When someone says vascular disease, you probably don’t think of it as the number one cause of death globally. According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases, which include vascular disease, represent 31% of all global deaths, or about 17.9 million people every year. Additionally, one-third of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases occur prematurely, in people under the age of 70. A vascular disease diagnosis is certainly not something you want to ignore.
Despite these statistics, many of the most common forms of vascular disease, like stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, can be managed or avoided with proper care and treatment. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with vascular disease, come see our team at Phoenix Heart. We were recently voted No. 1 in cardiology groups by Ranking Arizona magazine and we aim to set the bar in cardiological care.
In the meantime, read on to find out more about vascular disease, and how angioplasty and stenting — common procedures that are often performed together — can help you get your heart health on the right path.
What is vascular disease?
Your vascular system is your body’s network of veins, arteries, and capillaries. Vascular disease, then, is a term used to describe any condition that impacts your vascular system or could potentially block your blood as it flows through your body. Examples of vascular disease include:
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease
- Raynaud's disease
The specific cause of vascular disease can vary but common culprits include genetics, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and being overweight.
How angioplasty and stents come into play
As mentioned above, vascular disease often involves blockages that make it harder for blood to circulate through your body. Angioplasty and stents help solve this and go hand-in-hand; the former is a procedure and the latter a device.
Angioplasty refers to a procedure that opens narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. During an angioplasty, your doctor will insert a small, thin guidewire and catheter into a blood vessel in your arm, wrist, or groin area.
After using dye to identify the specific site of the blockage, a small balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated. As the balloon inflates, it widens and stretches the artery to make it easier for blood to flow around the blockage. The balloon is then deflated and removed as the procedure is completed.
So, how does the artery stay widened after the balloon and catheter are removed? This is where stents come in.
A stent is a permanent wire mesh tube that acts as a scaffold to support the newly widened artery. During most angioplasties, a stent will be placed around the balloon. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands with it and remains in place to help prevent the artery from re-narrowing afterward. As a bonus, most stents are coated with slow-releasing drugs that help prevent future blockages.
Top-notch cardiological care you can trust
With angioplasty and stents, you can make sure your vascular system runs smoothly. Our on-site cardiovascular lab offers state-of-the-art treatment in a comfortable, private setting, and we are dedicated to treating you and your caregivers with the utmost respect, empathy, and professionalism. Call or request an appointment at one of our six Arizona offices today.