What Are the Different Types of Circulatory System Disorders?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 June 2019
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There are several different types of circulatory system disorders, some of which are present at birth and some which may develop later in life. Some of the most common disorders that affect the circulatory system include hypertension, angina, and arteriosclerosis. Additional circulatory system disorders may include stroke, coronary artery disease, or peripheral vascular disease. Any specific questions or concerns about the diagnosis or treatment of one or more circulatory system disorders in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Hypertension, more commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is one of the most frequently diagnosed circulatory system disorders. Blood vessel defects, impaired kidney function, and the use of certain medications are potential causes for hypertension. Symptoms may include headaches, visual disturbances, or shortness of breath, although many people do not experience any negative side effects until blood pressure levels have become high enough to cause additional health problems. Dietary changes, lifestyle modification, and the use of prescription medications are often used to treat hypertension.


Angina and arteriosclerosis are relatively common circulatory system disorders. Decreased blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain, medically known as angina. Medications, electronic devices, or surgical intervention are possible treatment methods for this condition. Arteriosclerosis, often referred to as hardening of the arteries, may occur as a result of unhealthy dietary habits, genetic predisposition, or as part of the natural aging process. Treatment for arteriosclerosis may involve diet, exercise, or the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, frequently causing temporary or permanent damage to the brain. Symptoms that may indicate that a stroke has occurred include a sudden loss of motor control on one side of the body, slurred speech, or confusion. A possible stroke should be treated as a medical emergency and requires evaluation and treatment in a hospital setting.

Coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease are additional types of circulatory system disorders. Among the leading causes of death, coronary artery disease may produce symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath and can lead to a potentially fatal heart attack. Medications may be useful in treating this disease in the early stages, although surgery is frequently needed. Peripheral vascular disease affects the blood vessels that surround the brain and the heart and may cause symptoms such as muscle cramps, numbness affecting the hands or feet, and pain or weakness affecting the calf. A supervised exercise program, prescription medications, and surgical repair of the damaged vessels are potential treatment measures for those with peripheral vascular disease.


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