“Vascular” comes from a Latin word for a hollow container. Any condition that affects this system is considered a vascular disease. The diseases range from problems with your arteries, veins, and vessels that carry lymph to disorders that affect how blood flows. A disease can lead to your tissues not getting enough blood, a condition called ischemia, as well as other serious, even life-threatening, problems.
The most common vascular diseases are stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), carotid artery disease (CAD), arteriovenous malformation (AVM), critical limb ischemia (CLI), pulmonary embolism (blood clots), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), and varicose veins.
Everyone is at risk for vascular disease. With the increase in obesity and Type II diabetes in Americans and as the population ages, vascular diseases are becoming epidemic. PAD alone affects 8.5 million people in the US. It can occur in anyone at any time; affecting men and women equally. Atherosclerosis can begin in adolescence. Smoking is one of the main risk factors for vascular disease.
The vascular disease commonly occurs at sites of turbulent blood flow, such as when the blood flow in the arteries changes direction abruptly. The arteries below are the most common areas of turbulence: