Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Vascular Disease

  • What is deep vein thrombosis? Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein, usually in the legs. Clots can form in superficial veins and in deep veins. Blood clots with inflammation in superficial veins (called superficial thrombophlebitis or phlebitis) rarely cause serious problems. But clots...

  • Heart tests can help your doctor find out if you are at risk for a heart problem, if you have a heart problem, and what treatment you need. There are many heart tests. Most are noninvasive, which means that your doctor does not insert a device into your body for the test. Many of the tests provide still or moving...

  • In people who have cirrhosis, high pressure in the veins that carry blood from the intestines to the liver (portal hypertension) causes many problems. Variceal bleeding—bleeding from enlarged veins (varices) in the digestive tract—is an extremely...

  • The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can help you lower your blood pressure. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. For more information on the DASH diet, see: High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH...

  • This topic is about high blood pressure that some women get while they are pregnant. For information about preeclampsia, a more serious kind of high blood pressure, see the topic Preeclampsia. It's normal for blood pressure to go up and down...

  • After you've had a stroke, you may be worried that you could have another one. That's easy to understand. But the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having another stroke. Taking medicine, doing stroke rehabilitation, and making healthy lifestyle changes can help. Take your...

  • If you check your blood pressure, you may wonder when an abnormal reading means you should call your doctor. This information can help you understand what your blood pressure numbers mean and when you need to call for help. What do blood pressure numbers mean? Your blood pressure consists of two numbers...

  • Learn how to prevent blood clots in leg veins when you must sit or lie down for long periods of time.

  • Learn why it's important to take antiplatelet medicine after your stroke.

  • Pressure injuries are described in four stages. Stage 1 sores are not open wounds. The skin may be painful, but it has no breaks or tears. The skin appears reddened and does not blanch (lose color briefly when you press your finger on it then remove your finger). In a dark-skinned person, the area...

  • Learn how to care for a central or PICC IV line at home.

  • Learn what carotid artery stenting is and how it is done.

  • Hear how one woman found the support she needed to make heart-healthy choices.

  • Learn what a stroke is and what problems it can cause.

  • Find out how to eat a consistent amount of vitamin K so your warfarin (Coumadin) medicine will work the way it should.

  • Learn what an anticoagulant (blood thinner) shot is, and see how to give yourself an injection.

  • Learn how to recognize stroke symptoms and know when to call.

  • Learn what it means for you and your baby when you're pregnant and have high blood pressure.

  • Learn how to give an injection under the skin.

  • Learn how to safely turn a person in bed.

  • Learn what blood pressure is, what it means when it's high, and how high blood pressure may be treated.

  • Find out how you'll feel after coronary angioplasty and how to take care of yourself at home.

  • This guide covers the basics of renal artery stenosis, including what it is, what causes it, and how it is treated.

  • A heart-healthy eating plan is full of foods that can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. This plan can help you stay at a healthy weight and manage cholesterol and blood pressure. It is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that...

  • Provides links to information about high blood pressure. Describes what blood pressure is, high blood pressure's effect on health, and how high blood pressure is treated. Has links to lifestyle changes and medications used to treat high blood pressure.

  • What is low blood pressure? Low blood pressure means that your blood pressure is lower than normal. Another name for low blood pressure is hypotension (say "hy-poh-TEN-shun"). In most healthy adults, low blood pressure does not cause problems or symptoms. In fact, it may be normal for you. For example, people who...

  • Warfarin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. Because it prevents clots, it also helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other problems caused by blood clots. It's important to know how to take warfarin safely.

  • Venous insufficiency is a problem with the flow of blood from the veins of the legs back to the heart. It's also called chronic venous insufficiency or chronic venous stasis. Veins have valves that keep the blood moving in one direction—toward the...

  • Guides through decision to have screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Includes pros such as finding aneurysms so that they can be treated. Also explains the possible harm that could come if the test leads to risky surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Carotid artery stenting (CAS) is a procedure that can be used to open a narrowed carotid artery. It involves placing a small, expandable tube called a stent in the narrowed artery. This procedure is also called carotid angioplasty and stenting. There are two carotid arteries—one on each side of the neck—that supply...

  • What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in a leg. A DVT is dangerous because the clot can break loose, travel through the bloodstream, and block blood flow to the lungs ( pulmonary embolism). Without treatment, this can be deadly. Why does...

  • Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent blood clots. Although they are called blood thinners, they don't really thin the blood. They slow down the time it takes for a blood clot to form. You have to be careful when you take blood thinner medicines. They can raise the risk of serious bleeding. But you can do...

  • Guides you through the decision to take warfarin or a different anticoagulant (apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban, or rivaroxaban) to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants.

  • Learn how angioplasty opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries to improve blood flow.

  • Learn how angioplasty can open narrowed or blocked arteries in your legs to improve blood flow.

  • Learn some tips that will help you put on your compression stockings.

  • Learn how the DASH eating plan can help lower your blood pressure.

  • Learn how medicine can help lower your blood pressure.

  • Open surgery is done to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is called an open surgery because the abdomen is opened so the doctor can see and work on the aorta. Open surgery is the traditional method of repair. To repair the aneurysm, a doctor...

  • Endovascular repair is a procedure to fix an aortic aneurysm in the abdomen. It's called endovascular because a doctor repairs the aneurysm from the inside of the damaged blood vessel (the aorta). This is not a surgery. This is a minimally invasive...

  • It's true—diabetes raises your risk of heart disease. That means your risks of heart attack and stroke are higher when you have diabetes. Diabetes is plenty to keep up with as it is. That explains why dealing with both heart risk and diabetes can seem like too much all at once. But it's also true that good...

  • Warfarin is a pill that you take regularly to help prevent blood clots or to keep a clot from getting bigger. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. To ensure that warfarin is effectively thinning your blood, it's important to eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K normally helps your...

  • Learn what important blood cells called platelets do.

  • Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or deep vein blood clot. After a while, this blood clot (usually in your leg), can damage the vein. Damage to the vein can lead to more pressure in the veins. The...

  • Learn how high cholesterol raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.

  • Learn how high blood pressure that isn't treated can cause serious health problems.

  • Compare the pros and cons of taking medicine for your high blood pressure.

  • Learn how healthy lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure.

  • Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to take blood pressure pills.

  • See why your doctor prescribed low-dose aspirin for your heart.

  • Learn what you can do to be safe when you're taking warfarin.

  • Learn why you need to keep taking warfarin and how to get help so you can keep taking it.

  • Learn what can cause a DVT, why it's so dangerous, and what the symptoms are.

  • Learn what increases your risk for stroke and how you can lower your risk.

  • Learn how clot-busting medicines are used for emergencies like stroke and heart attack.

  • Learn why it's important to take blood-thinning medicine after your stroke.

  • Learn how to help prevent dangerous blood clots after your surgery.

  • Learn the symptoms of stroke and why it's important to call emergency services right away.

  • Learn how your self-care plan can help you manage after a stroke.

  • Relieve pressure on the skin Relieving and spreading out pressure is the most important part of both preventing and treating pressure injuries. Putting pressure on one spot for long periods of time decreases blood flow to that area. This damages or...

  • What is carotid artery disease? A carotid artery on each side of the neck supplies blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in either or both arteries. The buildup can narrow the artery and reduce the blood flow to your brain. This can raise your chance of a stroke...

  • Covers symptoms of giant cell arteritis, which include vision problems and pain in the jaw. Covers how this condition is treated.

  • Learn what carotid endarterectomy is and how it is done.

  • Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to have a procedure to help prevent a stroke.

  • Compare the pros and cons of having a carotid artery procedure to help prevent stroke.

  • Learn about the range of emotions you may experience after you've had a stroke.

  • Learn how stroke rehab works and how it can help you get stronger and feel better.

  • Hear what motivated other people to make changes to keep their heart healthy.

  • Learn how using a home blood pressure monitor can give you better control of your health.

  • Learn what raises your risk for having a heart attack or stroke and how you can lower your risk.

  • Getting better after a stroke takes patience and effort. See how others found inspiration to keep going.

  • Get help thinking about ways to stay positive and hopeful after a stroke.

  • Some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can raise your blood pressure or keep your blood pressure medicine from working the way it should. So if you have high blood pressure or other heart or blood vessel problems, you need to be careful with OTC...

