What is vascular disease?
A vascular disease is a condition that affects the arteries and/or veins.
Most often, vascular disease affects blood flow, either by blocking or weakening blood vessels, or by damaging the valves that are found in veins. Organs and other body structures may be damaged by vascular disease as a result of decreased or completely blocked blood flow.
Common causes of vascular disease
The most common cause of vascular disease, atherosclerosis is a buildup of plaque, which is a deposit of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin in the inner lining of an artery. This thickening narrows the arteries and can decrease blood flow or completely block the flow of blood to organs and other body tissues and structures.
A blood vessel may be blocked by an embolus (a tiny mass of debris that moves through the bloodstream) or a thrombus (a blood clot).
In general, inflammation of blood vessels is referred to as vasculitis, which includes a range of disorders. Inflammation may lead to narrowing and/or blockage of blood vessels.
Trauma or injury involving the blood vessels may lead to inflammation or infection, which can damage the blood vessels and lead to narrowing and/or blockage.