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A Long Island Vascular Doctor Contrasts the Dangers of Vein and Arterial Disease


The cardiovascular system is compromised of three major blood vessel systems, two of which are highlighted within this article: veins and arteries. Both systems play a critical role in the circulatory system, ensuring adequate blood flow throughout the human body. One cannot exist without the other, because our circulation would be incomplete. This leaves many patients asking a valid question – “Which is more dangerous – vein disease or arterial disease?” Unfortunately, the answer is not always clear-cut. To better understand each disease, we have to consider how each affects our circulation, and what complications might arise as the disease advances.

Arterial Disease

Arteries carry blood away from the heart, which is the central processing unit of the cardiovascular system. Arteries deliver oxygenated blood to our organs throughout the body. This process is critical in transporting oxygen and other essential nutrients to other areas of the body to support good health and physical activity. Arterial disease should not be taken lightly. However, arterial disease generally progresses gradually.

The usual culprit in arterial disease is increased blood cholesterol. This accumulation of plaque residue along the arterial walls can block blood flow, and can be a chronic, progressive condition. This condition can lead to heart disease, but if caught early, can be prevented and even reversed with minimal damage to the actual arteries. Cholesterol lowering drugs as well as moderate exercise and changes in diet can improve your outlook.

However, it is also important to consider the role of the veins in cardiovascular health.

Vein Disease

Unlike arterial disease, vein disease is more acute and can be more dangerous than arterial disease. Venous insufficiency, which causes varicose veins, involves the backflow and stagnation of blood in the veins due to vein damage. Healthy valves inside the veins prevent backflow and permit one-way blood flow from the legs back to the heart and lungs for processing. Diseases and damage to the valves in our veins can increase venous insufficiency and cause the legs to become full of excess fluid. This prevents the blood from both the venous system and the arterial system from reaching the peripheral vessels in the legs.

Without adequate blood flow, the circulatory system is unable to perform its functions well. In addition, venous disease can lead to more serious symptoms, including superficial and deep vein thrombi (DVT), also known as blood clots. DVTs are serious, as they can become dislodged and can travel to the heart, lungs or brain, potentially causing a cerebrovascular accident (CVA or stroke).

It is difficult to know whether vein or arterial disease is more or less dangerous than the other. However, vein disease is more complex and, since it can negatively affect the arterial system and cause complications throughout the body, it is very important to seek prompt treatment if you suspect you might have any venous disorder. If you are ready to talk to about the health and beauty of your legs with a Long Island vein specialist, consider contacting Dr. Andrew Rochman, one of the best Long Island vascular doctors around. Please give our Long Island vein treatment office a call today at 516-821-0242 to schedule an appointment.

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