  • As we get older, our skin gets more thin and dry, so it is easier to damage. The chance of skin damage is higher for people who can't move much and who spend most of their time in bed or in a wheelchair. The skin can develop rashes and sores, especially pressure injuries. These sores are caused by constant...

  • Lying in one position for a long time can cause pressure injuries. You can help avoid pressure injuries by helping your loved one turn and change position in bed. This is also helpful when you need to do things like change sheets, help with a bedpan, give a back rub, or change a bandage. When helping someone move in...

  • What is high blood pressure? Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of the arteries as it moves through the body. High blood pressure happens when the blood is pushing too hard. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension. Blood pressure readings include two numbers...

  • Learn about transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and what the risks are when you have one.

  • Learn how to be safe when taking a blood thinner other than warfarin.

  • What is a leg aneurysm? A leg aneurysm (say "ANN-yuh-riz-um") is a bulge in a blood vessel (artery) in your leg. The bulge occurs in a weak spot in the artery. It can happen in one or both legs. Blood clots can form in this type of aneurysm and can block blood flow in your leg. What raises your risk...

  • Guides people not already diagnosed with coronary artery disease through decision to take statin medicine to lower risk of heart attack or stroke. Covers cholesterol and other risk factors. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • In isolated systolic high blood pressure (isolated systolic hypertension, or ISH), systolic blood pressure is elevated, but diastolic blood pressure is normal. This type of high blood pressure is more common in older adults, especially older women....

  • Try the following home treatment if your hands get cold easily and become pale, cool, and painful: Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cold. Wave your arms in a circular motion to force blood out into your hands. Blow warm air onto cold...

  • Briefly discusses brain aneurysm (also called cerebral aneurysm). Covers possible causes, including hardening of the arteries, hypertension, and smoking. Lists symptoms. Discusses treatment with surgery. Links to info on strokes.

  • Thrombolytics are medicines that rapidly dissolve a blood clot. They are used when a blood clot causes an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. These clot-busting medicines help blood to flow normally again. Thrombolytics are used as soon as...

  • Guides through the decision to have a carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stenting to prevent stroke if you have not already had a stroke or TIA. Lists pros and cons. Explains risks. Looks at other treatments. Has interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Femoral-tibial bypass surgery (also known as infra-popliteal reconstruction) is used to bypass diseased blood vessels in the lower leg or foot. To bypass the narrowed or blocked blood vessel, blood is redirected through a healthy blood vessel that has been transplanted or through a man-made graft material. This vessel...

  • If you smoke, your chance of dying from a heart attack is 2 to 3 times greater than that of a person who does not smoke. About 1 out of 4 heart attacks is believed to be directly related to smoking. Smoking is a much more important risk factor for a...

  • Discusses peripheral arterial disease, a narrowing or blockage of arteries that results in poor blood flow to your arms and legs. Discusses causes and symptoms. Covers treatment with lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery. Also offers prevention tips.

  • Being active is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. It can also help you keep peripheral arterial disease (PAD) from getting worse. Regular exercise can help you manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, which can help control PAD and reduce your...

  • Femoropopliteal (fem-pop) bypass surgery is used to bypass diseased blood vessels above or below the knee. To bypass the narrowed or blocked blood vessel, blood is redirected through either a healthy blood vessel that has been transplanted or a man-made graft material. This vessel or graft is sewn above and below the...

  • Discusses reasons to have or not have surgery or a procedure for varicose veins. Includes info on sclerotherapy, laser treatment, microphlebectomy, and radiofrequency closure. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Learn what an ankle-brachial test is, why it's done, and what the results might mean.

  • Aortobifemoral bypass surgery is used to bypass diseased large blood vessels in the abdomen and groin. To bypass a narrowed or blocked blood vessel, blood is redirected through a graft made of synthetic material (such as polytetrafluoroethylene [PTFE] or Dacron). This graft is sewn above and below the diseased artery...

  • In this article, you'll learn the basics about peripheral arterial angioplasty, including how the procedure is done.

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...

  • Covers procedure, which is also called percutaneous coronary intervention, to widen narrow coronary arteries for stable angina and heart attack. Links to a slideshow of angioplasty. Describes use of stent and balloon to open artery. Explains why it's done and when it's not done. Includes how well it works, risks, and...

