An estimated 8 to 12 million Americans have some form of
Vascular disease is a term for a wide range of diseases that
affect the vascular, or blood vessel, systems of your body. The
diseases are known by many different names, such as peripheral
arterial disease (PAD), atherosclerosis, or claudication.
You may have even heard these conditions referred to as "clogged
pipes" or poor circulation. All of these terms refer to the ways in
which your arteries or veins may not be working as well as they
It is often difficult to find the exact cause of vascular
disease because many of the conditions are connected. It can be
hard to tell what is a cause and what is a symptom.
Normal artery. In an artery free of plaque,
blood can flow freely.
Artery with plaque. In an artery with plaque
(fatty deposits), blood cannot flow freely. This is called peripheral
arterial disease (PAD).
In general, vascular disease is caused by atherosclerosis. Fatty deposits, called plaque,
collect on the inside of the artery and reduce the smooth flow of
blood through the vessel. This may result in a lack of oxygen-rich
blood being delivered throughout the body. Vascular disease can
cause serious problems.
Risk factors for vascular disease include…
You may have vascular disease if you experience any of the
Some people may not have symptoms.
These tests are used to find vascular disease:
Finding vascular disease early, making lifestyle changes and
treating your symptoms will improve your symptoms and slow the
progress of the disease. Ask your health care provider for ways to
prevent vascular diseases.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Vascular Disease, cvs-ahc-14382 (03/09)
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts