Fibromuscular dysplasia

Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a condition that causes narrowing (stenosis) and enlargement (aneurysm) of the medium-sized arteries in your body. The areas of narrowing and bulging occur next to each other and can cause the artery to narrow so much that organs that receive blood from the artery are damaged.

Fibromuscular dysplasia can cause a number of complications, such as high blood pressure or tears of the artery (dissection), if left untreated.

Fibromuscular dysplasia appears most commonly in the arteries leading to the kidneys. Fibromuscular dysplasia can also affect the arteries leading to your brain, abdomen, arms and legs. While there isn't a cure for fibromuscular dysplasia, it can be treated effectively.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Most people who have fibromuscular dysplasia don't have any symptoms. Still, it's possible you could have some signs or symptoms of the disease, depending on what artery is affected by fibromuscular dysplasia.

Kidney signs and symptoms

If the arteries to your kidneys (renal arteries) are affected, you may have:

  • High blood pressure
  • Tissue damage in your kidney (ischemic renal atrophy)
  • Chronic kidney failure, rarely

Brain signs and symptoms

If the arteries to your brain (carotid arteries) are affected, you may have:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision or temporary loss of vision
  • Pulsating ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Neck pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Facial weakness or numbness

Abdominal signs and symptoms

If the arteries to your abdomen (mesenteric arteries) are affected, you may have:

  • Abdominal pain after eating
  • Unintended weight loss

Arm and leg signs and symptoms

If the arteries to your arms or legs (peripheral arteries) are affected, you may have:

  • Discomfort when moving your arms, legs, hands or feet
  • Cold limbs
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Skin changes in color or appearance

Some people with fibromuscular dysplasia have more than one narrowed artery.

When to see a doctor

If you have fibromuscular dysplasia and have any sudden changes in your vision, ability to speak, or new weakness in your arms or legs, seek medical attention immediately.

If you have any of the other signs or symptoms listed and are concerned about your risk of fibromuscular dysplasia, see your doctor. Because fibromuscular dysplasia can be hereditary, tell your doctor about your family history of the disease, even before you show any symptoms so that he or she can be alert to changes that might suggest you have fibromuscular dysplasia. There's currently no genetic test for fibromuscular dysplasia.

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