Healthy people often have no idea what the vascular system is. Unless people are medical professionals or very informed about health, why would they? It’s often only when it’s too late, and people haven’t lived a healthy lifestyle, that they learn about vascular care and what they’ve been doing wrong. While it’s not possible to turn back the clock, people can make changes to their lifestyles, get educated about the vascular system, move on.
So what’s the vascular system, anyway?
For those of you not interested in a medical degree, a short review of the vascular system will suffice. While most people know what a heart attack is, many people don’t know that it often begins with heart disease. And even those who know about heart disease may not realize that the vascular system plays a large, unappreciated role in heart health.
Ok, getting to the point – the vascular system, in short, is a the network of arteries and veins throughout a person’s body that bring the blood, and with it, the all-important oxygen, to all organs, tissues, and everything else in a person’s body. Why is it so important to breathe? To get oxygen, of course. But it doesn’t stop there; the oxygen enters a person’s bloodstream and is then brought all over to feed our cells and keep us healthy. That’s what our veins and arteries are for, pumping the blood to keep us red and fresh.
What happens when things go wrong
Most of us are breathing, ok, all of us, so that’s not usually where the problem is occurring. (For people who really aren’t breathing well, they have to deal with pulmonary care, first.) but other things can happen to mysteriously prevent our venous network from properly delivering its shipments of oxygen to the appropriate distribution points. And that’s where vascular care comes in.
In general, vascular diseases develop when the veins and arteries get clogged up, and the blood can’t flow well through them, and get bring the precious oxygen reserves to where they need to get to. However, it’s not really a mystery how that happens, and yes, you can prevent it from happening.
Some of the more well-known, although not quite popular vascular diseases are:
- Stroke, which most commonly occurs when blood can’t get to the brain
- Coronary artery disease, when the coronary arteries are blocked
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD), where the constricted arteries don’t bring enough blood to the limbs
- Carotid artery disease (CAD), where the arteries that bring blood to the brain are narrowed
And there are many other conditions that fall under the vascular care umbrella, some of which are not actually related to lifestyle.
When to seek vascular care
There are usually symptoms that a vascular disease has developed, although sometimes a heart attack or stroke can occur without prior warning. If someone sees any of these symptoms, it’s time to get thee self to a doctor pretty immediately:
- Leg weakness
- Numb feeling in the legs
- Sores on the legs that don’t heal
- Cramps in the hips and legs that feel painful, mostly when climbing up stairs
- Hair loss on legs and toes
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
There are many other symptoms that are specific to different types of vascular diseases. If you feel any symptoms that alarm you, trust your gut and talk to a doctor. The worst that could happen is that you’ll be fine and healthy!
At Sinai Post Acute Care, we provide excellent vascular care for patients who have been diagnosed, are post hospitalization, or need treatment.