  • Compression stockings help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. They improve circulation and are a mainstay of treatment for varicose veins that are causing symptoms. (Mild varicose veins that are not causing symptoms don't need treatment.)...

  • Self-care, or home treatment, is recommended for most people with varicose veins. Home treatment can relieve symptoms and slow down the progress of varicose veins. For many people, home treatment is the only treatment they need. Exercise can help...

  • If you are considering a procedure or surgery for varicose veins, weigh the following before proceeding: How much do the exam and treatment cost, and how many treatments does the doctor think you will need? The cost of treatment can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on how many...

  • Discusses sclerotherapy to treat varicose veins. Includes info on spider veins. Looks at how well sclerotherapy works and what to expect after treatment. Discusses risks.

  • Vein ligation and stripping is a minor surgery. It is used to remove a damaged vein and prevent complications of vein damage. If several valves in a vein and the vein itself are heavily damaged, the vein (or the diseased part of the vein) is removed (stripped). An incision is made below the vein, a flexible instrument...

  • Discusses causes and symptoms of twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin called varicose veins. Covers treatment with self-care, sclerotherapy, endovenous laser, and radiofrequency. Includes vein surgery called ligation and stripping.

  • Physical activity is one of the best things you can do to help prevent a heart attack and stroke. Being active is one part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, not smoking, and staying at a healthy weight are other ways you can be...

  • What is Kawasaki disease? Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that affects the blood vessels. The symptoms can be severe for several days and can look scary to parents. But then most children return to normal activities. Kawasaki disease can harm the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart...

  • What is Raynaud's phenomenon? Raynaud's (say "ray-NOHZ") phenomenon occurs when the blood vessels in the hands and feet overreact to cold temperatures. The blood vessels are extra sensitive and become more narrow than normal, making the hands and feet feel very cold and numb for a short time. You may also hear this...

  • Women with chronic high blood pressure require special medical care before, during, and after their pregnancies. Some blood pressure medicines are not recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor if you take blood...

  • Secondary high blood pressure is high blood pressure that is caused by another disease or condition. It can also be caused by certain medicines. If your doctor can treat the cause of the high blood pressure, it might lower your blood pressure....

  • A hemorrhagic stroke develops when a blood vessel (artery) in the brain leaks or bursts (ruptures). This causes bleeding: Inside the brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage). Near the surface of the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage or subdural...

  • Stroke is the most common cause of disability resulting from damage to the nervous system. A stroke may affect: Movement. You may not be able to use your arms or walk. This is usually because of weakness or paralysis on one side of the body (hemiparesis). Speech and language. You may not...

  • Exercise helps lower high blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for stroke. Exercise can help you control other things that put you at risk, such as obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. It is important to exercise regularly. Do...

  • After a stroke, keep in mind that you are the most important person in your own recovery. You need to have a major say in the decisions about your care. This may be hard for you, and you may sometimes feel like sitting back and letting others take...

  • It is common for a person who has had a stroke to feel sad and become depressed about the disabilities caused by the stroke. Sometimes the injury to the brain from the stroke can cause depression. Depression is a serious condition that needs...

  • A stroke often affects movement and use of one side of the body, so getting dressed is often difficult for people after a stroke. Getting dressed may be easier if you use stocking/sock aids, rings or strings attached to zipper pulls, and...

  • Some people have speech and language problems after a stroke. These problems may involve any or all aspects of language use, such as speaking, reading, writing, and understanding the spoken word. Speech and language problems, such as aphasia,...

  • Some people who have a stroke suffer loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) after the stroke. But this is usually temporary. And it can have many causes, including infection, constipation, and the effects of medicines. If you have problems...

  • After a stroke, you may not feel temperature, touch, pain, or sharpness on your affected side. You may have: Feelings of heaviness, numbness, tingling, or prickling or greater sensitivity on the affected side. No sense of how your muscles and joints...

  • If you have a family member who has had a stroke, you may be concerned about how the stroke is going to affect your family's lifestyle. You may be concerned about finances and changes in family roles and responsibilities. Here are some ways to help...

  • Depending on what part of the brain was affected by a stroke, the way a person acts may be different from how he or she acted before the stroke. A person who was very concerned about details before a stroke may become sloppy and care little about...

