4. Circulatory and Respiratory system

What conditions affect the circulatory system?

Many conditions can affect the health of your circulatory system, including:

  • Aneurysms: Aneurysms occur when an artery wall weakens and enlarges. The weak spot can bulge as blood moves through the artery. The weak spot may tear, causing a life-threatening rupture. Aneurysms can affect any artery, but aortic aneurysms, abdominal aortic aneurysms and brain aneurysms are the most common.
  • High blood pressure: Your arteries work hard to circulate blood throughout the body. When the pressure (force of blood against the blood vessel walls) gets too high, you develop high blood pressure. When the arteries become less elastic (stretchy), less blood and oxygen reaches organs like the heart. High blood pressure puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Plaque deposits: High cholesterol and diabetes can lead to fat and other substances collecting in the blood. These substances form deposits called plaques on artery walls. This condition is atherosclerosis, or narrowed or hardened arteries. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of blood clots and strokes, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease (and other artery diseases), heart attacks and kidney disease.
  • Venous disease: Venous diseases tend to affect veins in the lower body. Problems like chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins occur when blood can’t flow back to the heart and pools in leg veins. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the legs, can lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

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