Last updated date: 22-May-2023
Originally Written in English
The blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body are referred to as the vascular system. Diseases of the vascular system are known as vascular diseases. They have the potential to obstruct blood flow to and from the body's organs.
Arteries transport blood away from the heart to the rest of the body, whereas veins bring blood to the heart.
Blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke are among major cardiovascular problems that can be caused by vascular diseases. People must learn to recognize the symptoms of the vascular disease so that they can receive prompt and successful therapy.
What are Vascular Diseases?
Any ailment that affects your circulatory system, or blood vessel system, is referred to as a vascular disease. This includes artery, vein, and lymph vessel problems, as well as blood diseases that influence circulation.
Blood vessels are flexible tubes that transport blood throughout your body. The following are examples of blood vessels:
- Arteries are blood vessels that transport blood from the heart to body organs and tissues.
- Veins are blood vessels that recirculate blood to the heart.
- Capillaries, the smallest blood vessels that connect your small veins and arteries, transport oxygen and nutrients to your tissues while also removing waste.
How Common is Vascular Disease?
Vascular disease is highly widespread in America because so many individuals are overweight and have diabetes. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and carotid artery disease are two of the most popular vascular diseases.
Who is Affected by Vascular Diseases?
Some people are born with vascular disorders that their parents passed on to them. They begin dealing with this problem at an earlier age in these cases, such as blood coagulation abnormalities. Many vascular disorders, such as peripheral arterial disease and carotid artery disease, develop over time when plaque (fat and cholesterol) builds up in the arteries. Atherosclerosis, or artery stiffening, can begin as early as adolescence and produce complications in middle age or later.
Vascular Diseases Risk Factors
Vascular diseases are a risk for people with endocrine abnormalities and cardiovascular system diseases. Vascular diseases are caused by unhealthy habits and sedentary employment, which is why physicians place such a high value on developing a healthy lifestyle.
First and foremost, the state of the vessels must be examined:
- Diabetics and hypertensive patients
- Patients who are overweight
- Heavy industry employees
- Heavyweight athletes
- Salty and fatty meal
- Easily agitated and inactive patients
A preventive medical examination is required for everybody over the age of 50. Patients with close relatives who have had vascular diseases will also need to be examined. Remember that vascular problems are frequently related to heart diseases.
What are Peripheral Vascular Diseases?
Your peripheral arteries (blood vessels beyond the heart) may acquire atherosclerosis, which is the formation of plaque (fat and cholesterol plaques) inside them, just like the blood vessels in your heart (coronary arteries). The deposit narrows the artery over time. The constricted artery causes insufficient blood to flow, which might result in ischemia, or insufficient blood supply to your body's tissues. The following are examples of peripheral arterial disease:
- Peripheral artery disease. An obstruction in your legs is known as peripheral artery disease. A complete lack of circulation can result in gangrene and the amputation of a limb.
- Intestinal (mesenteric) ischemia. An obstruction in the blood arteries going to your gastrointestinal system causes the intestinal ischemic syndrome.
- Renal artery disease (renal artery stenosis). Renal artery disease and renal failure can be caused by an obstruction in the renal arteries.
- Popliteal entrapment syndrome. It is an uncommon vascular condition that affects young athletes' legs. The popliteal artery is compressed by muscles and tendons around the knee, reducing blood supply to the lower leg and perhaps injuring the artery.
- Raynaud's phenomenon. It is characterized by spasms in the small arteries of the fingers and toes caused by cold or stress.
- Buerger's disease. Affects tiny and medium-sized arteries, veins, and nerves most frequently. Even though the source is uncertain, there is a strong link to tobacco use or exposure. The arteries in the arms and legs constrict or obstruct, resulting in a decrease in blood flow (ischemia) to the fingers, hands, toes, and feet. If the obstruction is severe enough, the tissue may die (gangrene), necessitating the amputation of the affected fingers and toes. Raynaud's symptoms and superficial vein inflammation are also possible.
Carotid Artery Diseases
These occur in the neck's two main carotid arteries.
- Carotid artery disease. Obstruction or narrowing in the arteries feeding your brain is known as carotid artery disease. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke can occur as a result of this.
- Carotid artery dissection. A tear in one layer of your arterial wall is the beginning of a carotid artery dissection. Blood seeps through the tear and seeps between the layers of the wall.
- Carotid body tumors. They are tumors that develop in the nerve tissue around the carotid artery.
- Carotid artery aneurysm. It is a weakening of the arterial wall that can lead to a rupture.
