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Information About Vascular Disease
What is Vascular Disease?
Peripheral Vascular Disease is a build-up of plaque in the arteries outside your heart (peripheral arteries) that reduces the flow of blood. As a result, some parts of your body don't get the oxygen they need. Frequently, atheriosclerosis is not confirmed to one artery but may involve arteries in other areas as well. Some of the more commonly affected peripheral areas are the arteries in the legs, arms, kidneys and neck. Some patients may have both coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease.

Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease, or "PAD", is a disorder that occurs when arteries supplying the legs and arms are narrowed or blocked atherosclerotic plaque. Approximately 8-10 million individuals in the United States, the majority over the age of 60, are affected by peripheral arterial disease. The most common symptoms include aching, cramping, pain, or fatigue in the calf or thigh, which occurs with walking and subsides with rest. This symptom is called "intermittent claudication", or simply "claudication".

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a disorder in which a blood clot forms within a vein. Another term for this problem is "thrombophlebitis". The most common veins to be affected are those of the leg. Leg swelling, particularly of the ankle and calf, may occur when deep vein thrombosis develops in the legs because blood return to the heart is impeded by the blockage. This tendency for ankle swelling, or for the development of varicose veins or calf pain, can occur for many years after the development of a DVT.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)?
The word “dysplasia” simply means abnormal cellular development or growth. In people with FMD, the dysplasia involves the walls of one or more arteries in the body. Areas of narrowing, called stenosis, may occur as a result of abnormal cell development. If enough narrowing causes a decrease in blood flow through the artery, symptoms may result. Many people with FMD do not have any symptoms or signs on physical examination and are diagnosed by accident during a radiology scan for another problem.

FMD is most commonly found in the arteries that supply the kidneys with blood (renal arteries). Up to 75% of all patients with FMD will have disease in the renal arteries. The second most common artery affected is the carotid artery, which is found in the neck and supplies the brain with blood. Less commonly, FMD affects the arteries in the abdomen (supplying the liver, spleen and intestines) and extremities (legs and arms). More than one artery may have evidence of FMD in 28% of people with this disease.


Lymphedema is an illness that causes swelling of an arm or leg due to obstruction of the lymphatic vessels. The lymphatic vessels are tiny, threadlike vessels that carry fluid out of the body's tissues, back to the circulation. When the lymphatics are blocked, fluid builds up in the region of the body served by those lymphatics.

Renal (Kidney) Artery Disease
Renal artery disease is most commonly caused by atheriosclerosis of the renal arteries. It occurs in people with generalized vascular disease. Less often, renal artery disease can be caused by a congenital (present at birth) agnormal development of the tissue that makes up the renal arteries. This type of renal artery disease occurs in younger age groups.

Carotid Artery Disease
Your arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the head and body. There are two carotid arteries (one on each side of the neck) that supply blood to the brain. You can feel your carotid arteries by feeling the pulse on your lower neck, on either side of your windpipe>

The carotid arteries supply the large, front part of the brain, which is responsible for our personality and our ability to think, speak and move. There are two smaller arteries, the vertebral arteries, which run through the spine and supply the back part of the brain.

Aortic Aneurysm
An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of an artery. Normally, the walls of arteries are thick and muscular, allowing them to withstand a large amount of pressure. Occasionally, however, a weak area develops in the wall or an artery. This allows the pressure within the artery to push outwards, creating a bulge or ballooned area called an "aneurysm"

Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are swollen, purple veins in the legs that are visible under your skin. They are caused by damage to blood vessels close to the surface of your skin, slowed blood flow, or the damage or absence of normal valves in your veins. Normally, blood flow in the veins is aided by valves, which keep the blood moving upward, against the force of gravity. If these valves are weak or blood flows slowly in the veins, the blood may pool and cause the veins to bulge.
Varicose veins are more common in women than in men. The condition also runs in families. Pregnant women may get varicose veins because of hormonal changes and the extra pressure that the baby puts on the lower-stomach area. Varicose veins may also be caused by being severly overweight or by standing for long periods.


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