An estimated 25-million Americans are at risk for vascular disease. That number is only expected to grow as the population ages and as a diabetes epidemic looms. By 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict one in three people will become diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Age and diabetes are among the risk factors for vascular disease. Family history, smoking, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise also contribute to increased risk.

Those risks can be minimized with treatment and prevented with a healthy diet, daily exercise, reduced stress and a tobacco-free lifestyle.

Vascular disease develops when the body’s arteries and veins start to narrow from the build up of plaque and cholesterol (known as atherosclerosis). This can lead to symptoms that can include painful cramping, sudden shortness of breath and skin discoloration or circulation problems.

Vascular conditions include:

  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) – Essential blood to the limbs is blocked, leading to pain or cramps and poor circulation, ulcers and infection.
  • Carotid Artery Disease – Carotid arteries in the neck that feed the brain narrow, resulting in stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centerand Washington Adventist Hospitals are designated Primary Stroke Centers.
  • Aneurysm – A bulge develops in a weakened area of a blood vessel. If it ruptures, it could be fatal.
  • Venous Blood Clots – Blood clots develop in the veins from bed rest or immobility, damage to the veins or vein valves, pregnancy and hormones, genetic disorders, congestive heart failure and certain tumors. Conditions include deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center offers a DVT/PE support group.
  • Varicose Veins – Swollen, bulging veins may be caused by damaged valves within the veins, pregnancy, excessive weight or standing for long periods of time. Symptoms include spider veins (small red or purple bursts on the legs) and aching, stinging, swollen legs.

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s full continuum of vascular care includes screenings, diagnoses, minimally invasive treatments, open surgical repairs and vascular rehabilitation.