Vascular Disorders

Our arteries and veins are responsible for circulating blood throughout the body. Veins carry blood back to the heart, while arteries circulate blood away from the heart. Vascular disorders occur whenever this circulation is blocked or disrupted in some way. Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that are visible to the naked eye. They are often purple and bulging.  

Types of Vascular Disorders

Varicose veins run in families and tend to flare up during pregnancy. They’re caused by valve failure within the vein. People who stand for long periods, are obese, or are physically inactive are most likely to develop them. Peripheral artery disease is another common vascular disorder that’s characterized by a buildup of plaque that prevents blood from flowing properly. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Blockages in the renal arteries are also dangerous because they can lead to dangerous medical conditions. An aneurysm refers to an irregular bulge in a blood vessel wall. If an aneurysm grows too large, it can rupture and cause a severe hemorrhage. In the majority of cases, aneurysms occur in the aorta, which is the major blood vessel carrying blood from the heart. Blood clots represent another common vascular disorder. They can be triggered by many different things including genetics, certain medical conditions, inactivity, pregnancy and hormone changes. If they happen in a deep vein, it can be dangerous because the clot can then travel to the lungs. When this occurs, it’s known as a pulmonary embolism. Raynaud’s disease is chronic vascular problem that affects about 9 to 11 million Americans. It is associated with severe attacks of pain in the hands and feet. These painful episodes are triggered by exposure to cold and can last up to two hours. When they occur, blood vessels in the fingers and/or toes become closed. At this point in time, treatment options are limited.

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