  • Emotional reactions after a stroke may be different from normal emotional reactions. The reaction may have little or no clear connection with what is happening around the person. Often reactions can be easily interrupted by diverting the person's...

  • When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a person's ability to judge distance, size, position, rate of movement, form, and the way parts relate to the whole is affected (spatial-perceptual problems). People with these problems may have...

  • Some people who have had a stroke ignore or are not aware of one side of their body. This can happen when the stroke damages one side of the brain. Caregivers may notice signs that the person is ignoring, or neglecting, the affected side, such as:...

  • A stroke often causes memory problems. In stroke rehab, you might try ways to help improve memory. If your family member has problems with memory, you might get helpful tips from the stroke rehab team. These tips may include: Set a daily routine, if...

  • Rehabilitation after a stroke usually involves a number of health professionals. These may include the following people. Doctors and nurses Rehabilitation doctor. The rehabilitation doctor is in charge of your medical care after a stroke. This may be a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in...

  • Discusses carotid endarterectomy surgery to remove plaque buildup in the carotid arteries to prevent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Includes info on how surgery can help prevent future strokes. Looks at long-term aspirin treatment.

  • Discusses ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and TIA (transient ischemic attack). Describes stroke symptoms and importance of acting fast if symptoms develop. Covers stroke treatment and prevention.

  • Discusses transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke. Covers causes, including blood clot as a result of atherosclerosis. Looks at treatment with medicines, surgery, and lifestyle changes. Discusses prevention steps.

  • Using a home blood pressure monitor lets you keep track of your blood pressure at home. Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers. The first number shows how hard the blood pushes...

  • Discusses causes and symptoms of aneurysms that form in an artery called the aorta. Links to pictures of abdominal aneurysm and thoracic aneurysm. Covers treatment with medicines or surgery. Also looks at lifestyle changes that may help.

  • Covers causes and symptoms of high blood pressure. Explains systolic and diastolic pressure numbers. Looks at treatment and prevention steps. Includes risks of untreated high blood pressure such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

  • An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a small device that you wear throughout the day, usually for 24 or 48 hours. The device takes your blood pressure automatically while you do your normal daily activities. The device periodically inflates and...

  • As part of a healthy diet, eat at least two servings of fish each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best. These fish include salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines. Fish is an important part of a heart-healthy...

  • Name: ________________________ Target blood pressure: __________ Date Time (a.m.) Blood pressure Time (p.m.) Blood pressure Comments Sample: 8/6 8:15 138/87 6:20 142/92 Stressful day at work

  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for adults 18 and older for high blood pressure. Tests and programs for high blood pressure vary widely in reliability. Results from automated blood pressure testing, such as you might do at a grocery store or pharmacy, may not be accurate. Any...

  • Drug-eluting stents prevent a coronary artery from narrowing again after angioplasty. They are coated with medicine that prevents scar tissue from growing into the artery. Stents are small, expandable tubes that are inserted during angioplasty into a narrowed or blocked section of the coronary artery to open the...

  • Covers risk of heart disease and stroke in women. Lists things that increase risk. Lists prevention steps, such as diet, exercise, not smoking, managing cholesterol and blood pressure, and making decisions on birth control and hormone therapy.

  • Discusses taking aspirin to prevent a first and second heart attack for people who have coronary artery disease. Covers aspirin therapy to help lower risk of a stroke. Discusses if aspirin therapy is for you. Looks at things to avoid while taking aspirin.

  • Discusses treating varicose and spider veins with a laser. Covers simple and endovenous laser treatment. Looks at sclerotherapy. Discusses why laser treatment is done and what to expect after treatment. Covers how well it works and possible side effects.

  • If you have symptoms of giant cell arteritis (GCA) and your doctor believes you may have it, he or she may order a temporal artery biopsy to make sure. Giant cell arteritis can occur at various points along an artery. To test for giant cell arteritis, your doctor may have a surgeon take a sample of a blood vessel on...

  • What is a venous skin ulcer? A skin ulcer is a type of wound that develops on the skin. A venous skin ulcer is a shallow wound that occurs when the leg veins don't return blood back toward the heart the way they should. This is called venous insufficiency. See a picture of abnormal blood flow caused by venous...

