Vascular disease is any abnormal condition of the blood vessels (arteries and veins). The body uses blood vessels to circulate blood through itself. Problems along this vast network can cause severe disability and death.
Vascular diseases outside the heart can “present” themselves anywhere. The most common vascular diseases are stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), carotid artery disease (CAD), arteriovenous malformation (AVM), critical limb ischemia (CLI), pulmonary embolism (blood clots), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), and varicose veins.
Everyone is at risk for vascular disease. With the increase in obesity and Type II diabetes in Americans and as the population ages, vascular diseases are becoming epidemic. PAD alone affects 8.5 million people. It can occur in anyone at any time; affecting men and women equally. Atherosclerosis can begin in adolescence.
Vascular disease commonly occurs at sites of turbulent blood flow, such as when the blood flow in the arteries changes direction abruptly. The arteries below are the most common areas of turbulence: