One million people die from cardiovascular disease in the United States – half of these deaths are caused by vascular disease outside the heart.

Center for Vascular Medicine is leading the field of vascular disease, providing comprehensive screening, diagnosis and treatment options. Most of our vascular treatments can be performed in the outpatient setting at one of our many locations throughout Maryland.

What is Vascular Disease

Think of your blood vessels like plumbing in your house. Pipes carry water throughout the house to the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, etc.

In the same way, your blood vessels (arteries and veins) carry blood throughout your body. Arteries pump oxygen-rich blood from the heart to your organs and limbs. Veins carry the blood back to the heart. If a problem occurs anywhere in the vascular system, it can cause severe disability or death.

Vascular Disease Risk Factors

Everyone is at risk of vascular disease. Your chances for developing vascular disease increases if you suffer from one of the following risk factors. Contact our office to schedule a vascular screening – it could save your life.

  • Family history of heart attack, stroke, diabetes or other cardiovascular disease
  • Age – risk for vascular disease increases significantly with after age 40
  • Obesity
  • Type II Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Smoking

Types of Vascular Disease

Aortic Disease

The aorta is the largest artery in your body. Originating at the heart, the aorta transports blood throughout the body, branching off to supply blood to the brain, other organs and limbs. Aortic disease may include:

  • Insufficiencies or irregularities of the aortic valve
  • Aneurysms (thoracic or abdominal) – enlargement of the aorta
  • Aortic dissection – weakening of the aorta
  • Atherosclerosis – hardening of the aorta
  • Aortic-Related Connective Tissue Disorder (relatively rare)

Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid artery disease affects the vessels leading to the head and brain. More than half of the strokes in the United States are attributable to carotid artery disease. Stroke happens when the brain is deprived of oxygen. Carotid artery disease may include:

  • Stenosis – narrowing of the carotid artery
  • Blockage in the carotid artery (may cause stroke)
  • Embolism – caused by plaque that breaks loose in the carotid artery and travels to the brain
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – “mini-stroke”

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is the clinical term for a blood clot that has formed deep in the vein. Typically, DVT occurs in the legs, though it may occur anywhere in the body. Complications of DVT may include:

  • Pulmonary embolism – potentially life-threatening condition occurs when a blood clot travels through the blood stream and lodges in the lung
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome – pooling of blood in the lower leg, may lead to swelling, pain and ulcers
  • Critical limb ischemia – with extreme DVT, a lack of blood flow can cause skin ulcers, infection, gangrene and ultimately limb loss

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease, known simply as P.A.D., is caused by a build up of plaque in the arteries. Over time the plaque hardens, narrowing the arteries, and reducing or blocking the flow of blood. This condition most commonly affects the legs and can lead to:

  • Leg pain
  • Fatigue when walking
  • Difficulty standing or sitting for extended periods of time
  • Non-healing wounds (ulcers)
  • Critical limb ischemia – an extreme condition caused by insufficient blood flow that may eventually require amputation
  • Stroke – 3X more likely in patients with P.A.D.

Learn more about Peripheral Arterial Disease

Renal Vascular Disease

Renal vascular disease affects the arteries and veins of the kidneys. A narrowing, blockage or weakening of these vessels can lead to a number of complications including:

  • Hypertension
  • Kidney damage
  • Kidney failure

Upper Extremity Vascular Disease

Peripheral arterial disease is most common in the legs, however, it can occur in the arm. Upper extremity vascular disease occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage in the vessels that travel between the chest and the hand. Symptoms of upper extremity vascular disease are very similar to P.A.D. and can lead to:

  • Pain in the shoulder, hand or arms
  • Skin ulcers (poorly healing wounds)
  • Poor nail growth and/or nail color
  • Loss of fingers and/or limbs

Vascular Pelvic Pain Disease

By some estimates, chronic pelvic pain in women accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all gynecologic visits. There may be several causes or contributing factors to chronic pelvic pain and vascular conditions are often overlooked. After other causes (such as gastrointesintal or urinary) have been ruled out, vascular conditions should be considered as the source of pelvic pain. Evaluation may lead to diagnosis of:

  • Pelvic Congestion Syndrome – caused by poor drainage of blood in female pelvic veins
  • May-Thurner Syndrome – caused by a compression of the iliac vein
  • Varicocele-caused by poor drainage of blood in male testicular veins

Learn more about Vascular Pelvic Pain Disease