What is the vascular system?
The vascular system, also known as the circulatory system, consists of the vessels that transport blood and lymph around the body. This circulatory system is an important passageway that allows for the movement of oxygen, nutrients, hormones, carbon dioxide and blood cells which are needed in maintaining important processes within the body. Without a healthy vascular system, our body will be unable to perform critical functions such as fighting against diseases, removing waste products and toxins from the body, and maintaining the overall healthy functioning of all our organs.
Our vascular health is extremely important, and it is critical that we protect it in order to maintain a healthy body!
Protecting our Vascular Health
Did you know that in Singapore, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 31.7% of all deaths in the year 2020 alone. This includes diseases such as heart attack and stroke, which are largely influenced by one’s vascular health. Here are some simple things we can do to protect our vascular health:
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
- High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, causes hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels. This leads to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
- Regulating blood sugar levels
- High levels of glucose in the blood (Diabetes Mellitus) can damage the walls of the blood vessels, by decreasing their elasticity and causing them to narrow, thus restricting the flow of blood. In addition, high blood glucose levels also weaken the immune system and reduces our ability to fight infections.
- Keep cholesterol levels low
- Keeping cholesterol levels low is very important as high levels of cholesterol can influence the development of fatty deposits in our blood vessels. This can block the passageway of the blood vessels and result in an increased risk of diseases such as heart attack or stroke.
- Quit smoking
- Carbon monoxide and nicotine are two components in cigarettes that encourage the buildup of fatty deposits on arterial walls. As such, it is very important to refrain from or quit smoking, to maintain good vascular health.
- Walking promotes good blood circulation throughout the body, and this is especially essential for our vascular health. Regular walking exercise has been shown to result in better blood pressure control, reduced blood cholesterol and blood glucose and overall reduced risk of death from heart attack and strokes.
- Ensuring a healthy body weight
- Obesity can lead to multiple health problems, including hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. It can also impair the flow of blood in the leg veins leading to increased risk of blood clots developing in the lower limbs (deep venous thrombosis).
Signs of Poor Vascular Health
Below are some signs of poor vascular health.
- Cold hands/feet due to poor blood circulation to the extremities of the body.
- Fatigue Poor blood circulation can also affect the body’s energy levels, causing one to feel tired.
- Swelling in the lower extremities Poor blood circulation can result in the accumulation of blood in the lower extremities of the body, thus causing swelling in the legs.
- Joint pain & muscle cramping Poor blood circulation affects the healthy functioning of the muscles and joints as oxygen and nutrients cannot reach the cells. This may manifest as frequent joint pain or muscle cramps.
- Varicose veins is a common condition whereby the veins in the legs are swollen and sometimes painful. It is a result of damage to the valves in the veins.
- Leg ulcers can be developed as a result of damage to the veins in the legs and/or poor circulation in the legs.
If you are experiencing any signs of poor vascular health, do make a visit to a vascular centre. Singapore Vascular & Interventional Centre is here to help!
Diseases linked to Poor Vascular Health:
There are many diseases linked to poor vascular health, and it is very important to take care of your vascular health while you can. Below are some types of diseases which are linked to poor vascular health:
- Atherosclerosis The development of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, which overtime result in restricted blood flow.
- Arteriosclerosis The hardening of the arterial walls, causing them to lose their elasticity, resulting in poor blood flow within the body.
- Heart attack A heart attack is a condition where the coronary arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart become blocked, thus causing the heart muscles to die resulting in a heart attack.
- Aneurysm The ballooning (enlargement) of a blood vessel, most commonly caused by atherosclerosis and/or high blood pressure. Aneurysms can result in very serious health problems, such as stroke or life-threatening bleeding.
- Stroke There are mainly two causes of stroke, a blocked artery or the bursting of a blood vessel. Both causes are heavily related to one’s vascular health, and thus, it is extremely important to maintain good vascular health.
If you think you are in need of a vascular centre, Singapore has a multitude of clinics that specialise in your vascular health, including our clinic, the Vascular & Interventional Centre Singapore. You may call us at +65 6694 6270 or email us at [email protected]