Vascular disease occurs when there is an abnormal condition in your circulatory system, a complex structure of blood vessels that carry blood to every part of the body. Throughout this system are arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart, veins that return oxygen-deficient blood to the heart and capillaries that facilitate the exchange of blood to tissues.  

Vascular disease is the overarching term used for a variety of conditions that affect the circulatory system, including: 

  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) 
  • Peripheral venous disease (PVD) 
  • Aortic disease 
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) 
  • Vena cava syndrome 
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)

Causes of Vascular Disease 

There are a few common causes of vascular disease, such as: 

  • Having a family history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke 
  • Having high cholesterol or high blood pressure 
  • Being male 
  • Being obese  
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle 
  • Being a smoker

Symptoms of Vascular Disease 

Vascular disease doesn’t always present with symptoms. When it does, you may experience: 

  • Dull, cramping leg pain that worsens with activity 
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in your legs 
  • A burning or aching feeling in your feet or toes 
  • Sores on your feet that heal very slowly or don’t go away at all 
  • Changes in skin color on your legs and/or feet 
  • Bulging, purple veins that can be seen through your skin 
  • Impotence in men 
  • Hair loss on your legs

Diagnosis of Vascular Disease 

After reviewing your medical history, discussing your symptoms and completing a physical exam, your physician will recommend one or more specific noninvasive tests to confirm or rule out suspected vascular conditions. These tests include: 

  • Duplex ultrasounds  
  • Pulse volume recordings (PVR)  
  • Exercise and treadmill testing  
  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI) testing  
  • Vein mapping

Treatment for Vascular Disease 

Depending on the type of vascular disease you have, treatment may involve: 

  • Lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods 
  • Getting more exercise 
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels through medication.  

You may also be put on a blood thinner or clot-dissolving medication. 

For some patients, surgery is the appropriate course of action. The following procedures are often used to treat vascular disease:

  • Angioplasty 
  • Stenting 
  • Vein ablation 
  • Atherectomy 
  • Thrombolysis 
  • Vena cava filter implantation 
  • Aneurysm repair
  • Surgical bypass 

At Tampa General Hospital, your treatment plan will be highly individualized to your specific needs. Our vascular experts will take into account your overall health, lifestyle habits and the extent of your vascular condition.