  • Venous skin ulcers develop when the lower leg veins are weakened and cannot efficiently move the blood back toward the heart. Pooled blood and fluid in the lower legs then leads to tissue breakdown. You can prevent or heal a venous skin ulcer by helping your blood circulate back toward your heart. Leg...

  • Specially fitted compression stockings are tight at the feet with a gradually looser fit on the leg. Because there are different types, it's best to use the kind that your doctor recommends and that work best for you. Compression stockings: Help...

  • What are pressure injuries? A pressure injury on the skin is caused by constant pressure to that area. This often occurs when a person lies in bed or sits in a chair for a long time. Pressure reduces blood supply to the skin. Over time, this can cause the skin to break down and form an open sore. Pressure injuries are...

  • Guides you through decision to put a loved one who has had a stroke into long-term care. Lists reasons for and against. Covers types of long-term centers. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • The blood supply to your hand normally comes from two arteries: the radial artery and the ulnar artery. Before drawing blood for an arterial blood gas test, your health professional will make sure that both arteries are open and working correctly. A procedure called the Allen test may be used to find out if the blood...

  • In some women, the estrogen in combination hormonal birth control methods increases the risk of a blood clot in a leg ( deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) or a blood clot in a lung ( pulmonary embolism, or PE). A blood clot in a leg vein can travel through the circulation system and cause pulmonary embolism. The risk for...

  • Guides you through the decision to take an anticoagulant to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • For the body to function properly, the heart needs to pump blood at a sufficient rate to maintain an adequate and continuous supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. Cardiac output is the term that describes the amount of blood your heart pumps each minute. Doctors think about cardiac...

  • The heart is at the center of your circulatory system, which is a network of blood vessels that delivers blood to every part of your body. Blood carries oxygen and other important nutrients that all body organs need to stay healthy and to work properly. Your heart is a muscle, and its job is to pump blood throughout...

  • The coronary arteries deliver blood to the heart muscle, providing a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients needed for it to stay healthy and function normally. Supply and demand The coronary arteries regulate the supply of blood to your heart muscle depending on how much oxygen your heart needs at the time, as...

  • Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins. (Ablation means a doctor uses heat to damage tissue, which makes scar tissue form. This scar tissue closes the vein.) This technique uses radiofrequency energy (instead of laser energy) to heat up and damage the wall inside a vein. This...

  • Phlebectomy (also known as microphlebectomy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or stab avulsion) is a technique to remove varicose veins. In this procedure, several tiny cuts (incisions) are made in the skin through which the varicosed vein is removed. Stitches usually are not required. This procedure typically does not...

  • Discusses primary cause (blood clot in the lungs) and symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Looks at treatment with thrombolytic medicines, blood thinners (anticoagulants), or surgery. Links to info on complications like pulmonary hypertension.

  • Blood clots can happen in veins. A blood clot in a vein close to the skin isn't likely to cause problems. But having blood clots in deep veins is called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis happens most often in the legs. This problem can lead to a blood clot in the lung ( pulmonary embolism). The deep veins of...

  • What is atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis, sometimes called "hardening of the arteries," occurs when fat (cholesterol) and calcium build up inside the lining of the artery wall, forming a substance called plaque. Over time, the fat and calcium buildup narrows the artery and blocks blood flow through it...

  • Intermittent claudication is a symptom of peripheral arterial disease. Intermittent claudication is a tight, aching, or squeezing pain in the calf, foot, thigh, or buttock that occurs during exercise, such as walking up a steep hill or a flight of stairs. This pain usually occurs after the same amount of exercise and is...

  • Guides you through the decision to have surgery for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Covers what PAD is and how it is treated. Covers risks. Lists reasons for and against having surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Leriche's syndrome is the term used for a group of symptoms that are caused by a certain type of peripheral arterial disease of the legs. In Leriche's syndrome, blood flow in the aorta is blocked in the stomach area. This blocks blood flow to the legs. In men, blood flow to the penis is also blocked. The following...

  • Pulse and blood pressure measurements taken in different areas of the body help diagnose peripheral arterial disease. Pulse In the legs, doctors will commonly feel for pulses in the femoral (groin), popliteal (back of the knee), posterior tibial (ankle), and dorsalis pedis (foot) areas. Other pulses often checked...

