Carotid Artery Disease
Your arteries are responsible for delivering oxygen-rich blood from your heart to other parts of your body Your carotid arteries are two main arteries that carry blood from your heart, up through your neck, to your brain. Healthy carotid arteries are smooth and unobstructed, allowing blood to flow freely to the brain cells need. Typically with age, the carotid arteries build up plaque, a sticky substance made up mostly of fat and cholesterol.
Plaque narrows the passageway within the arteries and
causes them to become stiff. Carotid artery disease results when the carotid arteries become too narrow or obstructed and limit the blood flow to the brain.
Strokes result either from obstruction of blood flow to the brain by the plaque or when bits of plaque and clots break off from the plaque and flow to the brain. If left untreated, carotid artery disease may lead to stroke, where lack of oxygen and other essential nutrients cause damage to the brain. Depending on its severity, a stroke can be fatal. In fact, strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of permanent disability in older adults.
PAD - Peripheral Arterial Disease
Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your peripheral arteries carry blood away from the heart to your arms and legs. The peripheral arteries in your legs are extensions of the largest artery in your body, the aorta. The aorta travels down through your abdominal region and branches off into the iliac arteries of each leg. The iliac arteries further divide into smaller arteries and deliver blood down your legs to your toes.
Healthy peripheral arteries are smooth and unobstructed, allowing blood to flow freely to the legs and provide oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients that your legs need. Typically with age, the peripheral arteries build up plaque, a sticky substance made up mostly of fat and cholesterol. Plaque narrows the passageway within the arteries and causes them to become stiff. Peripheral arterial disease results when the peripheral arteries become too narrow or obstructed and limit the blood flow to the legs.
If left untreated, peripheral arterial disease can cause pain or aching in the legs, difficulty with walking, resting pain in the foot at night in bed, non-healing sores or infections in the toes or feet, and can lead to limb loss in its most severe form. In addition, it can be associated with other serious arterial conditions leading to heart attacks and stroke.
AAA - Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood from your heart to other parts of your body. The aorta, the largest artery in your body, runs from your heart, down through your chest, and into your abdomen (called the abdominal region). The abdominal region of the aorta is responsible for delivering blood to your legs, GI tract, and kidneys.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the wall of the aorta progressively weakens and begins to bulge. An AAA may continue to enlarge and eventually rupture if left untreated, causing severe internal bleeding and possibly death.
In addition to concerns about rupture, clots or debris may also develop within an AAA. These substances can be carried to other areas in the body and block circulation, causing severe pain or possibly limb loss if blood flow is cut off for too long.
AAA can be safely treated with early diagnosis.
Disease Information provided by Society for Vascular Surgery