Many conditions related to problems with the arteries, veins and lymphatic system are included in the term vascular disease. Some of these conditions are not life-threatening, and some of them are. The problem with vascular disease is most conditions do not have noticeable symptoms in their earliest stages. It is common to find the condition only after a screening of some type or when the disease has advanced to a stage that is symptomatic.
From Inconvenient to Deadly
There are many different types of vascular disease. These conditions will often present along with other health issues like diabetes. Some vascular diseases, like Raynaud’s, is more inconvenient than deadly, although, if left untreated, even these seemingly benign problems can have devastating effects.
Raynaud’s disease is known for causing hands and toes to stay cold. Low temperatures and stress cause the blood vessels in the fingers and toes to overact by reducing the blood flow. For many individuals, it is an inconvenience to have cold hands and feet most of the time, but the condition is not a serious health issue. For others with Raynaud’s, the low blood flow may also impact the heart.
Varicose veins present a similar scenario. This condition presents as unsightly veins seen on the surface of the skin. Some can get quite large. Varicose veins, when treated, do not necessarily present a life-threatening problem. Left untreated however, a number of serious problems could develop. A rupture could cause an intense bleed and lead to unconsciousness and possibly death. A blood clot from such a vein could cause permanent vein damage. Leg ulcers are the result of this. If a blood clot from a varicose vein should travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism, it could be a fatal situation.
Other vascular diseases are serious. Carotid artery disease, aneurysm, deep vein thrombosis, arthrosclerosis, peripheral artery disease and stroke are just a few. Some vascular diseases cause problems with arteries, veins and the vessels that carry lymph. Some affect the flow of blood to your heart and other areas of the body. When your tissues do not receive enough blood, problems can develop.
As with many health conditions, the best prevention is adoption of a healthy lifestyle. This includes a diet of healthy foods with a minimum of refined sugars and carbs, regular exercise and no smoking. The latter is crucial, since a wide variety of vascular diseases are the result of smoking.
Dr. Alan Benvenisty is a board-certified vascular surgeon committed to helping patients diagnosed with vascular disease improve their quality of life. To learn more about vascular health, contact our office today.
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