Veins are thin, flexible tubes with flaps on the inside called valves. These one-way valves open when your muscles contract, allowing blood to flow through your veins. The valves close as your muscles relax, allowing blood to move in one way via your veins.
The valves inside your veins may not shut properly if they get compromised. Blood is able to flow in both directions as a result of this. The valves inside the injured vein will not be able to contain the blood when your muscles relax. This can result in blood pooling or swelling in your veins. Under the skin, the veins swell and resemble ropes. Blood begins to flow more slowly through your veins, and it may adhere to the vessel walls.
Heaviness, hurting, swelling, throbbing, or itching are some of the symptoms. Blood clots are more likely to form.
- Varicose veins. They are dilated, purple, ropy veins that can be seen just beneath the skin. This is caused by damaged vein valves.
- Spider veins. They are purple or red outbursts on the knee, calves, or thigh. This is caused by dilated capillaries (small blood vessels).
- Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS). It is a vascular condition that is evident at birth.
- May-Thurner syndrome (MTS). It occurs when your right iliac artery compresses your left iliac vein, increasing your risk of DVT in your left leg.
- Thoracic outlet syndrome. Compression, damage, or friction of the nerves and/or blood vessels (arteries and veins) in the lower neck, underarm, and upper chest area cause thoracic outlet syndrome.
- Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). It is a disorder that occurs when the venous wall and/or valves in your leg veins do not function properly, making blood flow back to your heart difficult.
When coagulation factors in your blood cause it to coagulate or solidify into a solid, jelly-like mass, a clot forms. A blood clot (thrombus) that forms inside a blood artery might break free and spread through your system, resulting in deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
Blood clots in the arteries can put you at risk for stroke, myocardial infarction, severe leg discomfort, trouble walking, and even limb loss.
- Hypercoagulable states (blood clotting disorders). Conditions that render blood more prone to form blood clots (hypercoagulable) in the arteries and veins, putting persons at risk for blood clots. These problems can be inherited (congenital, meaning that they appear at birth) or acquired. High quantities of clotting proteins (fibrinogen, factor 8, prothrombin) in your blood that cause blood to coagulate or a lack of natural anticoagulant (blood-thinning) proteins (antithrombin, protein C, protein S) are examples of these problems. Circulating antiphospholipid antibodies are one of the most dangerous conditions, as they can induce clots in both arteries and veins.
- Deep vein thrombosis. A blood clot in a deep vein of the leg is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
- Pulmonary embolism. A blood clot that breaks free from a vein and goes to your lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism.
- Paget-schroetter syndrome (axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis). It is the most frequent vascular disorder that affects young, competitive athletes. When your collarbone (clavicle), first rib, or adjacent muscle pinches a vein in your armpit (axilla) or front of your shoulder (the subclavian vein), you have this ailment. This puts you in higher danger.
- Superficial thrombophlebitis. A blood clot in a vein just under the skin is known as superficial thrombophlebitis.
It is a bulging in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can develop in any artery, but the aorta (aortic aneurysm), which is the main artery leaving the heart, is the most frequent site:
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD)
It is a rare medical disorder in which the walls of the medium and large arteries develop aberrant cellular proliferation. This can cause abnormally growing arteries to seem beaded and narrow. This can lead to arterial problems such as aneurysms and dissection.
The lymphatic system is made up of a complex network of lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes that work together to help your immune system safeguard your body from outside invaders. Lymphedema occurs when lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes are absent, damaged, injured, or eliminated, resulting in an abnormal accumulation of fluid.
- Primary lymphedema. Some persons are born without or with abnormalities in specific lymphatic vessels.
- Secondary lymphedema. Occurs when the lymphatic system is compromised by an obstruction or interruption. Infection, tumor, surgery, scar tissue formation, trauma, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), irradiation, or other cancer treatments can all lead to this.
A drug, an infection, or an unidentified condition can cause your blood vessels to become inflamed. Blood flow via your blood vessels may be restricted as a result of this. Rheumatological disorders or connective tissue diseases are sometimes associated with this. Aneurysms can also be caused by vasculitis.
Vascular Diseases Symptoms
Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms
Leg pain or cramps that improve with rest; changes in skin color; fissures or ulcers; and weary legs are all symptoms of peripheral artery disease.
Severe stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, food aversion, and weight loss are all symptoms of intestinal ischemia (or mesenteric ischemia).
Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure), congestive heart failure, and impaired renal function are all symptoms of renal artery disease.
Leg and foot cramping, numbness, tingling, and discoloration are all symptoms of popliteal entrapment syndrome.
