As your heart beats, it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels, called the circulatory system. Blood vessels carry blood to every part of the body.
- Arteries carry blood away from the heart.
- Veins return blood back to the heart.
Vascular disease includes any condition that affects your circulatory system. Some of the most common vascular diseases include:
- Peripheral artery disease
Like the blood vessels in your heart, plague can also build up inside your peripheral arteries, or those that run through your arms and legs. Over time, plaque build-up narrows the artery and eventually the narrowed artery can cause inadequate blood flow to the body's tissue.
A peripheral arterial disease (PAD) screening can help assess your stroke risk and the presence of PAD. The screening includes:
- a comprehensive personal and family health history risk assessment
- a blood pressure reading
- an aortic ultrasound (if pre-screening questions determine a need for it), which provides 2-D imaging of the aorta in real time
- an ankle brachial index (ABI) to evaluate for PAD in lower extremities
An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can form in any blood vessel, but they occur most often in the aorta, which is the main blood vessel leaving the heart.
Renal artery disease is most commonly caused by plaque build-up in the renal arteries.
Varicose veins are bulging, swollen, purple, ropy veins caused by damaged valves within the veins. Varicose veins are more common in women than men, and they often run in families. They can also be caused by pregnancy, being severely overweight or standing for long periods of time.
- Blood clots in the veins are usually caused by:
- Long bedrest and/or immobility
- Damage to veins from injury or infection
- Damage to the valves in the vein, causing pooling near the valve flaps
- Pregnancy and hormones (such as estrogen or birth control pills)
- Genetic disorders
- Conditions causing slowed blood flow or thicker blood, such as inflammatory bowel disease, congestive heart failure (CHF) or certain tumors
Several kinds of blood clots can occur in your veins. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot occurring in a deep vein. Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that breaks loose from a vein and travels to the lungs.
Treating Vascular Disease
AnMed Health is a leader in treating those with vascular disease. The expert physicians at AnMed Health Heart and Vascular Center perform a number of vascular procedures including:
- Carotid stenting
- Carotid endarterectomy surgery
- Subclavian stenting
- Renal and visceral artery stenting
- Lower extremity angioplasty, atherectomy and stenting
- Lower extremity bypass surgeries
- Endovascular aneurysm repair
- Open aneurysm repair
- Dialysis procedures
- Varicose vein surgeries
Angioplasty and stenting are the most common procedures to treat blockages. During an angioplasty, the vascular surgeon inflates a small balloon inside a narrowed blood vessel. The balloon helps widen the blood vessel and improve blood flow. Sometimes after the blood vessel is widened, the vascular surgeon will insert a stent. Stents are tiny metal mesh tubes that support your artery walls to keep your vessels wide open.
In an aneurysm repair, vascular surgeons repair or remove an enlarged and weakened section of an artery.
Aneurysm repairs can be take place through an open incision or in a minimally-invasive procedure called endovascular aneurysm repair. The best method to repair each aneurysm depends upon several factors, including the location and shape of the aneurysm as well as the patient’s overall health.
Peripheral vascular disease patients who have open wounds can also benefit from hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen provides several benefits, including:
- Greater blood vessel formation,
- Advanced wound healing,
- Preservation of damaged tissues,
- Elimination of toxic substances,
- Reduction or elimination of tissue obstruction by gas bubbles