The aorta is the largest blood artery branching off from your heart. It carries the body’s blood supply through the chest. Where this blood vessel reaches your stomach (abdomen) it is then called the abdominal aorta. This abdominal aorta carries the blood supply to the lower portion of the body, separating into two branches, called iliac arteries, for each leg.
PAD is a chronic disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries to the legs. This buildup typically occurs gradually. If allowed to progress, blood flow in that artery can become limited or blocked.
When veins become swollen to the point that they can be seen through the skin tissue, they are called varicose veins. Varicose veins look blue, bulging and often twisted rather than smooth and straight. It’s estimated that about 10% of the American population develops varicose veins with age, typically affecting people between ages 40 and 70.
Diabetes is when the body has too much blood sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream because of the body’s inability to produce insulin. Those with diabetes, unfortunately, are prone to vascular health problems. Diabetics are at higher risk of hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. Diabetics also develop neuropathy, where nerves in the feet and toes lose their sensation to feel.
Carotid artery disease is when these arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked. When this happens, a person can have a stroke, where a portion of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, causing temporary or permanent paralysis of facial nerves and an entire side of the body. Stroke is also called a “brain attack” because like a heart attack, the consequences can be severe or fatal.
For additional information, visit Society for Vascular Surgery.
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