Vascular problems can arise seemingly out of the blue and often with devastating results. While your doctor may adopt a "wait and see" approach to a range of minor vascular conditions, more serious vascular problems could result in referral to a vascular surgeon for treatment. This article examines the most common forms of vascular conditions and the options available to treat them.
The three main causes of vascular conditions are atherosclerosis, aneurysm and trauma.
A build up of fatty deposits, or plaque, in the arteries, atherosclerosis can significantly affect the flow of blood within the body. Atherosclerosis is a serious condition and, depending on which arteries have been affected, it can lead to coronary artery disease or stroke, or may it impact the vital organs, such as the kidneys.
Pronounced atherosclerosis can require treatment by a vascular surgeon. Coronary bypass surgery is one very successful treatment that involves bypassing the affected artery by grafting a section of artery taken from another part of the body onto the damaged artery, creating a detour to allow normal blood flow. Another surgical treatment for atherosclerosis involves inserting a tiny tube, known as a stent, into the artery to keep it open.
An aneurysm can occur when the artery walls become weak and a swollen area emerges. Aneurysms are most commonly found in the primary artery carrying blood from the heart, known as the aorta, or in the brain. While aneurysms can lie dormant for years, they pose the risk of rupturing, leading to a critical medical emergency or even death.
A vascular surgeon can repair blood vessels affected by aneurysms, to make them stronger. If an aneurysm has ruptured, emergency vascular surgery is necessary.
Vascular trauma occurs when a blood vessel is injured. Usually arising from a violent mishap, such as a car or industrial accident, vascular trauma can cause significant damage to the arteries, which distribute blood throughout the body, or to the veins carrying blood back to the heart.
Vascular trauma is a very serious condition, often requiring emergency treatment by a vascular surgeon. It can lead to a blockage in the artery, known as thrombosis, or heavy bleeding, known as hemorrhage. Surgical bypass and stenting are common surgical treatments for vascular trauma, as well as a procedure known as ligation, which involves stopping excessive blood flow by tying off the affected blood vessel.
If you are affected by a vascular condition it is important to respond quickly and always follow the advice of your doctor. While vascular problems are always a cause of great concern, with a timely response and a team of specialists at your side, you'll be back to health in no time.
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