How do you take care of your heart after 40?
As you find yourself hitting 40, you may start thinking about health issues you previously didn’t concern yourself with. Should heart health be one of them?
The vascular system is the body's network of blood vessels. It includes arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart. Problems of the vascular system are common and can be serious. Arteries can become thick and stiff -- a problem called atherosclerosis. Blood clots can clog vessels and block blood flow to the heart or brain. Weakened blood vessels can burst, causing bleeding inside the body.
Vascular disease is often referred to as a silent threat, as the symptoms of vascular disease may be sudden or may not present themselves at all. If you have any of the risk factors below, talk with your physician to see if you are a candidate for a vascular screening test, or request an evaluation.
You are more likely to have vascular disease as you get older. Other factors that make vascular disease more likely include:
Some of these are modifiable risk factors that you can control. Losing weight, eating healthy foods, being active and not smoking can help vascular disease. Other treatments include medicines and surgery.
People with peripheral artery disease may not experience symptoms during the beginning stages. The most common early symptom is intermittent discomfort in the legs during activity, including:
With more advanced stages of peripheral artery disease, symptoms may include:
Many people who have peripheral artery disease have pain in their hips, thighs or calves when engaged in physical activity. The pain often goes away when the exercise stops. This is because the leg muscles used in exercise need more blood flow, and this flow is restricted due to the arteries narrowed by the disorder.
Other symptoms can include:
Peripheral artery disease often goes undiagnosed. It is important to inform a physician if you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, because the condition can lead to increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
Patrick Vaccaro, MD, explains how Ohio State physicians have the training and background to treat a range of problems, including critical ischemia, aneurysms and thoracic outlet syndrome.