What is vascular disease?
Vascular disease is any abnormal condition in the blood vessels (veins and arteries). Blood vessels are used to circulate blood throughout the body and problems along this vast network can cause death or severe disability.
Vascular diseases outside the heart can become apparent anywhere.
What are the different types of vascular disease?
The more common vascular diseases are, peripheral artery disease (PAD), stroke, carotid artery disease (CAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), arteriovenous malformation (AVM), pulmonary embolism (blood clots), critical limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and varicose veins.
With the increase in obesity and Type II diabetes as the population ages, vascular diseases are becoming more widespread. PAD can occur in anyone at any time, it affects men and women equally.
Atherosclerosis can begin in teenage years . Vascular disease often occurs at sites of turbulent blood flow, for example, when the blood flow in the arteries changes direction abruptly.
What are the causes?
The causes of vascular disease depend on the specific vascular disease.
Causes can include:
- Heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Medicines, including hormones
Sometimes the cause is unknown.
Can vascular diseases be prevented?
There are preventative step you can make against vascular diseases:
- Make healthy lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise and eating a heart-healthy diet.
- Don't smoke or quit smoking.
- Ensure you check cholesterol and blood pressure often.
- Control your blood sugar and diabetes.
- Try not to stand or sit up for long periods of time. If you sit down all day for work, try and getting up and move around every hour or so. If you traveling on a long trip, you can also regularly stretch your legs and wear compression stockings.
How are vascular diseases treated?
The treatment depends on the vascular disease and how severe it is. Types of treatments for vascular diseases include
- Lifestyle changes. This can include getting more exercise or eating a healthier diet.
- Medicines, such as blood thinners, blood pressure medicines, clot-dissolving drugs, cholesterol medicines. In some cases, a catheter can be used to to send medicine directly to a blood vessel.
- Non-surgical procedures, such as stenting, angioplasty and vein ablation may be used.