Disease of the arteries is most commonly caused by a buildup of plaque and cholesterol, eventually leading to blockage or narrowing of the affected arteries. Arterial disease can affect any artery in the body (Fig 1), leading to serious consequences. Disease of the carotid artery (artery of the neck) can lead to stroke, whereas disease of the peripheral arteries (arteries of the legs) can lead to limb loss. There are multiple factors that can be gauged to assess a patients’ risk of vascular disease. Risk factors that can lead to vascular disease include diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history, and obesity.
The venous system is a redundant system that propels deoxygenated blood back to the heart for reoxygenation. This is achieved with the aid of muscular contraction, one way valves, and also gravity for the veins of the neck and brain. Diseases of the venous system can affect the body in different ways. Clotting of the vein (DVT) can lead to pain and swelling whereas venous insufficiency may result in the development of varicose veins.
The lymphatic system is a pathway way through which excessive fluid and protein, released from the circulation (arteries and veins), are returned back to the heart for recirculation. Diseases of the Lymphatic system typically cause excessive swelling of the lower extremities.