Patient Education

We understand that an educated patient is a patient with peace-of-mind.
So as part of our commitment to your complete care, the Vascular Center of Northern Michigan is proud to offer online resource tools with information on the signs,
symptoms and treatment options for a range of vascular conditions:

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An enlargement or “bulge” that develops in a weakened area within the largest artery in the abdomen. The pressure generated by each heartbeat pushes against the weakened aortic wall, causing the aneurysm to enlarge- a situation that can be fatal if the increased size leads to a rupture.

A condition in which an artery wall thickens as the result of a build up of plaque from fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium and other substances. Plaques can grow large enough to reduce blood flow through the artery, or arteries can become fragile and rupture, breaking off blood flow to parts of the body, resulting in heart attack or stroke, among other conditions.

Carotid Artery Disease
Occurs when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked due to atherosclerosis. These main arteries, the carotid arteries, supply your brain with blood. When blockage occurs, there is an increased risk of stroke.

Claudication refers to discomfort experienced in the lower extremities with use or exercise. It is usually due to blocked or obstructed arteries which prevents normal blood flow to the lower extremity muscles. The cause of the blockage is usually atherosclerosis but other conditions are also possible. The discomfort can range from a tired feeling to achy discomfort and even severe pain.

Peripheral Arterial Disease
Occurs when atherosclerosis limits the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to all tissue of the body. Early on this may only cause difficulty walking, but in its most severe form can cause painful foot ulcers, infections and even gangrene, which can require amputation.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon
A disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. Attacks are often triggered by exposure to cold or by emotional stress that results in a decreased blood supply, causing skin discoloration and intense pain in the affected areas.

Renal Artery Stenosis
Most often caused by atherosclerosis that inhibits blood flow from the heart to the kidneys. Restriction of blood flow to the kidneys may lead to impaired kidney function (renal failure) and high blood pressure (hypertension), referred to as renovascular hypertension.

A rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. Blood flow can be compromised by narrowing of the small arteries in the brain, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), or blood clots from the heart that embolize (travel) to the arteries in the brain.

Transient Ischemic Attack
Occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted causing a transient stroke that lasts only a few minutes. TIA symptoms, which usually occur suddenly, are similar to those of stroke but do not last as long.

Varicose Veins
A condition that develops when vein valves become defective or damaged, causing enlargement due to the pooling of blood in the veins. Veins can be dark purple or blue, and look twisted and bulging.