Arterial Disease (Legs & Arms)
Your vascular system is made up of the blood vessels, or a series of tubes, that carry your blood. It has two major systems of vessels which are your arteries and your veins. Our discussion here will be the arteries. Basically, the arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to every part of the body, including the brain, intestines, kidneys, arms, legs and the heart itself. A problem in the arteries, or arterial system, is called arterial disease.
Arteries differ from veins in that arteries are more muscular. The muscular arterial walls allow the arteries to contract to increase blood pressure and remain contracted against the force of blood whereas veins rely on the muscle contractions in the muscle and particularly the calf muscles to contract and help move blood by forcing it up the leg.
Arteriosclerosis is hardening of the arteries. This condition thickens the wall of arteries and causes stiffness and loss of elasticity.
Atherosclerosis is the most common type of arteriosclerosis and is caused by plaque (fat, cholesterol and other substances in the blood) building up in the vessel.
Our focus here will be on three specific types of arterial disease:
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
- Carotid Artery Disease (Stroke)
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (Screening/Follow-Up)
We hope the information on these pages is both informative and helpful, but it is intended for education only. Please do note that no web site, no matter how much information is shared, can replace a consultation with your doctor and a vascular specialist. Medical technology and treatment are continually improving and evolving so before making any decision on treatment, it is always advisable to see your doctor first for a comprehensive evaluation of your vascular disease and other medical conditions.
At the Vascular Center of Wichita Falls, we work closely with your other physicians. If you have concerns about your arteries or veins, contact us. A referral is not necessary to make an appointment.