Raynaud's syndrome is characterized by red, blue, or white fingers and toes, as well as aching, tingling, and burning.
Buerger's disease causes pain in the arms, hands, legs, and feet, even when you are not moving. Blue or pale fingers and toes.
Carotid Artery Diseases Symptoms
There are usually no manifestations of carotid artery disease until a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini-stroke) occurs. Vision or speech problems, confusion, and memory problems are all symptoms of this condition.
Headache, neck pain, and eye or facial pain are all symptoms of a carotid artery dissection.
Palpitations, elevated blood pressure, sweating, and headaches are all symptoms of carotid body tumors.
Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini-stroke) caused by a carotid artery aneurysm.
Venous Disease Symptoms
Swelling, discomfort, and blue or red veins seen on the legs are all symptoms of varicose and spider veins.
Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS) is characterized by leg or arm pain or heaviness.
Swelling, soreness, pain in the leg, and red or pigmented skin are all symptoms of May-Thurner syndrome (MTS).
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) causes pain in the neck, arm, and shoulder, as well as tingling and numbness in the arm or hand.
Leg cramps, heavy or painful legs, swelling or soreness in your legs are all symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Blood Clots Symptoms
Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are blood coagulation disorders.
Pain, swelling, warmth in your leg, and red skin are all symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Coughing up blood, chest pain, and breathlessness are all symptoms of a pulmonary embolism.
Swelling, stiffness, or soreness in your arm or hand, and blue skin are all symptoms of axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis.
Inflammation, discomfort, warmth around the vein, and red skin are all symptoms of superficial thrombophlebitis.
Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms
Chest pain, a racing heart, difficulty swallowing, and a swollen neck are all symptoms of a thoracic aortic aneurysm.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms include abdominal or back pain, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting, as well as a rapid heart rate (if the aneurysm ruptures).
Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) Symptoms
Neck pain, visual problems, high blood pressure, fainting, hearing a "loud buzzing sensation" or hearing your heartbeat in your ears are all symptoms of fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD).
Vascular Disease Diagnosis
If you're experiencing signs of vascular disease, you should see a cardiologist or vascular surgeon who specializes in diagnosing and treating vascular problems.
You must deal with a multidisciplinary team of cardiac and vascular professionals specializing in the management of vascular diseases, using the most advanced technologies to properly diagnose and treat all types of cardiovascular disease.
Ultrasound is the most prevalent form of diagnostic test used to detect vascular disease. The following are the most popular ultrasound-based vascular disease diagnostics provided:
- Arterial duplex. Ultrasound is used to assess the arteries that feed the arms and legs.
- Arterial physiologic exam. Blood pressure cuffs and ultrasound are used together to assess the arteries that feed the arms and legs. Blood pressure cuffs give measurements that can be used to pinpoint areas of arterial obstruction.
- Abdominal vascular duplex. Ultrasound is used to assess the blood arteries that feed the abdominal organs. This exam, which includes the aorta/iliac/mesenteric arteries, renal Arteries, and Inferior vena cava, requires fasting.
- Carotid duplex (CUS). Ultrasound is used to assess the carotid arteries, which supply the brain and are positioned in the neck.
- Transcranial doppler (TCD). Ultrasound is used to assess the blood arteries that supply the brain within the skull.
- Venous duplex. An ultrasound examination of the veins that bring blood from the arms and legs to the heart, such as a venous exam for thrombosis, venous mapping for dialysis grafts, venous reflux, and venous insufficiency.
Advanced Imaging Studies
In addition to ultrasound, doctors may use a variety of other cutting-edge imaging techniques to confirm vascular pathology, including:
- Angiogram. A minimally invasive imaging procedure that involves inserting a thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel and injecting a contrast material to make the blood vessels detectable on an X-ray.
- Echocardiography. it employs high-frequency sound waves, known as ultrasound, to make comprehensive images of your heart's size, structure, and movement to detect if you have cardiac muscle or valve problems, which could be causing an arrhythmia. There are various types of echocardiography that can be used to confirm arrhythmia and establish the best treatment option.
- CT Scans. A CT scan is a type of imaging that employs X-rays and computers to create images of a cross-section of the body.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A huge magnet, radio waves, and a computer are used to produce clear images of the body. There are no X-rays used in this treatment.
Vascular Disease Treatment
Many vascular diseases can be improved by eating healthier and moving more. Others may necessitate the use of medication or surgical treatment. Treatments for vascular disease differ based on the condition.
Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment
Diet, exercise, medication, and surgery can all help with peripheral artery disease.
Pain medication, clot-busting medications, and surgical removal of the blood clot are all used to treat intestinal ischemia syndrome. For chronic situations, angioplasty, stenting, or bypass surgery may be used.
Low-salt, heart-healthy diet for renal artery disease. Also, statins and blood pressure medications.
Surgery to decompress the popliteal artery in popliteal entrapment syndrome.
Keep your hands and feet warm if you have Raynaud's syndrome. Take medication to keep your blood vessels open (dilated).
To prevent Buerger's disease, stop using tobacco products. Fingers and toes should be warmed up. To open blood vessels, take drugs (vasodilators).
Treatment of Carotid Artery Issues
A healthier diet can help with carotid artery disease. Medications that thin the blood and decrease cholesterol. Getting rid of plaque (carotid endarterectomy). To leave the artery open, angioplasty and stenting are used.
Dissection of the carotid artery is treated with stenting, antiplatelets, and anticoagulants Tumors of the carotid body are surgically removed.
Antihypertensives, cholesterol-lowering medications, and clot-busting medications are all used to treat carotid artery aneurysms. Bypass or stent-graft procedures are both options.
Venous Disease Treatment
Heat, saltwater, or laser therapy are used to treat varicose and spider veins.
Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS) is treated in the same way that varicose veins are.
May-Thurner syndrome (MTS) is treated the same as deep vein thrombosis.
Physical therapy and pharmaceuticals are used to treat thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).
Move your legs regularly and wear compression stockings if you have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Veins can be treated with salt water, laser, or surgical removal.
Blood Clot Treatment
Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are both blood coagulation disorders.
Elevate your legs if you have deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Take blood thinners and pain medications.
Blood thinners and thrombolytics are used to treat pulmonary embolism. A procedure for eliminating the clot. Thrombolytics and blood thinners are used to treat axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis.
Blood thinners and pain relievers are used to treat fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD). An arterial rupture is prevented through surgery.
Allow your arm to rest above your heart level while lying down twice a day for 45 minutes. Make use of a compression sleeve. Use the affected limb for day-to-day activities. If your healthcare practitioner suggests it, go to a specialized lymphedema center.
Treatment Complications and Risks
Any medication can have negative side effects, but the benefits usually outweigh the risks. The majority of side effects fade away with time. If they don't, you might ask your doctor to change you to a different medication.
When considering a procedure or operation, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. What is appropriate for your neighbor may not be appropriate for you.
Collagen Vascular Diseases
Autoimmune disorders are a group of diseases in which the body's immune system destroys its own tissues. Some of these diseases resemble one another. Arthritis and vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) in the tissues may be included. Previously, people with these conditions were labeled as having connective tissue disease or collagen vascular disease. Many specific conditions now have names, including:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Polyarteritis nodosa
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis)
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD)
- Relapsing polychondritis
More broad names may be used when a specific condition cannot be diagnosed. These are known as overlap syndromes or undifferentiated systemic rheumatic (connective tissue) diseases.
Vascular Disease Prognosis
Many vascular disorders have a positive prognosis if detected early by your healthcare professional. As vascular problems worsen, they become more difficult to treat. Carotid artery dissection, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and pulmonary embolism are all life-threatening vascular disorders.
Vascular Disease Prevention
You can't change your age, family history, or DNA, but you can change the following:
- Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can all be controlled.
- Exercise regularly.
- Consume more nutritious foods.
- If you have to sit or stand for long periods of time, get up once an hour.
- Maintain healthy body weight.
- Reduce your level of anxiety.
- Tobacco products should be avoided.
What Can I Expect If I Have Vascular Disease?
Vascular disease is an issue that might last a lifetime. Once your healthcare professional determines that you have plaque buildup in your blood vessels, they will advise you to make certain lifestyle changes. These lifestyle modifications, such as exercising, quitting smoking, and eating healthier meals, will be necessary for many years to come. To reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke, you may need to take medications.
Vascular diseases are disorders that damage the blood vessels and cause blood flow to be restricted. They can raise the risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke.
Smoking, being overweight or obese, and adopting a sedentary lifestyle are all risk factors for vascular disease. People can lower their risk of vascular disease by not smoking or quitting, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet low in trans and saturated fats.
The vascular disease comes in a variety of forms, each with its own set of symptoms and treatment choices. Early treatment helps to lessen the risk of significant and potentially life-threatening consequences in the majority of cases. As a result, anyone experiencing vascular disease symptoms should see a physician for a diagnosis and therapy.