Vascular Diseases and Pain
Blood Clotting Disorders
Blood clotting disorders are conditions that make the blood more likely to form blood clots in the arteries and veins. These conditions may be inherited (congenital, occurring at birth) or acquired and include:
- Elevated levels of factors in the blood which cause blood to clot (fibrinogen, factor VIII, prothrombin)
- Deficiency of natural anticoagulant (blood-thinning) proteins (antithrombin, protein C, protein S)
- Elevated blood counts
- Abnormal fibrinolysis (the breakdown of fibrin)
- Abnormal changes in the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium)
The lymphatic system is a circulatory system that includes an extensive network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes. The lymphatic system helps coordinate the immune system's function to protect the body from foreign substances.
Lymphedema is an abnormal build-up of fluid that causes swelling, most often in the arms or legs. Lymphedema develops when lymph vessels or lymph nodes are missing, impaired, damaged or removed.
Primary lymphedema is rare and is caused by the absence of certain lymph vessels at birth, or it may be caused by abnormalities in the lymphatic vessels.
Secondary lymphedema occurs as a result of a blockage or interruption that alters the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphedema can develop from an infection, malignancy, surgery, scar tissue formation, obesity, trauma, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), radiation or other cancer treatment.
What Does Vascular Pain Feel Like?
Symptoms may include:
- Pain or heaviness in the area affected
- Numbness, weakness, or a tingling in the affected area
How Is Vascular Pain Treated?
Therapies to treat vascular pain can include medications, angioplasty, or bypass surgery. Angioplasty is a procedure to reduce or eliminate blockages in blood vessels. In bypass surgery, surgeons take a segment of a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body and make a detour around the blocked blood vessel.
Doctors who specialize in pain management can sometimes help if other treatments don't work. For some people, nerve blocks and other techniques can reduce pain and improve circulation.