Vascular disease affects the arteries, veins and lymph vessels. The first sign that something might be wrong is to experience pain in the hip, thigh or calf muscles. Many times the pain appears after walking and can be relieved after stopping the particular activity that is causing it. The frightening thing about vascular disease is that many people who have it don't know that they do. Some just chalk it up to "getting older" but that self diagnosis isn't always correct. The best course of treatment at that point is to see a doctor so he can determine if it truly is vascular disease.
A series of conditions come under the general umbrella of vascular disease. Those conditions can include:
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) - This condition appears when the peripheral arteries fill up with fatty deposits, known as plaque. As time goes on, these arteries get thinner so not enough blood is able to get through, leading to a condition called Ischemia, making it so that not enough blood is able to get to the tissues. If this happens, it can lead to chest pain, a heart attack or a stroke. It is important to be treated for peripheral artery disease because any blockage can cause serious complications.
Varicose veins - These veins bulge out from under the skin and are caused by valves that are damaged inside the veins. Women tend to suffer from them more so than men, and they can also be a complication of pregnancy, obesity or standing in one position for too long. Sometimes the condition is so severe that surgery to strip the veins is necessary.
Aneurysm - When a ballooning out of a blood vessel occurs, it is called an aneurysm. Small aneurysms usually cause no difficulty, but if one suddenly ruptures due to this area being so thin and fragile, immediate medical treatment is necessary. An aortic aneurysm could lead to death, so that's why it is so important to get emergency help as soon as possible.
Buerger's Disease - This disease can affect nerves, veins and arteries. The exact cause is unknown but has generally been linked with tobacco use or possibly, even second hand smoke. The arteries in th arms and legs become blocked and pain can occur in the arms and feet. However, most of the time, the pain settles in the legs and feet, even while resting to alleviate the pain. If not treated, severe blockages can occur and these can cause the dying of tissue, which could easily lead to amputation.