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Vascular Disease

Vascular disease is a disease that compromised the flow of blood through the veins and arteries of the body. The primary cause of this disease is the hardening of the arteries caused when the lining of the artery thickens due to deposits of fat and plaque. Symptoms can include, reduced kidney function, leg pain and stroke among others.

Due to the hardening of the arteries, the blood flow to the body tissue becomes slower, therefore, the affected tissue suffers from poor function, tissue damage and in some cases death caused by inadequate blood flow. While vascular disease affects the entire body, the heart legs, lymph vessels, and brain are the most commons areas affected.

There are numerous conditions that are included under the umbrella of vascular disease. These conditions are aneurysm, varicose veins, lymphedema, buergers disease and raynaud’s phenomenon.

Aneurysm

An aneurysm is defined as an abnormal bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Although they can form in any blood vessel, they are most commonly found in the main blood vessel leading from the heart (aorta). The two types of aortic aneurysm are thoracic aortic aneurysms and abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Varicose Veins

The swollen, purple, ropy veins seen just under the skin are varicose veins. These are caused by damaged valves within the veins. Pregnancy, gout, obesity, poor posture, and standing for long periods of time are the most common causes of varicose veins. Symptoms of varicose veins include muscle cramps, pain and a feeling of heaviness in the legs. This condition most often occurs between the ages of thirty to sixty with the veins in the legs being the most affected. Elevating the legs and using elastic stockings is usually enough to treat mild cases, however in severe cases, surgery may be required.

Lymphedema

This is a disorder where lymph gathers in soft tissue causing swelling due to inflammation, or obstruction of the lymphatic system which is comprised of an extensive network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes that aids in coordinating the functions of the immune system. Congenital lymphedema (Milroy’s) disease is a hereditary disease with a blockage of the lymph vessels. Lymphedema of the of the lower limbs starts with swelling of the foot that eventually spreads to the entire leg.

There are two kinds of lymphedema. One type is a rare form caused by the absence of certain lymph vessels at birth known as Primary lymphedema. The other type is secondary lymphedema caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system.

Buergers Disease

This is a disease in which the veins, usually in leg or foot, close and the small and medium arteries become inflamed and clotted. The initial symptoms of this disease are numbness, burning or tingling of the foot or leg. Other areas affected are the arms, hands and fingers. There is no known cause for this disease but it is believed to be associated with the use of tobacco. In severe cases, gangrene may set in resulting in the amputation of the toes or fingers.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of vascular disease should consult a physician, most preferable a hematologist for treatment. Proper treatment of this disease is necessary to prevent the loss of one’s fingers and toes as well as other complications.