Fibromuscular dysplasia is a condition that causes the medium-sized arteries in the body to narrow and grow larger. Narrowed arteries can reduce blood flow and affect how body organs work.

Fibromuscular dysplasia is most often seen in the arteries leading to the kidneys and brain. But it also can affect arteries in the legs, heart, belly area and, rarely, the arms. More than one artery can be involved.

Treatments are available to control symptoms and help prevent complications, such as stroke. But there is no cure for fibromuscular dysplasia.


Symptoms of fibromuscular dysplasia depend on which artery or arteries are affected. Some people don't have any symptoms.

If the arteries to the kidneys are affected, common symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Problems with how the kidneys work.

If the arteries affected supply blood to the brain, symptoms might include:

  • Headache.
  • A pulsing feeling or ringing sound in your ears, called tinnitus.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sudden neck pain.
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack.

When to see a doctor

If you have fibromuscular dysplasia, get medical help immediately if you have symptoms of a stroke, such as:

  • Sudden changes in vision.
  • Sudden changes in the ability to speak.
  • Sudden or new weakness in the arms or legs.

If you are concerned about your risk of fibromuscular dysplasia, make an appointment for a health checkup. The condition can rarely run in families. But there's no genetic test for fibromuscular dysplasia.


The cause of fibromuscular dysplasia is not known. Changes in genes might cause the condition.

Because the condition is more common in women than men, researchers think female hormones also may play a role. But exactly how is unclear. Fibromuscular dysplasia is not linked to women's use of birth control pills.

Risk factors

Things that increase the risk of fibromuscular dysplasia include:

  • Sex. The condition is more common in women than it is in men.
  • Age. Fibromuscular dysplasia tends to be diagnosed in people in their 50s. But it can affect anyone of any age.
  • Smoking. People who smoke seem to have an increased risk of developing fibromuscular dysplasia. Smoking also can make the disease worse.


Possible complications of fibromuscular dysplasia include:

  • High blood pressure. The narrowing of the arteries of the kidneys causes higher pressure on the artery walls. Damage to the arteries may lead to heart disease or heart failure.
  • Tears in the artery walls. Fibromuscular dysplasia and tears in the walls of the arteries often occur together. An artery tear is called a dissection. When a tear forms in one of the blood vessels in the heart, it's called a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). A dissection can slow or block blood flow. Emergency medical treatment is needed.
  • Bulge or ballooning of an artery. Also called an aneurysm, this complication can occur if the artery wall is weak or damaged. Fibromuscular dysplasia can weaken the walls of the affected arteries. An aneurysm that breaks open, called a rupture, can be life-threatening. Emergency medical treatment is needed for a ruptured aneurysm.
  • Stroke. An artery tear or aneurysm rupture in the brain can lead to stroke. High blood pressure also can increase the risk of a stroke.

Fibromuscular dysplasia care at Mayo Clinic

July 28, 2023

Living with fibromuscular dysplasia?

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