Vascular disease is a condition that affects the arteries and veins, thereby affecting blood flow through the body. This can result in organs or other body parts such as the heart or even arms and legs being damaged due to decreased or completely blocked blood flow.1
Two of the most common vascular diseases are CAD and PAD1. To learn more about the causes, treatment and risks of vascular disease, visit the What is Vascular Disease page.
CAD and PAD are caused by atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of fatty substances called plaque in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can cause blocked blood flow and limited oxygen supply to vital organs. This can lead to serious events such as heart attack, stroke or amputation.2,3 Learn more about atherosclerosis and vascular disease here.
For both CAD and PAD, symptoms often do not present themselves until a serious vascular event occurs. Because of this, it is important to be mindful of the various risks that could lead to developing one of these conditions. Please visit the What is CAD and What is PAD pages to learn more. CAD and PAD can be diagnosed with a variety of tests.4,5
Vascular disease can, in certain cases, be prevented if appropriate measures are taken to reduce your risk. These include a healthy diet, regular exercise, abstinence from smoking and stress reduction.2 However, in some cases, people are genetically inclined to develop a vascular disease based on their family history.2
If you are over the age of 40 and feel you may be at increased risk of CAD and PAD, or already have these conditions, ask your doctor if you are doing all that you can to protect your vascular health.
If you are over the age of 40 and feel you may be at increased risk of CAD and PAD, or already have these conditions, it is important to ask your doctor if you are doing all that you can to protect your vascular health.
Generally, the risks of developing CAD and PAD are similar. It is important to understand that if you have been diagnosed with one vascular disease you are likely to be at higher risk of having another.6 Therefore, you should monitor your vascular health and speak to your doctor to ensure you are doing all you can to reduce your risk of further events.
Science and medicine in vascular health are moving at a fast pace in an area called vascular protection. Scientists are exploring how hazards can be further lowered for people at risk, and the results of these studies hold interest for patients and doctors alike.
A heart attack is defined by a sudden decrease in blood flow within the heart. In the context of vascular disease, this is caused by a blockage in the coronary arteries due to atherosclerotic plaque. When this plaque ruptures, a blood clot forms restricting blood flow within the artery. This deprives the heart of vital oxygen, subsequently triggering a heart attack.7
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The European Society of Cardiology has pooled together useful recommendations from international authorities and medical societies.10 Please click here to read.
The term peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is sometimes found to be used interchangeably with peripheral artery disease (PAD). However, PAD refers specifically to the build-up of fatty deposits or plaque in the arteries outside of the heart, most commonly the legs and feet.8 While PAD is a form of PVD, PVD refers to any blood vessel outside of the heart including arteries, veins or lymphatic vessels.8 As with PAD, those with CAD can be at greater risk of developing PVD.6,8
In 2019, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) released new guidelines on the diagnosis and management of chronic coronary syndromes. Within these guidelines the ESC instituted a name change from stable coronary artery disease (CAD) to chronic coronary syndromes (CCS). CCS are a continual process of plaque build-up, and change the way that blood is circulated in the blood vessels to the heart. The change in definition from stable CAD to CCS emphasises that the disease can have stable periods but can also become unstable at any time, due to a cardiovascular event caused by changes to plaque build-up.9
As guideline-mandated treatment has expanded, please speak to your healthcare professional to ensure that you are receiving optimal care.
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