Q: What are risk factors for vascular disease? And what can I do to guard against them?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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A: Vascular disease is a circulation disorder that causes the blood vessels outside of the heart or brain to narrow, block or spasm. This can occur in the arteries or veins. Risk factors for vascular disease include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, being over age 50, obesity, kidney disease, a personal history of heart disease and a family history of vascular disease. Lifestyle choices that increase the risk of developing vascular disease include smoking and drug use, poor eating habits and not exercising. 
To prevent vascular disease, adopt a healthy lifestyle. Do not smoke, control your blood sugar, work to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, set exercise goals and be attentive to physical changes. New aches and pains, skin changes or ulcerations, focal weakness or paresthesia, facial asymmetry or speech changes may be symptoms of vascular disease and warrant medical attention.

Melanie K. Rose, M.D.
Vascular surgeon with Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates
Read more in our Winter 2021 issue of BEST Magazine.