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Signs of Vascular Disease and Arterial Conditions

There are numerous signs of vascular disease that an individual should be aware of in order to avoid future complications. A variety of arterial conditions and diseases can affect the vascular system, resulting in vascular disease, which occurs when blood vessels become smaller and slow down or stop the normal flow of blood through the body. The skin, muscles and organs can become damaged when your body does not get enough oxygen or important nutrients found in the blood. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of vascular conditions and diseases include:

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) – PVD is caused by a build-up of a sticky substance called plaque inside the arteries of the lower extremities. Signs and symptoms of this vascular disease may include:

  • Intermittent Claudication–cramping pain in the muscles of the buttocks and/or the legs that occurs with walking and exercise. The pain decreases with rest.
  • Pain at rest – As arterial conditions and diseases progress, pain occurs at rest. The pain is often located on the top of the foot and across the toes, worsened when feet/legs are elevated. The pain decreases when the legs are lowered and blood flow increases to the foot.
  • Tissue breakdown and gangrene – As arterial disease progresses further, the skin begins to break down and ulcers can develop. When tissues are unable to get the circulation required for growth and repair, gangrene (death of the tissue) can occur.
  • Additional signs of this vascular disease include decreased hair growth on feet/legs or dry and/or scaly leg skin.
  • Paleness of the leg or foot when elevated or discoloration of the foot/leg when hanging down.
  • Decreased ability to spread toes and move feet.
  • Absence of pulses in the feet.
  • Coolness of the foot/leg, numbness or tingling.
  • Leg ulcers or poorly healing leg skin rash.

For more information about signs and symptoms of vascular disease, or to learn about more about harmful arterial conditions and disease, visit our Heart and Vascular Institute. Our specialized staff provides a variety of Atlanta-based vascular screening services to determine risk factors for vascular disease.

Arterial Conditions and Diseases

Emory Decatur Hospital and Emory Hillandale Hospital treat a variety of arterial conditions and diseases that result in serious vascular disease. Our comprehensive vascular screening services help patients identify signs of vascular disease in order to provide prompt, effective treatment. Other vascular conditions and diseases include:

Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) - This arterial disease is caused by plaque that narrows or blocks the carotid arteries, which are located on either side of your neck and carry blood to your brain. Plaque can either completely obstruct flow to the brain or a piece of the plaque can break free and travel to the brain, causing a stroke. The greater the severity of the plaque that narrows the carotid arteries, the higher the risk of stroke. Signs and symptoms of this vascular disease include:

  • Numbness/weakness or loss of coordination of an arm and/or leg on one side of the body.
  • Drooping on one side of the face or mouth.
  • Change or loss of vision in one eye.
  • Thick, garbled speech or the inability to speak or understand speech.
  • Episodes of memory loss.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Abnormal sound in the carotid artery.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) - An aneurysm, which is swelling or enlargement of a blood vessel, affects the part of the aorta (the largest artery in your body) located in the abdominal area. There are often no tangible signs of vascular disease or arterial conditions associated with the development of an aneurysm. Therefore, patients may not be aware they have an aneurysm until it ruptures. When an aneurysm ruptures, it causes severe back and/or abdominal pain and can cause loss of consciousness. Seventy to ninety percent of patients with a ruptured aneurysm will not survive. Signs and symptoms of this vascular disease may include:

  • A mass that may be felt in the abdomen or a pulsation that may be seen when an individual is lying down.
  • Additional arterial conditions include pain that may occur if the aneurysm presses on nerves or nearby organs.
  • Small blood clots, called emboli, may shower from the aneurysm, moving into the feet, causing a painful sensation in the toes, as well as a blue discoloration.
  • When an aneurysm bursts, there is sudden, severe pain in the abdomen and/or back. An individual will feel faint from low blood pressure and then rapidly go into shock. Death will occur unless the blood pressure is maintained and the person receives surgical repair immediately.

If you have any signs or symptoms of vascular disease, speak with your doctor immediately. If you don't have a primary doctor, contact us, as there are many qualified physicians at our Heart and Vascular Institute. For more information about signs of vascular disease or to learn more about arterial conditions or disease, call 404.501.1851. We provide a host of Atlanta-based treatments for vascular disease.

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