Vascular Disease and PFO
The vascular system is the body’s network of blood vessels. It includes the arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart. Although having a PFO is not a type of vascular disease, problems of the vascular system are common and can be serious. Some of the complications from vascular diseases will have to be ruled out if you are considering treatment for your PFO and having a PFO could put you at higher risk of stroke if you also have one or more of the various conditions listed below. For example, arteries can become thick and stiff, a problem called arteriosclerosis. Blood clots can clog vessels and break off from a clot and block blood flow to the heart or brain. Weakened blood vessels can burst, causing bleeding inside the body.
You are more likely to have vascular disease as you get older. Other factors that make vascular disease more likely include
- Family history of vascular or heart diseases
- Illness or injury
- Long periods of sitting or standing still
- Any condition that affects the heart and blood vessels, such as diabetes or high cholesterol
Losing weight, eating healthy foods, being active and not smoking can help vascular disease. Other treatments include medicines and surgery.
Here is a list of links for further reading on vascular disease from The Vascular Disease Foundation
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