What is Blood Vessel Disease?
Vascular Disease affects the circulatory system. Your heart pumps blood with oxygen and nutrients to feed your tissues and carry off the waste. Arteries move blood away from the heart, and Veins return it. We also have Lymph vessels and lymph nodes as part of a separate cleaning system that disposes damaged cells from your body; they help protect you from infections and cancer. Vascular diseases include problems with your arteries, veins, and vessels that carry lymph and affect your blood flows.
Vascular Disease Types
An aneurysm is a bump in the wall of any blood vessel. You can get an aortic aneurysm in your chest or your belly.
Small aneurysms may not be fetal but can put you at risk for other problems:
- Plaque deposits may build up to where the aneurysm is.
- A clot may form and get stuck somewhere, which could be very dangerous.
- The aneurysm might get more oversized, causing pressure on other organs, which causes pain.
Because the artery wall is stretched and thinner at the spot of an aneurysm, it is fragile and could burst under stress, like a balloon. If they sudden rupture can be deadly.
Atherosclerosis and peripheral artery disease
Over time, plaque can build up, so the vessel becomes narrow, making it harder for blood to flow sometimes could rupture, blocking blood flow.
Eventually, the artery will be so narrow that your tissues will not get enough blood. You can experience these symptoms:
- Blockage in coronary arteries can cause angina or a heart attack.
- Blockage in the carotid arteries that supply your brain can lead to a stroke called a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- Blockage in the kidneys, high blood pressure, and heart failure
- A blockage in your leg can lead (a condition called claudication), skin color change, sores, or ulcers.
What causes Blood Vessel Disease?
Causes that slow blood flow or make blood thicker, such as congestive heart failure and certain tumors
- Damaged valves in a vein, called chronic venous insufficiency (If this is not treated, fluid will leak into the tissues, ankles, and feet)
- Damaged veins from injury or infection
- Genetic disorders
- Hormones disorders
- Long resting or not being able to move much
- Surgery on hips and legs
Some conditions make your blood form clots. These types of disorders can cause:
- Higher-than-normal levels of clot-forming substances
- Not enough blood-thinning (proteins)
- Trouble breaking down protein
- Damage to the endothelium, the layers of your blood vessels
The causes are unknown, but there is a link to smoking and chewing tobacco.
Most often happens in veins from your arms and legs. They swell and may form clots, cutting off blood supply to your fingers, hands, toes, or feet. These body parts will hurt, even when you are resting. If it is severe, you might lose your fingers or toes.
Primary lymphedema is rare. It happens when you have a problem with the tubes themselves. When there is a blockage or pause in your lymphatic system, it’s called secondary lymphedema. It can happen because of:
- Cancer and cancer treatments, including radiation
- Scar tissue formation
- Serious injury
- Thrombosis (DVT)
Unlike arteries, veins have valves. Damaged valves may not close properly when your muscles relax. This condition allows blood to flow in both directions while it shows flow in one direction, causing swelling under your skin. They look like small red or purple bursts on your knees, calves, or thighs. Your legs might ache, sting, or swell after some activity. Varicose veins typically occur in women. There often triggers like pregnancy, being overweight, or standing for long times that can cause them.
Because your blood is moving more slowly, clots can form.
Raynaud’s disease or Raynaud’s syndrome
When you are cold or excited, the small arteries of your fingers and your toes may twitch or cramp. This syndrome can temporarily shut down blood supply to the area, making your skin look white or bluish and experience numbness.
The symptoms could also be related to other diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, including lupus and scleroderma. People with Buerger’s disease can also have Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Vascular Disease Causes and Risk Factors
- Blockage in your blood vessel (embolus or thrombus)
- Family history of vascular disease, stroke, or heart attack
- High blood pressure
- High levels of cholesterol
- Inflammation called vasculitis
- Lack of physical activity
- Men are at higher risk than
- Overweight, obesity
- Trauma or injury
How is Blood Vessel Disease Treated?
Vascular Vessel Disease can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as:
- A healthy diet
- Quitting tobacco
- Stress management
You may also need medication for:
- Blood pressure
- Prevent blood clots
If your case is severe, you need to attempt a medical procedure like angioplasty in which your blood vessel is clear.