A vascular disease is a condition involving the circulatory system. Our arteries and veins—collectively called our blood vessels—are the tubes which pump our blood throughout our whole body. Arteries carry blood to the different organs while the veins bring blood back to the heart. Problems with the blood “highway” may cause severe health complications and death. Vascular diseases usually occur when the blood flow is changed or becomes turbulent.
Vascular diseases have no absolute cure, but it is treatable and manageable. The treatment for these kinds of diseases mainly focuses on lifestyle changes and medication. Surgeries come after every avenue has been exhausted and a more pronounced treatment is needed.
The ultimate goals of treating vascular diseases are to reduce the risk of a heart attack, a stroke, manage or reduce symptoms, and overall improve the quality of life. The course of treatment usually depends on the patient’s thorough examinations, signs and symptoms, and personal risk factors.
- Stop smoking and quit. If you are having a hard time quitting smoking, then you might want to consider counseling or taking medicines to help you quit for good.
- Exercise! We cannot stress enough the tremendous benefits exercise brings to your body and health. If you are clear for exercise, even light ones, then incorporate it into your daily routine. It could be walking, jogging, running, or swimming for just 30 minutes or less. What it important is the commitment to be healthier. Exercise will keep your weight down and makes your blood flow.
- Eat healthier. Ditch the sugar and switch to fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes, you may need medications along with your healthy lifestyle change to further lower the risk of any vascular complications such as a heart attack or stroke. These medicines aim to reduce blood clots, improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure. These also might include medicines that help with pain management or claudication for your legs when you walk or exercise.
Surgery and other procedures
There are times the disease gets worse even when all avenues of treatment have been exhausted. Sometimes, people might need the intervention of surgery to restore proper blood flow.
- Bypass Grafting
Your doctor might recommend bypass grafting surgery if the blood flow in your legs is blocked. Your surgeon will take a blood vessel from another part
of your body or an artificial tube and make a graft. This graft allows blood to bypass the blockage and let blood pass around it.
- Stent Placement and Angioplasty
If you have a narrowed or blocked artery, your doctor might recommend these procedures to restore normal blood flow.
A catheter with a balloon tip is inserted into a blocked artery and when inflated, pushes the plaque that is blocking the vessel, widens it and restores normal blood flow.
During angioplasty, your doctor might put a stent or a small mesh tube in your artery to keep it open. There are some stents that are coated with medicine to help prevent blockages in the artery.
This is a surgical procedure that removes plaque from the artery. A catheter is used to put a tiny cutting device into the blocked artery and is used to clear out, cut off, or dissolve the plaque. The plaque is then removed from the body via the catheter or if the plaque is small enough, they are left to be washed away in the bloodstream.
If you feel that you have a vascular disease or you are diagnosed to have one, it is important to make healthy changes and look into treatment right away to avoid the progression of the disease. It is always best to be proactive, so if you think you are at risk for developing a vascular disease, then talk to your doctor now for the different options you can take.