A fistula is an abnormal connection between two parts inside of the body. Fistulas may develop between different organs, such as between the esophagus and the windpipe or the bowel and the vagina. They can also develop between two blood vessels, such as between an artery and a vein or between two arteries.

Some people are born with a fistula. Other common causes of fistulas include

Treatment depends on the cause of the fistula, where it is, and how bad it is. Some fistulas will close on their own. In some cases, you may need antibiotics and/or surgery.

The vascular system is the body’s network of blood vessels. It includes the arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart. Problems of the vascular system are common and can be serious. Arteries can become thick and stiff, a problem called atherosclerosis. Blood clots can clog vessels and block blood flow to the heart or brain. Weakened blood vessels can burst, causing bleeding inside the body.

You are more likely to have vascular disease as you get older. Other factors that make vascular disease more likely include

  • Family history of vascular or heart diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Illness or injury
  • Long periods of sitting or standing still
  • Any condition that affects the heart and blood vessels, such as diabetes or high cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Losing weight, eating healthy foods, being active and not smoking can help vascular disease. Other treatments include medicines and surgery.

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