The intricate pattern of blood vessels (arteries and veins) running throughout your body is called the vascular system. The arteries carry blood, oxygen, and nutrients from the heart to critical areas. The veins carry blood back to the heart, removing carbon dioxide and other waste products in the process. When the system malfunctions, it\u2019s called vascular disease. \nCommon Forms of Vascular Disease\nPeripheral arterial disease\nPeripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a hardening or narrowing of the arteries, blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to the cells. This condition diminishes blood flow and occurs most often in the legs.\nSymptoms often develop slowly and can include cramping in your calves, thighs, or buttocks while walking, and pain in your feet while resting at night. As blockages worsen, symptoms may become more pronounced. You are at risk for PAD if:\n\nYou are a smoker\nYou have diabetes\nYou have high blood pressure\nYou have high cholesterol or a history of heart disease\nYou are a man over age 50\nYou are a woman over age 60\nYou have kidney disease or end-stage renal disease\nYou have a family history of PAD\n\nAbdominal aortic aneurysm\nAn aortic aneurysm occurs when the arterial wall weakens and slowly develops a bulge. Abdominal aortic aneurysms, which take decades to develop, can be silent killers if not discovered early.\nAbdominal aortic aneurysms most commonly occur directly behind the belly button. When an aneurysm bursts, the blood flows out and pools in the abdomen. Aneurysms are the 11th leading cause of death among men in the United States.\nThe chance of having an aneurysm is between 2 and 5 percent, and there usually are no symptoms. But if you experience sudden, severe abdominal pain or lower back pain, call 911.You are at risk of having an aneurysm if you:\n\nHave a family history of aneurysms. If a female in your family has had an aneurysm, the chance of a first-generation relative having an aneurysm is 25 percent. If a male family member has had an aneurysm, the chance of a first-generation relative having an aneurysm is 12.5 percent.\nHave high blood pressure\nHave high cholesterol\nAre a smoker\nHave aneurysms in other blood vessels\n\nAneurysms are best diagnosed with the appropriate vascular screening programs. Not all aneurysms need to be repaired. The small ones can be monitored to ensure they aren\u2019t growing. However, if an aneurysm enlarges or is associated with symptoms, surgery may be needed.\nVaricose veins\nThis is a common condition of twisted, bulging veins that are visible just under your skin. They typically occur in the legs. Varicose veins are hereditary, and women are slightly more at risk than men. Women who have had children are at higher risk.\nAlthough you may dislike how they look, varicose veins don\u2019t always cause pain or other problems. If varicose veins become enlarged or painful, exercising, elevating your legs, and wearing compression stockings can help. If not, you may want to seek treatment. Minimally invasive vein procedures can be performed in your doctor\u2019s office, usually in less than 20 minutes.\nEducating yourself about the different types and symptoms of vascular disease is important as you grow older. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms or risk factors so you can take charge of your health.