What is Fibromuscular Dysplasia: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Life Expectancy, Prognosis, Recovery Period

What is Fibromuscular Dysplasia?

Fibromuscular dysplasia is an abnormality found in blood arteries, in this situation arteries either face narrowing or enlargement than the usual normal size. In both the situations flow of blood to different organs of the body is affected adversely. Some of the common arteries, which can be are badly affected fibromuscular dysplasia are the ones leading to brain, heart, kidney, legs, abdomen and arms.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Causes of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Although the exact cause of fibromuscular dysplasia is not known but there a series of factors that play crucial role in causing fibromuscular dysplasia are:

  • Hormones – Hormonal imbalance is considered as an important factors causing fibromuscular dysplasia. This is because women are more prone to get affected by this problem than men.
  • Genetics – Research has revealed that fibromuscular dysplasia is a genetically transferred disease. Direct relatives of the patient suffering from this problem are highly prone to develop this may be in not the same but in some other artery.
  • Abnormally artery located – Restricted flow of oxygen in the arteries can cause fibromuscular dysplasia. In addition, arteries that are located abnormally can also develop Fibromuscular Dysplasia.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia and Stroke

In fibromuscular dysplasia blood vessels either get narrowed or blocked. In both the situation the blow of blood to health and different parts of the body get hampered. Hence, the chances of patient experiencing stroke increases. Not all but some patient who reach serious condition of fibromuscular dysplasia suffer stroke.

Symptoms of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Usually, fibromuscular dysplasia does not show any significant symptoms. One can sense symptoms depending on which arteries is affected by this problem. Some of the common symptoms experienced by fibromuscular dysplasia patients includes:

Symptoms of Fibromuscular Dysplasia When Arteries In The Kidneys are Affected:

Symptoms of Fibromuscular Dysplasia When Arteries In The Abdomen are Affected:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Feeling of adnominal pain immediately after eating.

Symptoms of Fibromuscular Dysplasia When Arteries In The Brain are Affected:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Facial numbness
  • Poor vision
  • Pain in neck region
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness.

Symptoms of Fibromuscular Dysplasia When Arteries Of The Heart are Affected:

Symptoms of Fibromuscular Dysplasia When Arteries of the Limbs are Affected:

  • Weakness in arm or leg movement
  • Numbness in joint
  • Weakness
  • Colour of the skin changes
  • Pain while moving arms or legs

Tests to Diagnose Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Some of the tests which doctors prescribe for diagnosing Fibromuscular dysplasia are as follows:

  • Doppler ultrasound for diagnosing fibromuscular dysplasia helps in identifying where any artery is narrowed or not. An instrument known as transducer is used for this test. The instrument is pressed on the skin of patient to produce sound waves in the body. These waves bounces the red blood cells of the body showing how fast blood flows, which ultimately indicates the size and shape of blood vessels.
  • MRI i.e. Magnetic resonance imaging for diagnosing fibromuscular dysplasia revels the condition of soft tissues in the body. During this test patient lie on table and then they are sent inside a tube like machine. Here internal pictures of the body is captured with the help of magnetic and radio waves. These pictures enable doctors to see the clusters of cells that lea to narrowing of arteries.
  • Angiography test is one of the most common test prescribed by doctors. In this a thin tube is inserted in the artery and slowly directed to the area, which is to be examined. Little bit of dye is injected and further x-rays are used for complete examination.
  • CT angiogram i.e. Computerized tomography – This test enable doctors to check whether any artery is narrowed or blocked. Doctors inject dye and then CT scanner is moved around the body to capture pictures of the body. These pictures help doctors to analyse which artery is completely/partially blocked or is narrowed.

