The treatment for small vessel disease involves medications to control the narrowing of your small blood vessels that could lead to a heart attack and to relieve pain. Your doctor could prescribe:

  • Nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin tablets, sprays and patches can ease chest pain by relaxing your coronary arteries and improving blood flow.
  • Beta blockers. These drugs, such as propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL, others) and bisoprolol (Zebeta), slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure.
  • Calcium channel blockers. Drugs such as verapamil (Verelan, Calan, others) and diltiazem (Cardizem, Diltzac, others) relax the muscles around your coronary arteries and cause the vessels to open, increasing blood flow to your heart. They also control high blood pressure.
  • Statins. Medications such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor) help lower cholesterol, which contributes to the narrowing of your arteries. Statins also help relax the blood vessels of your heart and treat blood vessel damage.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Medications such as benazepril (Lotensin) and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) help open your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Medications such as azilsartan (Edarbi) and losartan (Cozaar) relax your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier for your heart to pump blood.
  • Ranolazine (Ranexa). This medication eases chest pain by altering sodium and calcium levels.
  • Aspirin. Aspirin can limit inflammation and prevent blood clots.

If you're diagnosed with small vessel disease, you'll need to see your doctor regularly for checkups. Your doctor will determine how often you'll need to be examined, depending on the severity of your condition.

Alternative medicine

A dietary supplement that may be helpful for people with small vessel disease is L-arginine. This amino acid that's normally used by the body to help metabolize protein may help treat symptoms of small vessel disease by relaxing your blood vessels. This therapy shouldn't be used in anyone who's already had a heart attack.

Talk to your doctor before adding a supplement to your treatment to ensure that it won't interfere with medications you take.

March 26, 2016
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