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The vascular system is the body's network of blood vessels. It includes the arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart. Problems of the vascular system are common and can be serious. Arteries can become thick and stiff, a problem called atherosclerosis. Blood clots can clog vessels and block blood flow to the heart or brain. Weakened blood vessels can burst, causing bleeding inside the body.

You are more likely to have vascular disease as you get older. Other factors that make vascular disease more likely include

  • Family history of vascular or heart diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Illness or injury
  • Long periods of sitting or standing still
  • Any condition that affects the heart and blood vessels, such as diabetes or high cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Losing weight, eating healthy foods, being active and not smoking can help vascular disease. Other treatments include medicines and surgery.

Symptoms of Vascular Diseases

The following features are indicative of Vascular Diseases:
  • calf pain
  • painful cramping in hip, thigh or calf muscles after certain activities
  • leg numbness or weakness
  • coldness in lower leg or foot
  • sores on toes, feet or legs that won't heal
  • change in the color of legs
  • hair loss or slower hair growth on feet and legs
  • slower growth of toenails
  • shiny skin on legs
  • no pulse or a weak pulse in legs or feet
  • erectile dysfunction

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Common Causes of Vascular Diseases

The following are the most common causes of Vascular Diseases:
  • atherosclerosis
  • blood vessel inflammation
  • limb injury
  • unusual anatomy of ligaments or muscles
  • radiation exposure

Risk Factors for Vascular Diseases

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Vascular Diseases:
  • smoking
  • uncontrolled diabetes
  • hypertension
  • obesity
  • increasing age
  • family history
  • high levels of homocysteine

Prevention of Vascular Diseases

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Vascular Diseases. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • quit smoking
  • keep blood sugar in control
  • exercise regularly
  • controlling cholesterol levels
  • controlling blood pressure levels
  • eat foods low in saturated fat
  • maintain a healthy weight

Occurrence of Vascular Diseases

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Vascular Diseases cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Vascular Diseases can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Vascular Diseases can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Vascular Diseases

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Vascular Diseases:
  • Physical exam: To find signs of peripheral arterial disease
  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI) test: To diagnose peripheral arterial disease
  • Ultrasound: To evaluate blood flow through blood vessels and identify blocked or narrowed arteries
  • Angiography: To view blood flow through arteries
  • Blood tests: To measure cholesterol and triglycerides and to check for diabetes

Doctor for Diagnosis of Vascular Diseases

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Vascular Diseases:
  • Vascular surgeon

Complications of Vascular Diseases if untreated

Yes, Vascular Diseases causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Vascular Diseases is left untreated:
  • critical limb ischemia
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • leg or foot that becomes cool to the touch, pale, blue, or numb
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath with leg pain
  • red, hot, or swollen legs
  • new sores/ulcers
  • fever
  • general ill feeling
  • arteriosclerosis of the extremities

Procedures for Treatment of Vascular Diseases

The following procedures are used to treat Vascular Diseases:
  • Angioplasty: To treat peripheral artery disease
  • Bypass surgery: To allow blood to flow around or bypass the blocked or narrowed artery
  • Thrombolytic therapy: To break the clots

Self-care for Vascular Diseases

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Vascular Diseases:
  • Stop smoking: Helps reducing risk of complications
  • Regular exercise: Helps conditioning muscles to use oxygen more efficiently
  • Maintain healthy diet: Helps control blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Avoid certain cold medications: To reduce risk of peripheral arterial disease complications

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Vascular Diseases

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Vascular Diseases:
  • Intake ginkgo biloba supplements: Helps with intermittent claudication to walk longer distances with less pain

Patient Support for Treatment of Vascular Diseases

The following actions may help Vascular Diseases patients:
  • Education: Provide education about pain and pain management

Time for Treatment of Vascular Diseases

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Vascular Diseases to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Vascular Diseases.

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