Stroke is a common term and you may have heard a lot about it. However, have you ever heard fibromuscular dysplasia? There is a surprising fact that fibromuscular dysplasia may be linked to stroke. The article may help you know more about this relationship.

What is fibromuscular dysplasia?

Fibromuscular dysplasia is a non-inflammatory disease in which the wall of some small and medium arteries that carry blood throughout the body do not grow normally. Abnormal cell development can cause the arteries to narrow or enlarge. Therefore, blood passing through these arteries decreases. This can affect the function of organs in the body.

Fibromuscular dysplasia usually appears in arteries passing through the neck, or within the brain and kidneys. It can also affect the arteries in the arms, legs, heart or abdomen.

Fibromuscular dysplasia is not a rare disease. It occurs in people between 25 and 50 years of age. Women are affected more often than men.

Although the cause of this disease is still unknown, genetic, mechanical, or hormonal factors have been reported to play some roles. However, further studies are required to provide better evidence.

How is fibromuscular dysplasia related to stroke?

Fibromuscular dysplasia commonly affects the carotid arteries. These arteries pass through the neck to the brain. The narrowing and enlarging of the carotid arteries due to fibromuscular dysplasia can block or reduce blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. Some people may not notice any symptom. But some others may experience hypertension (high blood pressure), dizziness, chronic headache, weakness, numbness in the face, ringing in the ears, or problems with the vision.

Fibromuscular dysplasia can also cause bleeding in the brain, and a hemorrhagic stroke (a stroke that is caused by a break in the wall of an artery) may occur.

Treat fibromuscular dysplasia to help prevent stroke

Generally, fibromuscular dysplasia cannot be prevented and there is not standard treatment plan for this disease. Treatment is based on the affected arteries, symptoms, severity and progression. If a person is diagnosed with fibromuscular dysplasia elsewhere in the body, his or her carotid arteries should be tested.

Treatment may include percutaneous balloon angioplasty (a small balloon is inserted into the affected artery through a catheter to make it open). Fibromuscular dysplasia of the carotid arteries responds well to this option. Percutaneous balloon angioplasty should be used only for patients who present symptoms.

Patients who have minimal narrowing can take daily aspirin to thin the blood and reduce the risk of blood clot. Aspirin can also be used to treat symptoms of fibromuscular dysplasia such as headaches, neck pain. If the patients are smoking, they should quit because smoking can worsen the disease.

Surgery is sometimes recommended to treat aneurysms which can lead to bleeding in the brain.

Fibromuscular dysplasia is a rare disease of the blood vessels. Unfortunately, it can lead to an emergency situation – stroke. Although fibromuscular dysplasia cannot be cured, it can be treated effectively. Therefore, see a doctor for early diagnosis and treatment to prevent stroke.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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