Arterial Disease

Arteries play an important role in our overall health. They deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body. When plaque builds up, arteries can become weakened or diseased. Plaque acts as an internal roadblock in the arterial walls- restricting the flow of blood, oxygen & glucose. This “roadblock” causes pain in the leg because muscles and tissues are being starved of oxygen and other essential nutrients.

What is arterial disease?

The arteries and veins are collaboratively known as the vascular system. They work with your heart to ensure that your body’s organs & tissues are getting the nutrients they need. Arteries carry oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood away from the heart and deliver it to the body. Veins take used, poorly oxygenated blood back to the heart, where it is cleaned & redistributed by the arteries again. Your body depends on this seamless cycle to cleanse organ tissues of waste and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

If these blood vessels are open and clear, blood can flow optimally. However, arteries and veins can weaken or become damaged overtime, making it extremely difficult for them to move blood throughout your body.

Plaque buildup can create blockages that hinder the arteries from distributing fresh blood to your body’s organs & tissues. If your tissues aren’t receiving the nutrients they need, arterial disease can develop.

Peripheral arterial disease, for example, occurs when plaque accumulates in the lower extremities. This condition is not only dangerous and life-threatening, but also extremely common. 1 in 5 patients over the age of 60 suffer from PAD. If left untreated, PAD can lead to non-healing wounds, gangrene, and limb amputation.

PAD puts patients at risk for serious heart-related health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and other arterial diseases like coronary artery disease (CAD).

Arterial disease treatment clogged artery

Arterial Disease Symptoms

The symptoms associated with arterial disease can vary depending on which area of the body has been affected. For example, chest pain is common with arterial conditions like a thoracic aortic aneurysm or coronary artery disease as these conditions occur in the chest. Leg pain, on the other hand, is typically seen with peripheral arterial disease as this condition occurs in the lower extremities, such as the legs, feet, & ankles.

Common Types of Artery Disease

An aortic aneurysm occurs when the aorta, the primary blood vessel that distributes blood throughout the body, enlarges. Also known as an AAA, an abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs at the abdomen as the aorta swells.

The section of the aorta that runs through the chest is called the thoracic aorta. When the walls of the aorta are weakened or deteriorated, it can begin to bulge. Eventually, this balloon-like bulge can rupture, leading to an aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm can happen anywhere in the body. However, an aneurysm that occurs in the chest is known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm.

Coronary artery disease occurs when the coronary arteries become weakened or diseased with plaque buildup. Narrowed blood vessels are caused by atherosclerosis, which is a term for excessive plaque buildup within the walls of the blood vessels. Overtime, this plaque can harden, creating a blockage that hinders blood from traveling to the heart.

The carotid arteries are the two large blood vessels located on either side of the neck. They supply fresh blood to the front part of the brain. Carotid artery disease (CAD), also called carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries begin to narrow. Narrowed blood vessels are caused by atherosclerosis, an excessive buildup of plaque within the walls of the blood vessels.

PAD develops when there is an excess of plaque buildup on the artery walls, causing the arteries to narrow. They deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body. When plaque builds up, it acts as an internal roadblock in the arterial walls- restricting the flow of blood, oxygen & glucose. This “roadblock” causes pain in the leg because muscles and tissues are being starved of oxygen and other essential nutrients.

The renal arteries supply blood to the kidneys, which filters waste from the body. Much like the body’s other arteries, the renal arteries can become narrowed and stiff with plaque buildup. When this occurs, optimal blood flow cannot reach the kidney, ultimately resulting in renal vascular disease.

Treatment Options

What to Expect

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