What is Vascular Disease?
Your body contains an amazing and intricate system of arteries and veins. Arteries bring oxygen-rich blood from the heart to every part of the body. Veins return the blood back to the heart and lungs for more oxygen.
Most people know that heart disease can occur when blood vessels become clogged with plaque and cholesterol. But, many are not aware that the same problem, often called hardening of the arteries (or atherosclerosis), can occur in any artery of the body.
Leg swelling, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) and chronic leg problems often result from problems that occur in the veins.
Vascular Surgeons train in this specialty for five to seven years after medical school. Board certified vascular surgeons can treat any vascular condition with any treatment – medication, minimally invasive endovascular surgery, or open surgery.
Common Types of Arterial Disease include:
Aneurysms are bulges that develop in a weakened part of an artery.
These can occur in the brain, but they are most common in the aorta. The aorta is the body’s biggest artery. The aorta runs from the heart through the abdomen.
Aneurysms can also occur in the pelvis or the knee. They can become bigger when the heartbeat pushes against the weakened wall. In the aorta and pelvis, ruptured aortas can be fatal.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Patients with hardening of the arteries begin to lose blood flow to the limbs.
In the early stages, this may cause pain when walking. As the disease progresses, it can cause painful foot ulcers, infections, and even gangrene, which might then require amputation.
People with PAD are three times more likely to dies of heart attacks or strokes than are those do not have PAD.
Carotid Artery Disease & Stroke
Carotid arteries in the neck bring oxygen to the brain.
Patients who have had a stroke, a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or who have been told they have an abnormal sound in that artery, will be referred to a vascular surgeon for diagnosis and possible treatment.