Vascular Disorders | Heart and Vascular

Heart and Vascular Care

Vascular Disorders

As the region’s largest vascular specialty group, UC Davis Health delivers the highest level of care. We treat a range of vascular and lymphatic disorders, from cosmetic concerns like varicose veins to life-threatening blood clots and blockages.

Medically reviewed by Yung-Wei Chi, D.O. on Dec. 04, 2023.

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Experience For Your Vascular Care

When you choose UC Davis Health for vascular care, you have access to the latest tests and treatments. Vascular specialists with advanced (fellowship) training and a depth of experience guide your care. Find out more about the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery.


Types of Vascular Disorders

Vascular disease is a group of conditions affecting blood vessels throughout your body including artery, vein and lymphatic vessels. You may have narrowed or bulging arteries, blood clots, narrowed vessels or inflammation. Some conditions cause mild, ongoing symptoms. Others require immediate treatment.

Lymphatic disease involves tissue and vessels that move a fluid called lymph throughout the body. Lymph is part of your immune system and serves other essential functions. A common condition we prevent and manage is lymphedema, which occurs when lymph builds up in your arms or legs.


Vascular Symptoms

The symptoms you experience depend on the diagnosis and where your vascular or lymphatic systems have been disrupted. Some disorders have no symptoms in their early stages.

Common Symptoms

Typical vascular and lymphatic disorder symptoms include:

  • Area of skin that’s unusually warm or cold to the touch
  • Bulging veins
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness, weakness or tingling sensation
  • Slow-healing wounds (ulcers), especially on your feet
  • Swelling that makes one arm or leg appear larger than the other

Emergency Symptoms

Some vascular disorders, like aortic aneurysm or blood clots in your lungs’ vessels (pulmonary embolism), are medical emergencies. If you experience symptoms of these conditions, seek immediate care.

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate (palpitations)
  • Sharp chest or upper back pain
  • Shortness of breath

Causes of Vascular Disorders

Vascular disorders occur when something impacts the ability of blood or lymph to flow through your body’s vessels. There can be many potential causes.


There are numerous gene mutations responsible for vascular disorders. Inheriting one of them can raise your risk.

Infection or Injury

If an infection or injury damages your blood vessels, it can affect their ability to function.

Metabolic Syndrome

This syndrome includes high blood pressure, high triglyceride (cholesterol) levels, excess weight and elevated blood sugar levels. It causes your vascular system to work harder than it should.

Other Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can make clearing lymph difficult for your body.


Risk Factors for Vascular Disorders

Some factors can raise your risk of vascular and lymphatic disorders:


Certain vascular disorders, like varicose veins and peripheral arterial disease, are more likely to appear as you age.

Family History

If a member of your family has experienced certain forms of vascular disease, like thoracic aortic aneurysm, it increases your risk.


Daily habits can affect vascular health. These include inactivity, a diet high in salt or unsaturated fat and regularly using tobacco or alcohol.


Vascular Diagnosis

We start by discussing your medical history and risk factors, then perform a physical exam. Assessments may also include one or more tests.

For advanced and complex conditions, you have access to sophisticated testing available through our nationally recognized vascular laboratory. We use state-of-the-art technologies to deliver an accurate diagnosis and precise care that helps you feel your best. 

Vascular Disorder Treatments

Vascular specialists develop a personalized treatment plan based on your diagnosis and preferences. For emergencies, vascular surgeons are available on short notice to deliver life-saving therapies.

Our team includes specialists in surgery, medicine, interventional radiology and neuroradiology, so you can count on us for comprehensive care. Their participation in vascular care clinical research gives you access to options available only in select programs nationwide.

Endovascular Surgery

This minimally invasive technique uses small incisions and sophisticated instruments to deliver care that’s gentler on your body. Procedures may involve using a hollow mesh tube (stent) to widen narrowed vessels.

Lymphedema Therapy

Complete decongestive therapy uses a variety of methods to drain excess lymph and manage symptoms. We may offer specialized physical therapy or teach you gentle exercises. We might also provide snug-fitting (compression) garments and skin care.


Drugs may be necessary to slow the progression of vascular disease. Medications can help lower blood pressure or cholesterol, prevent clots from forming and more.

Varicose Vein Treatment

Our nationally recognized Vein Program is one of the largest in Sacramento. We offer the latest therapies. Care may include injections, laser therapy or vein stripping to reduce the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins.

Recommendations for Lifestyle Changes

Regular physical activity and a healthy diet may reverse early-stage vascular disease. Limiting your tobacco and alcohol use can also help.


Preventing Vascular Disease

Certain types of vascular disease are avoidable. Eating a healthy diet and having an active lifestyle can lower your risk. If you have signs of metabolic syndrome, your provider may recommend therapies or lifestyle changes to treat it.

How common is peripheral vascular disease?

1 in 20Americans over age 50 has it

Who gets varicose veins?

20%Of adults will experience the condition

Sources: National Institutes of Health: Facts About Peripheral Arterial Disease (PDF)

National Institutes of Health: Varicose Veins: Overview 

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Ranked among the nation’s best hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best hospital in cancer, cardiology, heart & vascular surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ENT, geriatrics, neurology & neurosurgery, obstetrics & gynecology, and pulmonology & lung surgery.

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Ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in COPD, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, uterine cancer surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and orthopedics.

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UC Davis Medical Center has received Magnet® recognition, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence.

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“Most Wired” for acute care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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“Most Wired” for ambulatory care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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World-class cancer care

One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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For the 11th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as a “Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality.”

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