Small Vessel Disease - Hard to Detect, Easy to Find

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Small Vessel Disease - Hard to Detect, Easy to Treat
Arianna S Nichols
SCI/163 Elements of Health and Wellness
December 18, 2012

Small Vessel Disease - Hard to Detect, Easy to Treat
Small Vessel Disease (SVD) is a heart condition in which the small coronary arteries become narrowed, this narrowing of the arteries is also known as Coronary Microvascular Disease. Small Vessel Disease acts like traditional coronary heart disease as it causes similar symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, and a lack of energy (Mayo Clinic, 2010). The difference between traditional heart disease and small vessel disease is traditional heart disease affects the large coronary arteries where plaque builds up and reduces the flow of blood to the heart whereas small vessel disease is not caused by plaque and is harder to find than traditional heart disease. Many people do not realize they have small vessel disease until they are doing daily routines such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, and times of mental stress (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2011). Therefore, it makes it harder to detect as doctors will test for blockages in the larger arteries first and when nothing is found, follow by checking the smaller arteries. Studies have shown that women have a higher chance of developing small vessel disease than men. This is because women may experience lower than normal levels of estrogen at some point in their adult lives. Lower estrogen levels prior to menopause raises the chances, as well as mental stress and issues within the functioning of the ovaries. (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2011) Other risk factors can be: smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and increasing age – over 45 in men and 55 in women. (Mayo Clinic, 2010) Some studies have linked small vessel disease to Dementia and Alzheimer’s due to the narrowing of the vessel walls, which in turn, create an obstruction of oxygen and nutrients...
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