What are the common ailments of blood vessels?
Ailments of blood vessels could be involving the arteries which supply oxygenated blood to the body, veins which carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart or the capillaries which are the tiny vessels connecting the arteries and the veins. There is a difference in the blood vessels of the lung in that pulmonary (related to the lungs) arteries carry deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle (lower chamber of the heart) to the lungs for oxygenation and pulmonary veins carry oxygenated blood back to the left atrium (upper chamber of the heart).
Inflammation of the vessels is known as vasculitis, which could be due to multiple causes. Inflammation of any artery is known as arteritis. Inflammation of a vein is known as phlebitis. If the inflammation of a vein is associated with clot formation (thrombosis), it is known as thrombophlebitis. Simple clotting of blood in the vein is known as venous thrombosis, which causes obstruction of veins and sometimes the clot is carried to the lungs through the blood stream producing a potentially life threatening condition known as pulmonary embolism. Clotting of blood in an artery is known as arterial thrombosis and an obstruction can cause death of cells in the region supplied by the artery. If it is affecting the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries), it can cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction). If it affects the arteries of a limb, it can cause severe pain and gangrene (dying off of tissue supplied by the artery). One form of arteritis which affects the major limb and neck vessels as well as the aorta (largest blood vessel arising from the heart) is known as aortoarteritis or Takayasu arteritis. Vasculitis involving small vessels can be due to infections or due to disorders of the immune disorder (auto immune disorders) like systemic lupus erythematosus.
Atherosclerosis or fatty deposition in the arteries is one of the most important disease of the arteries which cause multiple organ disorders depending on the region of the blood vessels affected. Kawasaki disease is another disorder which can affect the arteries and occur in children. Breaks developing within the major blood vessels are known as dissection, which could be life threatening if it affects a region like the origin of the aorta. Dissection occurring within a coronary artery can lead to a heart attack.