The circulatory system is an amazing array of arteries, veins, and capillaries, all of which work together to keep us alive and active. There are over 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body, and if something goes wrong it can mean serious problems or even death. Vascular disease is any abnormality in the circulatory system, and because it can be so serious, you should know the warning signs and how you can prevent it.
The different kinds of vascular problems
Damaged arteries can cause serious problems, such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney failure, and leg pain. Damage to the wall of a blood vessel can cause an aneurysm, either in your heart (an aortic aneurysm) or stomach (an abdominal aneurysm). If an aortic aneurysm ruptures suddenly, this can cause death; smaller aneurysms can put you at risk for plaque build-up and clots. Other vascular problems include blood clots, which can travel to the lungs, lymphedema, which is fluid build-up in the arms and legs, and varicose veins.
Decreasing your risk of vascular disease
As you can see, vascular problems can be very serious. However, there are some things you can do to decrease your risk:
- Maintain a normal weight
- Don’t smoke
- Find ways to deal successfully with stress
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Stay physically active
- Watch your intake of fats such as triglycerides and cholesterol
Unfortunately, there are some things that increase your risk of vascular disease that you can’t control – men are at higher risk than women, and those with a family history of vascular disease are at higher risk.
Vascular disease can be treated with medication, such as drugs to control blood pressure or cholesterol and drugs to prevent blood clots. Surgery such as angioplasty, which clears blockage from blood vessels, may also be recommended.
Vascular disease can be quite serious if left untreated. If you have a vascular disease or are at risk for one, Dr. Sammy A. Zakhary can provide expert care, whether you need surgery or another less-invasive treatment. His office is in Glendale, Arizona – call (623) 258-3255 for an appointment.