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Vascular Diseases

 

 
 

The vascular system is the body's network of blood vessels. It includes the arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart. Problems of the vascular system are common and can be serious. Arteries can become thick and stiff, a problem called atherosclerosis. Blood clots can clog vessels and block blood flow to the heart or brain. Weakened blood vessels can burst, causing bleeding inside the body.

You are more likely to have vascular disease as you get older. Other factors that make vascular disease more likely include

  • Family history of vascular or heart diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Illness or injury
  • Long periods of sitting or standing still
  • Any condition that affects the heart and blood vessels, such as diabetes or high cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Losing weight, eating healthy foods, being active and not smoking can help vascular disease. Other treatments include medicines and surgery.

 

 

 
 
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Illustration of an artery containing blood cells

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  • MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.

 

 

 

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MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.