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Vascular disease includes any condition that affects the circulatory system. As the heart beats, it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels that carry blood to every part of the body. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins return it. Vascular disease ranges from diseases of your arteries, veins, and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation.
The most common goals of vascular surgery are to repair aneurysms or other damaged and bleeding vessels, reduce stroke risks, correct end organ ischemia, prevent amputations, and reverse debilitating claudication (pain caused by too little blood flow).
Although our arteries tend to thicken, get stiff, and narrow because of a build-up of plaque and cholesterol as we age, causing atherosclerosis, the risk factors associated with vascular disease can largely be controlled. This includes smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise, and
In many cases, those with potentially threatening vascular disease may not be aware of its presence because warning symptoms have not yet developed. That’s why vascular screenings can be critical in helping detect the presence of serious vascular disease before it has a chance to cause harm. These are usually painless, noninvasive tests that find unsuspected, but possibly dangerous conditions such as carotid disease, which can lead to stroke; leg artery blockages, which can lead to limb loss; or aortic aneurysms, which can be fatal if they rupture. Common examples of vascular screening tests include ultrasound examinations and Doppler pressure studies.
Vascular surgeons are the only physicians who are trained to provide all vascular disease treatment options, which include lifestyle changes, medical management, minimally invasive endovascular angioplasty and stent procedures, and both stent graft procedures and open repair of aneurysms.