  • Guides people who have not had a heart attack or a stroke through decision to take daily aspirin. Discusses benefits and risks. Looks at who can take daily aspirin. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Use a form to record the sodium content of the foods you eat or drink each day. This record will help you see whether you are getting the prescribed daily amount of sodium in your diet. Make a chart with 3 columns and as many rows you need for meals...

  • What is an aortic dissection? Aortic dissection occurs when a small tear develops in the wall of the aorta. The tear forms a new channel between the inner and outer layers of the aortic wall. This causes bleeding into the channel and can enlarge the tear. Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition. Aortic...

  • Your doctor may talk with you about your risk for heart and blood flow problems, including heart attack and stroke. You and your doctor can use your risk to decide whether you need to lower it and what treatment is best for you. What might you be at risk for? Your doctor is checking your risk of having a...

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms can be found during an ultrasound screening test. Screening tests help your doctor look for a certain disease or condition before any symptoms appear. Not all doctors agree on who should be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Talk to your doctor about whether the benefits of screening...

  • Explains why you should monitor your blood pressure at home and how it helps you be more in control of your own health care. Includes steps on how to take your blood pressure at home. Covers systolic and diastolic pressure measurements.

  • A hypertensive emergency is very high blood pressure that damages the body. It can cause damage to the brain, heart, eyes, or kidneys. A hypertensive emergency needs immediate care. Symptoms include numbness, blurry vision, chest pain, severe headache, and confusion. This problem is also called malignant...

  • Covers importance of taking the right dose of the right high blood pressure medicines at the right time. Explains how medicines control high blood pressure. Includes working with your doctor to make a plan for taking your medicines.

  • Provides tips on adding DASH diet to stop high blood pressure. Includes sample DASH menu. Explains why adding more fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products helps lower high blood pressure. Includes working with experts to help plan menus.

  • DASH is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure. For more information on the DASH diet, see High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet. Here is a sample menu for the DASH diet. It is based on a 2,000-calorie diet...

  • Is this topic for you? This topic covers rehabilitation after a stroke. For information on stroke itself, see the topic Stroke. What is stroke rehabilitation? The best way to get better after a stroke is to start stroke rehabilitation ("rehab"). In stroke rehab, a team of health professionals works with you to regain...

  • After a stroke, the injury to the brain can cause muscles to contract or flex on their own when you try to use an arm or leg. The sensation can be painful. It has been described as a "wicked charley horse." Because the muscle cannot move in its full range of motion, the tendons and soft tissue surrounding the muscle can...

  • After a stroke, problems with your vision, speech, or ability to move can change your ability to drive safely. So you'll need to get approval to drive again. This may be hard to accept. You may feel that this is a big loss of independence. But this approval is for the safety of yourself and others. Talk with your...

  • It is common to have trouble swallowing, also called dysphagia, after a stroke. You may not be able to feel food on one or both sides of your mouth. You may also have problems chewing or producing enough saliva. Or you may have other conditions that make eating difficult and increase your risk of choking or breathing in...

  • Guides you through the decision to take or not take medicine to treat high blood pressure. Explains what high blood pressure is and risks of not lowering it. Covers treatment choices and lifestyle changes.

  • Guides you through the decision to have angioplasty when you have stable angina. Lists benefits and risks of angioplasty and medical therapy. Explains why lifestyle changes are still important. Includes interactive tool to help you with your decision.

  • "I'm a believer!" That's the proclamation from Izzy, a 60-year-old clerk from Petaluma, Calif. She's talking about a way of eating that helped her lose weight and brought her blood pressure way down. "If there were a commercial for the DASH diet,...

  • The neighbors can set their clocks by Arturo and his wife, Rosa. Every morning at 6:30 a.m. and every evening at 6:30 p.m., they walk out their front door for their 30-minute walk. "It's kind of a neighborhood joke," Arturo, 58, says. "People literally look at their watch and laugh when we go by." But the walks...

  • When Tyrell's doctor told him he had high blood pressure, he was shocked. "I thought, 'Hey, I'm a physical fitness trainer. I'm in great shape. How could I have high blood pressure?'" He knew that both of his parents have high blood pressure. And one of his uncles recently had a stroke. But Tyrell had always been kind...

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