Fibromuscular Dysplasia Explained

Health & Medical Blog

Fibromuscular dysplasia compromises the body's key arteries by causing intermittent narrowed and enlarged areas to form. This can prevent sufficient blood flow to certain parts of the body, and the most common arteries affected by this vascular condition are the legs, kidneys, brain and heart. The cause of fibromuscular dysplasia isn't fully understood yet, but factors that increase your susceptibility to developing the condition include smoking, having a family history of the condition and being female. Here's what you need to know about fibromuscular dysplasia.


The symptoms caused by fibromuscular dysplasia vary depending on the area of the body that's affected. When arteries leading to the kidneys are affected, you will experience kidney infections and high blood pressure. When arteries leading to your heart are affected, you will develop chest pain and shortness of breath. When fibromuscular dysplasia damages arteries leading to your brain, you will experience dizziness, headaches, visual disturbances and neck pain. When blood flow to your legs is impaired, it's common to experience numbness in the legs and the skin on your legs may have a blue tint.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Your doctor will make their diagnosis by taking details of your symptoms and conducting a physical examination. Blood samples will be taken to check organ function and rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. You will also have a vascular ultrasound, which is a diagnostic imaging test that allows your doctor to see how blood is flowing through your arteries and determine the extent of narrowing and the exact location of the damaged sections.

Treatment for fibromuscular dysplasia aims to improve blood flow in the affected arteries. You may be prescribed medication that relaxes your blood vessels, or your doctor may recommend you undergo angioplasty. This is a surgical procedure that involves widening damaged arteries with a small balloon that's attached to a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the artery and the balloon is dilated to stretch the artery wall. A stent may then be fitted to prevent the dilated area from narrowing again.

There's no cure for fibromuscular dysplasia, so you'll have regular appointments with your doctor to check the stability of your condition. Regular vascular ultrasounds will be part of your ongoing care, as ultrasounds are the most reliable way to determine whether your condition is stable and to check that any stents you have fitted continue to be effective.

If you have any of the symptoms noted above, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible, as fibromuscular dysplasia will worsen without treatment.


4 January 2021

Maintaining Your Health and Wellbeing

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