhere, but most often appear on the legs and pelvic area.
There are many options for treating the many types of vascular disease with and without surgery.