Our veins and arteries are important to our circulatory system as the carry blood around the body and back to the heart. We may take our veins and arteries for granted, but they can become sick if we do, which can have negative implications for our overall health. In fact, there are several conditions and diseases that can make our arteries
and veins sick, and understanding them can help you keep them healthy.
Here is the most common information you need to know about vascular diseases so you have a better understanding of them.
Common vascular disease questions answered
What is a vascular disease? When blood cannot flow smoothly through the arteries, it prevents the body from functioning properly. Vascular diseases can result in stiffening or hardening of the arteries, may develop at birth, or develop later in life as a result of pregnancy or other health issues.
What is a vascular surgeon? Vascular surgeons are specialists in treating the veins and arteries. They are able to recommend treatment methods and prevention methods to keep your veins and arteries healthy.
What is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)? Veins are responsible for returning blood back to the heart so it can become oxygenated again. This is challenging, as blood must travel upward from the legs. But it is more difficult if a person has a valve dysfunction that causes blood to pool. Valve dysfunction may be hereditary or be a result of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot).
What is carotid endarterectomy (CEA)? Carotid arteries are those that bring oxygenated blood to the brain. If these arteries become more than 50 percent blocked, a surgeon may recommend an operation to clean out the artery. If left untreated, there is a higher risk of stroke.
What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)? This is similar to a brain aneurysm where a blood vessel bursts, causing blood to enter the brain. The difference is that AAA occurs in the abdomen region, as the aorta runs from the heart to the lower abdomen. AAA is the 10th leading cause of death among men over 55. The good news is that treatment for AAA has vastly improved with a procedure known as endovascular repair of the abdominal aortic aneurysm (EVAR).
What is an angiogram? An angiogram is an x-ray that is both diagnostic and therapeutic. It is considered the gold standard in evaluating blockages in the arterial system. It can provide information to your doctor to help them determine proper modes of treatment. It’s a fairly short procedure lasting 15 to 20 minutes where the patient is sedated and a color-contrasting dye is injected to detect abnormalities.
Related: Why it’s so important to keep your arteries and veins healthy