Treatment for Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Treatment of fibromuscular dysplasia mainly depends on factors like severity of condition, location of the affected artery and other general health conditions like blood pressure. Treatment can be done either through medication or surgery. Repairing of artery for regulating proper flow of blood is very much required. There are various procedures to do this, such as:

  • PTA i.e., Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for treating fibromuscular dysplasia is a procedure that is always preferred over surgery. This is helpful for normalizing the narrowed artery. When angiogram shows the narrow artery a wire is inserted in the artery along with catheter with a balloon. This balloon is navigated to the narrow artery and inflated to expand the size of artery.
  • Surgical revascularization for fibromuscular dysplasia: In case PTA is not the right option for the patient then doctors suggest a proper surgery for repairing the narrowed artery. Selection of surgery type is decided based on the location of artery and the severity of damage. The most common revascularization performed is bypass, in which the damaged artery is replaced.

In case doctor find serious damage in the arteries then they suggest surgery in which they insert a metal mesh tube in the damaged part of the body to prevent further damage. In addition, there are drugs such as Diuretics, ACE i.e., Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, Beta blockers, Angiotensin II receptor blockers and Calcium channel blockers which is very effective in treating fibromuscular dysplasia. As some of these drugs can have adverse impact on the way kidney functions, hence; doctors first ask to get the blood and urine test done. Result of these tests help doctors to ensure that patients do not have any kidney problem.

Once the tests are clear the depending on the requirement doctors prescribe suitable drugs to their patients.

Life Expectancy of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Exact data about life expectancy is not known but as per doctors the mortality rate of patients suffering fibromuscular dysplasia is quite less. It is only in some rare scenario patient face fatal effects.

Recovery Period or Healing Time for Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Recovery Period or healing time of a patient suffering from Fibromuscular dysplasia differs depending on the severity of condition. In some situations recovery period is few hours, while in some cases it make few months.

Prevention of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Fibromuscular dysplasia is not a preventable disease. However, there are some precautions like quitting smoking, alcohol consumption and adopting healthy lifestyle can help one to reduce the possibility of developing this disease.

Prognosis/ Outlook for Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Prognosis or outlook of a patient suffering from this complicated disease usually depends on the severity of the problem as well as the complications developed from the same. In majority of cases patients undergo successful treatment but in some critical conditions patient may also undergo complete/partial disability or even death.

Lifestyle Changes for Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Excess body weight due to deposition of fat and high level of cholesterol are considered as the two main sources that leads to narrowing or blockage of blood vessels. Making some changes positive changes in the lifestyle that helps in losing weight and reducing blood cholesterol level helps in controlling fibromuscular dysplasia. One should adopt healthy lifestyle i.e., adding more fruits and vegetables in the daily diet instead of junk food. In addition, exercise should be an inevitable part of time to maintain good body movement. Further, quitting alcohol consumption and smoking also play a significant role in controlling fibromuscular dysplasia.

Coping with Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Coping with fibromuscular dysplasia is not easy. Patients suffering from fibromuscular dysplasia often face depression. Family members and friends of the patient should support them morally. They should make the patient feel more positive and hopeful. In some conditions, patient often lose hope, hence; visiting a councillor is of a great help. Councillor talk to patient understand their view and then make them feel motivated. As they are professionals they know to trigger positive attitude towards life.

Complications of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Various complications associated with fibromuscular dysplasia are as follows:

  • Aneurysms – Fibromuscular dysplasia badly affect the walls of the artery making them weak. This in turn form a bulge which is known as aneurysms. In case the bulge get ruptured due to any reason then it becomes a fatal problem for the patient.
  • High Blood Pressure – As Fibromuscular dysplasia affect flow in blood in arteries hence; one of the common complication which is associated with this problem is high blood pressure.
  • Stroke – If the artery leading to brain is affected then it can cause stroke. Similar situation occurs when aneurysms present in brain artery get ruptures.
  • SCAD – In some conditions the walls of artery get treated leading of leakage of blood, this condition is known as SCAD i.e. spontaneous coronary artery dissection. This is a serious condition as it hampers the flow of blood to different body organs.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 5, 2017

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