Vascular disease is any condition that affects the veins or arteries outside your heart. Problems with your circulatory system can be life-threatening.
Dr. Jeffrey Gosin and his staff at Shore Vascular and Vein Center are experienced in recognizing the symptoms of vascular diseases. As the rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, continue to rise and the American population ages, more people than ever before are at risk of developing vascular disease.
Most common types of vascular disease
There are many different types of vascular disease, classified largely by where the problem occurs. According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, some 78 million Americans have high blood pressure, which is the most common form of vascular disease. Some other common types of vascular disease include:
Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
PAD is sometimes called peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and is caused by plaque buildup in the blood vessels. The plaque narrows and stiffens the blood vessels, which reduces circulation.
Symptoms of PAD include pain in your calves, especially when you’re walking. This pain is called claudication. You may have swelling or discoloration of your feet, or you may develop sores that won’t heal.
After high blood pressure, PAD is the most common form of vascular disease. There are between 12 and 15 million diagnosed cases of PAD in the United States, and likely many more undiagnosed cases.
Because PAD develops slowly, it’s easy to miss the symptoms, or to think they’re just normal aches and pains from living and working and aging. However, PAD can lead to serious consequences, including the loss of a limb.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Similar to PAD, an abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when the blood can’t flow freely, except instead of occuring in your legs or feet, the blocked blood vessel is in the large blood vessel in your abdomen, the abdominal aorta.
An aneurysm occurs when the walls of your blood vessels become weak over time and begin to bulge. Eventually, the blood vessel ruptures, and that can be deadly.
There are usually no symptoms associated with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Early detection is usually through diagnostic testing. When they are discovered early, treatment is effective and safe.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
DVT is a blood clot — a thrombosis — in the large veins of your pelvic area or legs. When discovered early enough and treated, DVT isn’t life threatening. However, when a DVT forms and isn’t treated, it can break free. It’s then called an embolus and can be fatal.
About half of the people who develop a DVT don’t have any symptoms at all. If you do experience symptoms, it’s likely to be pain and tenderness in your calf muscles. You may also have swelling in your leg, or skin discoloration.
Preventing vascular disease
There are several things you can do to lower your risk of developing a form of vascular disease. One of the most important is to quit smoking if you’re a tobacco user. Others include:
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range
- Keeping your cholesterol levels in a healthy range
- Working to lower your stress levels
- Seeing your doctor regularly for checkups
If you have risk factors, symptoms, or think your vascular system may be vulnerable for any reason, book an appointment at Shore Vascular and Vein Center. A consultation with Dr. Gosin along with diagnostic testing can lead to early detection and treatment of a potentially dangerous condition.
Scheduling is easy. You can use our online tool to request an appointment, or give us a call at 609-297-5992, Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm.