Are you concerned about your risk of developing vascular disease? You’re not alone. Vascular disease affects millions of people worldwide and can seriously affect your health and well-being. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this condition. From making simple lifestyle changes to seeking medical treatment, there are many strategies you can use to protect your vascular health. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of developing vascular disease and live a healthier, happier life.
What Is Vascular Disease?
Vascular disease is a term that refers to conditions that affect the blood vessels, including arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels. These conditions can range from minor issues, such as spider veins, to life-threatening conditions, such as aneurysms and deep vein thrombosis. Vascular disease can significantly impact a person’s health and quality of life, so prevention strategies are crucial.
Vascular Disease Statistics
This is a serious condition affecting millions worldwide. The numbers are alarming. Below are numbers that highlight the importance of understanding the risk factors and taking preventative measures to reduce the incidence of vascular disease. Here are a few Vascular Disease Statistics from the CDC:
- Vascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 31% of all deaths.
- In the United States, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds.
- Approximately 8.5 million people in the United States have peripheral artery disease.
- More than 200,000 people in the United States die each year from abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Deep vein thrombosis affects up to 900,000 people in the United States each year.
- Approximately 20% of people with diabetes develop peripheral artery disease.
- Smoking increases the risk of developing vascular disease by up to four times.
- High blood pressure is a major risk factor for vascular disease and affects approximately 1 in 3 adults in the United States.
Know the Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing vascular disease. These include:
Age – As we age, our blood vessels become less elastic and more prone to damage, which increases the risk of vascular disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70% of people over the age of 65 have some form of vascular disease.
Family history – If a close family member has had vascular disease, the risk of developing the condition is higher.
Smoking – Smoking damages the blood vessels and increases the risk of developing vascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most preventable cause of vascular disease.
High blood pressure – High blood pressure puts extra strain on the blood vessels, which can cause damage over time.
High cholesterol – High levels of cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, which can cause them to narrow and become less flexible.
Diabetes – Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of developing vascular disease.
Risk Factors You Might Not Know About
- Compared with females, males are at greater risk of heart attack and have them earlier in life.
- Although women’s risk of heart attack is lower than that of men, they are twice as likely to die after a heart attack. The reason for this is partly due to the fact that many female heart attack victims are older when the incident occurs.
- In the United States, more women than men have died from heart disease every year since 1984. Women are more likely than men to be hospitalized for “non-specific” chest pain–a term used when doctors cannot find a cause for an illness.
By racial or ethnic group:
- African-American females are at a greater risk for developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease than Caucasian females.
- American Indians have the highest incidence of heart disease of any racial or ethnic group in the United States.
- Mexican-Americans, native Hawaiians and some Asian-Americans have a higher risk of heart disease than most other racial groups, due in part to higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
There are several prevention strategies that can help reduce the risk of vascular disease:
Exercise – To maintain good health, engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as brisk walking. Do this at least five days a week. Additionally, you should engage in 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging three days a week and light exercise as part of your daily routine. This will increase your fitness level and decrease the risk of disease.
Diet changes – To prevent vascular disease, people should make dietary changes:
- Consume more fiber (25 to 30 grams per day), by eating raw vegetables and fruits, whole grains and beans.
- Eat lean meats and poultry.
- Salt intake should be less than 6 grams per day
- limit foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or “trans fats,”
- Eat at least two servings of fish per week.
- Switch from whole-fat to low-fat or non-fat dairy products.
Limit alcohol – One drink per day for women and two drinks for men.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:
- Lower blood pressure to less than 120/80 mmHg
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage diabetes (diabetics are two to four times more likely than non-diabetics to develop cardiovascular disease)
- Reduce stress
- Stop smoking
Early Detection and Treatment
Early detection and treatment of vascular disease are crucial for preventing the condition’s progression. It is important to schedule regular health checkups, as well as to continue to monitor aspects of your health:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar levels
- Cholesterol levels (Total, HDL, LDL and triglycerides)
- Waist circumference – a man with a waist of more than 40 inches or a woman with a waist of more than 35 inches are considered high-risk
At your health screening, some potential diagnostic tests for vascular disease include:
Ultrasound – An ultrasound can be used to detect blockages or narrowing in the blood vessels.
Angiography – Angiography involves injecting a dye into the blood vessels and taking X-rays to detect any blockages or narrowing.
Computed tomography (CT) scan – A CT scan can provide detailed images of the blood vessels and detect any abnormalities.
Treatment options for vascular disease include:
Medication – Medications can be used to manage symptoms and prevent the progression of vascular disease.
Lifestyle changes – Lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing vascular disease and prevent the progression of the condition.
Surgical procedures – Surgical procedures can be used to treat blockages or narrowing in the blood vessels.
Talk To Your Doctor
Vascular disease is a serious condition that can significantly impact a person’s health and quality of life. Knowing the risk factors and taking steps to prevent the development of vascular disease is crucial. If you risk, talk to your doctor about prevention strategies and early detection methods. Taking action early can reduce your risk and improve your overall health and well-being.
Coastal Vascular Center specializes in Peripheral Arterial Disease & Deep Vein Thrombosis treatments. If you feel that you are suffering from vascular disease, book an appointment with us today. Dr. Ayar will help you understand your health issues and work with you to find the best solution.