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About Vascular Disease

Vascular diseases are conditions that affect the blood vessels (arteries and veins) that carry blood throughout the body. Vascular disease affecting the arteries is called arterial disease; vascular conditions affecting veins are called venous diseases. Although both are vascular diseases, they are very different.

Arterial Vascular Disease
Arterial disease is most often caused by atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries due to a build-up of fatty deposits (plaque) on the inner lining of the artery. As the build-up progresses beyond a certain point, it restricts the flow of blood. Cardiovascular disease, probably the most familiar form of vascular disease, describes the narrowing or blockage of arteries in the immediate vicinity of the heart, which can lead to heart attack. Other forms of arterial vascular disease affect the flow of blood through arteries farther away from the heart-the arteries, for example, which carry blood through the torso, to the arms and legs, the brain, and kidneys. Arterial disease is described according to the areas of the body it affects:

The Vascular Institute treats cardiovascular disease in partnership with the hospital's Heart Institute. Learn more.

Venous Vascular Disease

Venous vascular disease typically affects veins in the legs. Its causes and treatment differ widely from arterial disease. The venous form of vascular disease is more common and more likely to reveal its presence with visible symptoms or symptoms that can be felt, such as pain or swelling. Vascular diseases affecting the veins include:

The Hidden Danger of Vascular Disease
Many forms of vascular disease do not have obvious signs or symptoms-and, if left untreated, can lead to stroke, the third leading cause of death and the number-one cause of disability in our nation. Learn more about stroke.

Vascular Disease Risk Factors
There are several risk factors for heart disease that are uncontrollable, including:

Some vascular disease risk factors, however, can be reduced or managed through diet and lifestyle changes, or with medication:

Venous vascular disease does have some additional risk factors including:

Making changes in your lifestyle-such as quitting smoking, eating well, and staying active-can help you reduce your risk of vascular disease.

Vascular Disease is Treatable

The Vascular Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center is here to help you prevent, treat, and manage vascular disease. To get started, find a vascular surgeon now.

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