Helping you and your family through the struggles of vascular disease
Living with vascular disease can be a struggle for you and your family – but it doesn’t have to be. With proper medications, lifestyle changes and treatments, you can manage this disease and live an active life. Our team of heart and vascular specialists uses the latest diagnostic technologies and treatments to provide you with the care you need.
Lifestyle changes that can help
You can do a lot to fight vascular disease by making some changes in your lifestyle. The team at Novant Health will help you identify some of the changes you need to make and provide resources to help you. Some of the most common lifestyle changes that we recommend are:
- Quit smoking and using tobacco products
- Control high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease
- Have regular checkups with your doctor
- Have your doctor check your lipid profile (fat in the bloodstream)
- Eat foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium
- Achieve and maintain a desirable weight
- Exercise regularly
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Common medications used to treat vascular disease work to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. You may also be prescribed a blood thinner to help reduce your chances of forming a blood clot.
Treatments and procedures
- Rotational atherectomy
- Laser-based therapies
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair
- Thoracic aneurysm repair
- Treatment of aortic dissection
- Carotid stenting
- Carotid endarterectomy
Vascular disease includes any condition that affects your circulatory system, such as peripheral arterial disease. This ranges from diseases of your arteries, veins and lymph vessels to blood disorders that affect circulation. The following are conditions that fall under the category of "vascular disease."
Peripheral arterial disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a disorder that occurs when arteries slowly become narrowed or blocked when excessive fat and cholesterol form inside the artery walls. When these arteries become narrowed or blocked, blood cannot get through to nourish organs and other tissues, causing damage to the tissues and eventually tissue death.
Your doctor may order certain tests to help diagnose PAD and determine the severity of the disease, including:
- Ankle/brachial index (ABI)
- Pulse volume recording (PVR)
- Vascular ultrasound
An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can form in any blood vessel, but they occur most commonly in your aorta (aortic aneurysm), which is the main blood vessel leaving the heart.
Peripheral venous disease
Veins are flexible hollow tubes with flaps inside called valves. If the valves inside your veins become damaged, the valves may not close completely. This allows blood to flow in both directions and can cause pooling of blood or swelling in the veins. The veins bulge and appear as ropes under the skin. The blood begins to move more slowly through the veins; blood may stick to the sides of the vessel walls, which creates a blood clot.
Varicose veins are bulging, swollen, purple, ropy veins seen just under your skin that are caused by damaged valves within the veins. They are more common in women than men and they are often hereditary. They can also be caused by pregnancy, being severely overweight or standing for long periods of time.
Venous blood clots
Blood clots in the veins are usually caused by:
- Long bed rest and/or immobility
- Damage to veins from injury or infection
- Damage to the valves in the vein, causing pooling near the valve flaps
- Pregnancy and hormones (such as estrogen or birth control pills)
- Genetic disorders
- Conditions that cause slowed blood flow or thicker blood such as inflammatory bowel disease, congestive heart failure or certain tumors
To learn more about vascular disease or to schedule an appointment with one of our vascular disease experts, contact the Novant Health location nearest you.