Blood vessels are a network of tubes through which the blood is pumped throughout the body. The arteries are the ones that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to different parts of the body, including the brain, intestines, kidneys, arms, and legs. However, it is the veins that carry the blood back to the heart.
What is Vascular Disease?
Problems in the vascular system may lead to serious consequences. Vascular diseases can happen as a result of inflammation and weakening of the veins and the arteries. They may also develop as a result of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. This buildup of fatty deposits can result from having too much cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood.
Vascular Disease as a Risk Factor to Heart Disease
Collectively referred to as plaques, these fatty deposits contain cholesterol, but also calcium deposits, fats, and other substances from the blood. Over time, these plaque deposits can narrow the arteries, limiting the blood flow in the body. This condition is called atherosclerosis.
In many cases, atherosclerosis develops gradually. During the early stages it doesn’t produce any symptoms but when the plaque deposits progress and further limits the blood flow, it can lead to angina.
Angina is a medical condition that results from insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles. Chest pain is the most distinct symptom of angina, although discomfort may also be felt in other areas including the jaw, shoulders, arms, or back. When left unmanaged, angina can lead to more serious heart problems including severe arrhythmias, heart attack, and even sudden cardiac death.
Aside from angina, problems in the vascular system can also cause stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition. This happens when the plaque breaks away from the artery wall and cause blockage in the brain artery.
Preventing Vascular and Heart Diseases
Lifestyle plays an important role in the prevention of vascular and heart diseases. Maintaining a healthy body weight through a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity can make a difference in the prevention of these diseases. People with a family history of vascular and heart disease should be more mindful of their lifestyle, as their risk may be higher.
At Premier Surgical in Knoxville, our Board Certified Vascular surgeons are well-trained in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call 865-306-5775 today.