Vascular disease is often caused when plaque (fat deposits) builds up on artery walls and restricts blood flow. If these deposits rupture, a blood clot forms, which further restricts blood flow. These buildups are known to affect the heart, but other parts parts of the body, like the brain and limbs, are affected as well.

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Age (people over age 50 are at a higher risk)
  • Family history


Signs & Symptoms

Vascular disease can develop in arteries throughout the body, so symptoms will differ by location and from patient to patient. Symptoms may include:

  • A sudden, severe headache
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Inability to move one or more limbs
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Sudden weakness
  • Numbness in the limbs or face
  • Coldness in one limb, especially when compared to the other side
  • Sores on the legs and feet that do not heal
  • Cramping

Symptoms should not be ignored. If you experience these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Many people with vascular disease experience no symptoms. Even if you do not have any symptoms, talk to your doctor if you are:

  • Over age 70
  • Over age 50 and have a history of diabetes or smoking
  • Have diabetes and other peripheral artery disease risk factors, such as obesity or high blood pressure