Improving Your Vascular Health
Updated: May 10
Few aspects of our health are more important than the state of our vascular system. While most people understand the factors that affect heart health, few realise that we also need to take good care of our arteries and veins in the rest of the body. Conditions that affect these parts of the body can have a significant impact on our overall health and wellbeing.
The phrase ‘improving your vascular health’ can mean many things. For some, it will involve lifestyle changes, like maintaining a healthy diet or exercising. For others, vascular health concerns require professional assistance.
As a leading vascular and varicose veins surgeon, Dr Adrian Ling provides high-quality care for patients diagnosed with an array of vascular conditions. His comprehensive treatment options enable him to provide tailored, patient-centric assistance with a focus on improving overall vascular health.
The vascular system
To improve your vascular health, you first need to understand what this system comprises.
The vascular system is just one of many structures throughout the body that work hard to keep us healthy and active. It is also known as the circulatory system and includes the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries.
Our body requires oxygen and nutrients to continue functioning. It also needs a method of removing waste, including deoxygenated blood, from organs and tissues. It is the role of the vascular system to facilitate this ongoing movement.
The heart acts as a pump, directing blood and other nutrients around the body. The arteries (and arterioles), veins (and venules) and capillaries are the vessels responsible for carrying these substances. Arteries and veins are closely related but perform slightly different functions; arteries carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart (and towards organs and tissues) while veins carry deoxygenated blood and waste products back to the heart. Capillaries, meanwhile, are tiny vessels that link arteries and veins together.
Any injury or condition that affects the vascular system has the potential to cause significant damage to our overall health and wellbeing.
Factors that affect vascular health
Despite the fact that vascular conditions range in severity from being mere cosmetic concerns (for example, spider veins) to potentially life-threatening (for example, an aneurysm), the same common risk factors apply to all.
● Age: As is often the case, the vascular system degrades with age. The older you are, the more likely you are to be affected by any and all vascular conditions.
● Family history: Some vascular conditions have hereditary roots, meaning a family history can increase the likelihood of you being affected.
● Gender: It’s difficult to make a broad statement regarding vascular health and gender. However, some particular vascular conditions are more likely to affect men or women. Varicose veins, for example, are linked to particular hormones that are produced during pregnancy and are more common in women.
● Weight: Obesity puts added pressure on all parts of the body, including your heart, arteries, and veins.
● Smoking: Smoking leads to plaque forming in blood vessels, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of a heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.
Positive lifestyle changes
Even those with a family history of vascular disease can make positive lifestyle changes that will reduce the likelihood of such conditions occurring.
These include following a healthy diet, making sure you get plenty of exercise, cutting out harmful activities (like smoking and excessive drinking), and trying to reduce stress.
Many vascular conditions are linked to living a sedentary lifestyle. For some people, their occupation makes tackling this problem very difficult. Office workers, for example, tend to spend most of the day sitting at a desk. In this situation, a positive lifestyle change might include setting a timer to get up and stretch your legs every thirty minutes.
Vascular conditions and treatment
There are situations when simply cutting back on fatty foods won’t help. Instead, you might be directed to book an appointment with a vascular or varicose veins surgeon.
● Varicose veins - using the latest minimally invasive techniques like Venaseal Glue, radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser.
● Spider veins - using sclerotherapy.
● Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - clearing clot with advanced endovascular treatments.
● Chronic venous occlusion - alleviating pain and ulceration of the legs due to blocked veins from DVT.
● Treating blocked arteries of the neck (carotid artery stenosis) to prevent stroke.
● Treating enlarged arteries (Aneurysms) to prevent rupture and death.
● Treating blocked arteries of the legs (peripheral vascular disease) to allow walking without pain and treat arterial ulcers and gangrene.
● Preventing amputation in diabetics through treatment of diabetic foot disease.
● Creating and maintaining AV fistulas for people who have kidney disease and require dialysis.
General vascular health:
● General vascular advice for treating risk factors and management strategies to minimise complications of vascular disease.
Improving your vascular health will likely take a combination of lifestyle changes and treatment, whether that involves surgery or a form of minimally invasive therapy. Dr Ling’s extensive experience in the field of vascular medicine means he is well equipped to provide patients with comprehensive, tailored care.
If you are located in Melbourne and have been searching for a vascular surgeon near me, contact Dr Ling today to learn more about his services and the steps he recommends to improve your vascular health.