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What is Microvascular Disease?

Microvascular Disease is also known as myocardial ischemia is a type of cardiovascular disease that is different from what you might be used to hearing about. Generally, the word heart is used in order to refer to the large blood vessels that are located in the chest. However, there are three main types of cardiovascular disease and they are coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and rheumatic fever.

What is Microvascular Disease?

So what is a microvascular disease? Microvascular diseases happen when there is an abnormal growth in the size of the arteries that supply the heart. The normal description of cardiovascular disease is just of coronary artery disease, where the main arteries which supply blood to the head to the heart have one or many blocked arteries. But in microvascular disease, there can be any number of causes. They could be due to abnormal growths inside arteries, which might be classified as congenital or at random. In congenital microvascular disease, the congenital difference between the heart muscle and other body parts is greater than 3 millimeters. Once the normal muscles of the heart are affected, there will not be enough blood flow going to the heart muscle causing it to contract. In this condition, the heart muscle and other organs of the body will start to deteriorate. Treatment will depend on the cause of microvascular disease. Some medications are available to help the heart muscle continue to function once it has been affected by the microvascular disease.

Microvascular Disease Causes and Symptoms

One of the common causes of microvascular disease, especially in women is endometriosis. This condition occurs when the tissue that makes up the uterus grows at places where the veins supply blood to other parts of the body. This can cause a build-up of tissue in the heart arteries, which weakens them. When this happens, there is less blood flow to the heart, and symptoms of coronary microvascular disease can occur.

Besides congenital microvascular disease, another cause is when a malignant tumor is put into the heart or lungs. A type of hormone called angiotensin II blocks the blood flow to the lungs and small vessels, which leads to coronary heart disease. Treatment for this form of the microvascular disease involves removing the tumor or putting it under a microscope to be found later. There are some new drugs being developed to treat this form of microvascular disease.

There are many other forms of microvascular disease that can cause symptoms similar to those of coronary heart disease. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the dysfunction. Treatments such as angioplasty, coagulation therapy, and pulmonary artery hypertension surgery are often effective in correcting this problem and returning the patient to daily life.

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