What are the signs of blood vessel problems?

Blood vessel symptoms are common when there is an underlying condition, such as atherosclerosis or an aneurysm. In atherosclerosis, blood vessel symptoms result when plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs and limbs. Most commonly, people develop atherosclerosis as a result of diabetes, genetic risk factors, high blood pressure, a high-fat diet, obesity, high blood cholesterol levels, and smoking.

Blood Vessel Problems Spotlight

The signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis are not usually apparent until blood flow becomes restricted. The course of the disease varies among individuals. Some people with atherosclerosis have no symptoms at all, while others may have severe hypertension, aneurysm, blood clots, and coronary or peripheral artery disease.

An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. Aneurysms are dangerous because they may burst, spilling blood into the area surrounding the blood vessel. The disease can occur in the aorta, the artery that leads from the heart to the abdomen, in a blood vessel in the brain, or in a peripheral blood vessel.

The signs and symptoms of an aneurysm depend on its location. The disease course varies among individuals. Some people with an aneurysm have no symptoms at all, but if the aneurysm ruptures, internal bleeding occurs, potentially causing pain, low blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat, and lightheadedness. If the aneurysm occurs near the surface of the skin, pain and swelling with a throbbing mass are often felt.

Blood vessel symptoms can be a sign of a serious condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have symptoms such as severe chest pain or pressure, rapid heart rate, the worst headache of your life, pain that radiates from the chest, shoulder, or arm, loss of consciousness for even a moment, or difficulty breathing.

Seek prompt medical care if your blood vessel symptoms are persistent or cause you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with blood vessel symptoms?

Blood vessel symptoms may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the blood vessels may also involve other body systems.... Read more about blood vessel symptomssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes blood vessel symptoms?

A variety of genetic and environmental factors is involved in the development of both atherosclerosis and aneurysms.... Read more about blood vessel symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation