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Vascular Diseases

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Different Types of Vascular Diseases

Vascular diseases are quite prevalent in America. Studies show that nearly half the adult population across the nation is diagnosed with a vascular ailment.

Immediate treatment and lifestyle changes can help you improve your quality of life. For these to be really impactful, however, you need to first understand more about the various vascular conditions and how they affect your body.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The aorta is an important blood vessel that supplies blood from the heart to the abdominal region. If the aorta swells into an abnormal shape and size, the condition is called abdominal aortic aneurysm. It occurs if there’s an infection or trauma to the aorta. A build-up of fat in the arterial walls can also encourage abdominal aortic aneurysms.

This condition is quite difficult to diagnose. However, you will experience symptoms weeks and sometimes months before the condition becomes visible. The symptoms to look out for are:

  • Constant, intense pain in the abdomen
  • Intense back pain
  • A pulse near or on your belly button


Atherosclerosis is a condition when the arteries in the body thicken and harden due to the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances on the arterial walls. Together, these are called plaque.

This plaque can impact the flow of blood within the body and restrict the amount of fluid that reaches your organs. The plaque also adds pressure on the arteries, causing them to burst and form a blood clot. If untreated, the clot can grow in size and cut-off blood flow from the arteries completely, thereby resulting in stroke.

You should seek medical assistance if you experience:

  • Chest pain
  • Leg pain
  • Numbness in the arms and legs
  • Slurred speech
  • Kidney conditions

Carotid Artery Stenosis

The carotid is the major artery that transports blood to the head and the neck. Carotid artery stenosis occurs when the carotid experiences an excess accumulation of plaque. If this plaque isn’t removed, the carotid may get completely blocked-up, causing a stroke. People who smoke, chew tobacco, lead an inactive lifestyle, or have diabetes are more vulnerable to developing carotid artery stenosis.

Since the condition affects the upper part of the body, particularly the eyes and the brain, common symptoms you will notice are:

  • Blurry vision or blindness
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness, tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Your veins are responsible for carrying blood from your organs and to the heart for re-oxygenation. Venous insufficiency is a condition that occurs when the veins find it difficult to do their job.

Sometimes, age, illness or trauma may damage the flaps in the veins partially or completely. These flaps prevent the backward flow of blood back into the organs, but when they’re damaged, the flaps do not close properly, and the blood flows in reverse instead of going forward towards the heart. If untreated, it can cause a fatal condition called deep vein thrombosis.

Venous insufficiency can be identified through:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Swelling and cramping in the legs and ankles
  • Pain in vein-rich areas of the body
  • Blood clot
  • Varicose veins

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a dangerous vascular condition where a large blood clot forms deep in the veins. While fatalities are not that common, patients can experience debilitating disabilities.

The blood clots in this condition usually occur in the pelvic region or the legs, although they may also occur in the arms. People who are genetically at risk of developing blood clots are most-vulnerable to the condition. Smokers, inactive people, and those who have other cardiovascular conditions can also acquire deep vein thrombosis.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the arms and legs
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Warm feeling in the affected body part

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease occurs when your body has trouble circulating blood. This usually happens when your blood vessels develop plaque and become closed-up. The condition can also materialize due to blood vessel spasming. People who have high BP or high cholesterol often experience vascular twitching/spasms, which may create problems with circulation.

The lack of blood flow to the body can cause fatigue and may even result in a stroke or heart attack. You may have peripheral vascular disease if you experience:

  • Cramps in the arms or legs
  • Skin discoloration
  • Numbness in the muscle
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Pain when walking or exercising

Raynaud's Disease

Do you experience a constant prickliness or numbness in your toes or fingers? This may be a sign of Raynaud’s disease. This is a circulatory condition where limited blood flow to the extremities of the body creates a feeling of numbness and prickliness. Your fingers and toes may also feel chilly, and the skin in that region might turn white.

Raynaud’s disease usually occurs in people who live in frigid environments or are exposed to very cold temperatures. However, the condition can also be one of the side effects of connective tissue disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, smoking, and some types of medication.

Renal Vascular Disease

The renal veins are the veins located in the kidney, and diseases to these kidney veins are called renal vascular diseases. Renal veins can suffer from plaque development, stenosis, thrombosis, aneurysm, and embolism. People who are diabetic, genetically prone to renal conditions, or smokers are most vulnerable to the disease.

While individual renal vascular symptoms may vary, some of the common symptoms you will notice are:

  • Hypertension
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Soreness over the kidney region

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

The thoracic aorta refers to the upper section of the aorta that runs across the chest. The thoracic aortic aneurysm is a condition when the thoracic aorta swells abnormally. If it isn’t caught early, there is a high risk of the aneurysm popping, which is often fatal.

This condition is considerably rare and can be detected if you experience these symptoms:

  • Persistent and radiating pain in the back or chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cough
  • Difficulty swallowing

Varicose Veins & Spider Veins

Varicose veins are large and twisted veins that usually occur in the legs. They are bluish-purple in color and occur because of increased pressure on your blood vessels, which results in blood pooling in the veins.

Spider veins are thin veins that resemble varicose veins, but they’re located towards the surface of the skin and found on the legs and face.

Skin discoloration, itchiness, and throbbing of the veins are common symptoms. Some veins may have blood clots and may lead to deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism if untreated.

At VeinGuard Heart & Vascular Center, Dr. Fareeha Khan and her team have extensive experience addressing all vascular conditions. Visit our Fairfax,VA vascular doctors for premier vascular treatment.

BOOK ONLINE (703) 560-1075