Vascular diseases are abnormal conditions that impair your circulatory systems, such as the blood vessels and heart. Although there are risk factors involved, anyone can suffer from vascular disease, and most times, it often results in death.
Suppose you’ve been diagnosed with vascular disease, or you’re at risk of developing one. Making sure you have an experienced vascular physician on your patient care team will greatly help in your endeavors to maintain a healthy vascular. You can visit cvmus.com to book an appointment with one today.
To understand how vascular disease occurs, you need to understand the vascular system and how it works.
The vascular system, also known as the circulatory system, consists of the heart, blood, and blood vessels such as veins, arteries, capillaries, etc., and is responsible for circulating blood through the body.
This blood circulation keeps you alive by ensuring that your organs, muscles, and tissues are healthy.
Also, the circulatory system helps your body to get rid of toxic materials and waste products. This includes:
- Carbon dioxide from respiration.
- Other chemical byproducts from your organs.
- Waste from things you eat and drink.
Blood vessels are tube-like channels that distribute blood to every part of your body system. These include:
- Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from your heart to the organs and tissues.
- Veins transport deoxygenated blood from the organs back to the heart.
- Capillaries are the tiniest blood vessels that connect the veins to the arteries. It functions mainly by exchanging materials between the blood and tissues.
Common Vascular Diseases
Vascular diseases are commonly caused when fatty substances known as plaque build-up in the artery. This causes the artery to narrow, thereby slowing or restricting blood flow. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
The causes of atherosclerosis aren’t clearly understood, but several things can put you at risk of atherosclerosis. This includes:
- High cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- High saturated fat diet
Coronary Artery Disease ( CAD )
CAD is reported to be the number one killer of adults. It is caused by atherosclerosis in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. When there is a shortage or restriction of blood flow to the heart, it often results in a heart attack.
Before having a heart attack, some people may experience no symptoms, while some may experience the following symptoms.
- Angina (chest pain)
- A tight or burning feeling in the breastbone area.
- Pain spreading to the shoulder, neck, jaw, arms, and back
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness and fatigue when engaging in physical activities.
High Blood Pressure (HBP)
High blood pressure is by far the most common type of vascular disease. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) estimates that around 45% of adults in the U.S suffer from high blood pressure.
The flexibility of the blood vessels allows the easy circulation of blood throughout the body without exacting pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. When the pressure goes below 120/80 mmHg, it is considered normal.
When the pressure against the vessel walls goes above normal consistently, it is known as high blood pressure. If the pressure continues to be high, it can damage the blood vessels in the body.
Damage to the blood vessels can lead to several health complications which may be life-threatening, such as stroke, heart failure, loss of vision, and kidney failure.
HBP is referred to as a silent killer as the majority of people with high blood pressure may not experience any symptoms.
However, once blood pressure rises to about 180/120 mmHg, it now becomes a hypertensive crisis and constitutes a medical emergency.
At this point, a person may experience the following.
- a headache
- heart palpitations
- blurred vision
Who Is At Risk For Vascular Diseases?
Depending on the specific disease, there are several risk factors involved. However, some general risk factors of vascular diseases are:
- Age – aging causes changes to the heart and blood vessels. The most common change is the stiffness of arteries, resulting in high blood pressure.
People above 65 years are more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or CAD than younger people.
- People with conditions that can affect the heart and blood vessels, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, are more prone to develop other types of vascular diseases.
- Genetics or family history also can put one at risk of vascular diseases.
- Infection or injury that damages your veins
Other risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, pregnancy, and smoking.
To ensure that you have a healthy vascular system, consult a vascular physician at cvmus.com today!