Home to one of the top vascular programs in the country, the University of Chicago Medicine provides state-of-the-art care for conditions of the blood vessels and lymphatic system. Our experts treat all vascular conditions, offering non-surgical, minimally invasive and traditional surgical options to deliver the highest level of patient care.

What is vascular disease?

Vascular disease occurs when there is an abnormality in a patient's blood vessels (veins and arteries), such as a blockage, bulge or narrowing of the vessel walls. Any vessel irregularity can impact how well blood circulates throughout the body, making it a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Because vascular disease routinely lacks discernible symptoms, potentially millions of people each year could be suffering from vascular disease without being aware of their condition. In order to manage your condition, advanced UChicago Medicine vascular surgeons identify any risk you may have for developing vascular disease, and can create a plan to treat and manage your care.

There are millions of Americans with vascular disease, with many of them developing over time due to atherosclerosis, which is plaque that builds and hardens within arteries, making it hard for blood to flow through. With vascular disease, reduced or obstructed blood flow can occur in the brain, extremities and organs, which can lead to stroke and/or limb loss. Understanding what causes atherosclerosis can be a crucial first step in preventing and/or slowing vascular disease early.

Causes and Risk Factors for Vascular Disease

The most common cause of vascular disease is atherosclerosis, and there are several risk factors that could increase your chances of atherosclerosis and ultimately developing vascular disease. Risk factors include: 
  • Age (greater than 50) 
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history and/or inherited vascular disease 
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Vascular Disease Symptoms

Since vascular disease can effect any part of the body, symptoms will vary depending on the location of the affected vessels. When a patient has a vascular disease, they can experience reduced or obstructed blood flow in the body that creates:

  • Chest pain
  • Limb pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Limited mobility and/or flexibility 
  • Nausea 
  • Sweating

Though not everyone will have symptoms, it is important to be aware of the behaviors that can exacerbate vascular conditions, such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet.

Why Choose UChicago Medicine for Vascular Disease

Our expert vascular surgeons are committed to helping your meet your care goals, and we work closely with you to ensure we are understand your specific needs and wants.

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To speak to someone directly, please call 1-773-702-6128. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

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