Blood vessel disease, which is also called vascular or artery disease, is related to our circulatory system. Blood vessel disease can be called the disease of arteries, veins and lymph vessels that affects blood circulation due to narrowing down of blood vessels in arms, legs and abdomen. The function of blood vessels which comprises of veins and arteries is to transport oxygen, nutrients and blood throughout the body.
Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart while veins return it. Due to build up of plaque (the fatty deposits), constriction of the arteries occur and as a result, oxygenated blood flow is restricted to the different parts of the body and this results in cell or tissue death. Delay in treatment can even lead to amputation of the affected body part.
Causes Of Blood Vessel Disease
As mentioned earlier, blood vessel disease is usually caused due to narrowing down of blood vessels by plaque built up from the fatty diets. The saturated fats and cholesterol from the junk, processed and fried food collects in the blood vessels and restrict the blood flow. Family history, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking, obesity, age, genetic and emotional factors may also increase the risk of blood vessel disease.
Types Of Blood Vessel Diseases
There are various types of blood vessel diseases depending on the area of blockage. The main types of blood vessel disease are as follows:
Coronary Artery Disease
The build-up of plaque on the coronary artery walls causes this condition. Coronary arteries work to supply nutrients and oxygen enriched blood to our heart muscles.
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When one eats a high-fat diet, the fatty acids from these foods get accumulated on the walls of the artery, eventually narrowing down the pathways of blood vessels. The arteries get blocked and blood flow to the heart muscles gets restricted, resulting in heart attack.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Like the blood vessels of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels outside the heart called peripheral arteries can also develop atherosclerosis and affects the blood supply to the blood vessels of the arms and legs by narrowing down arterial walls by build-up of fat and cholesterol deposits.
When the blockage is mild, the affected person feels leg pain or cramps while doing activities. In severe cases of constriction, tissue death can occur and lead to gangrene or loss of limb. Those suffering from diabetes, hypertension and obesity are more susceptible to peripheral artery disease.
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is the most common artery disease that occurs due to increased pressure of blood that moves through blood vessels. This condition can lead to heart failure and stroke, if not treated early.
Aneurysm is weakness or bulge in the walls of any blood vessel. It most commonly occurs in the aorta, which is the main blood vessel leading to the heart. As time passes by, the aneurysm gets larger gradually and the force of blood in the blood vessel can make it prone to rupture. Aneurysm can occur in the arteries of heart, brain and the abdominal aorta. A sudden rupture can be life threatening. Brain hemorrhage can also occur.
This condition affects the small and medium sized nerves, arteries and veins. The arteries of the legs and arms get blocked or narrowed, causing the blood supply restriction (ischemia) to the hands, fingers, feet and toes. Pain occurs even when the person is at rest. Use of tobacco is thought to be the main culprit for this condition.
Serious blockage can even lead to amputation. Blood vessel disease can be prevented by keeping a check on your diet. A healthy, nutritious and high fiber diet and regular exercise can help to prevent this condition. Avoid junk foods that are full of saturated fats to keep these diseases at bay.
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