Small Vessel Disease – Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Small Vessel Disease

Tiny vessels that provide blood to the heart’s tissue are impacted by small vessel disease. Damage to these tiny blood arteries might cause them to spasm, reducing the amount of blood getting to your heart.

Microvascular endothelial dysfunction or coronary microvascular disease are other names for small vessel disease. Long-lasting chest discomfort and a higher possibility of heart attack are both symptoms of microvascular coronary disease.

Small Vessel Disease

The heart’s tiny arteries can develop small vessel disease when their walls do not function correctly. Chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and other heart disease signs and symptoms are brought on by a reduction in the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

Although it is curable, detection may be challenging. Despite the presence of symptoms that signal heart disease, the issue is often only identified until a doctor or other healthcare professional notices little to no constriction in the heart’s major arteries.


The signs of small vessel disease may resemble those of a heart attack. If you have small vessel disease, you can exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Also, fainting

Your jaw, neck, left shoulder, arm, back, or stomach may be hurting. Angular chest tightness and discomfort that normally lasts for more than 10 minutes. These symptoms may appear during regular daily activities or stressful situations. Typical chest discomfort from this illness may last for at least 30 minutes and as long as 11 minutes. Call your doctor right away if your symptoms worsen or if you feel discomfort elsewhere in your body in addition to your chest.

Causes of Small Vessel Disease

This condition develops when the inner walls of the tiny blood arteries in your heart are harmed, impairing their capacity to dilate appropriately. This harm may arise due to:


Medications that address risk factors, control symptoms, and relieve pain are the main forms of therapy for small vessel disease. These drugs can increase arterial blood flow and shield the body from heart attack. Typical drugs include:

  • Aspirin can reduce swelling and blood clotting.
  • Blood flow can be enhanced and coronary arteries can be relaxed using nitroglycerin.
  • Beta-blocker treatment can lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate.
  • Blood arteries can expand and blood pressure lowers with ACE-inhibitor medication.
  • Also, the use of statin medication helps ease and relieve blood vessel tension.
  • In order to enhance blood flow, calcium channel blockers can aid in relaxing the muscles around coronary arteries.
  • The drug ranolazine helps reduce chest discomfort.

Home and Lifestyle Changes

  • Changes in lifestyle may be helpful in the management and treatment of small vessel disease:
  • Keeping a healthy weight that is appropriate for you.
  • Exercising on a regular basis.
  • If you smoke, stop doing it.
  • Moreover, consuming a diet high in nutrients, which includes whole grains, lean meats, and cutting back on salt.

The Bottom Line

Coronary microvascular disease develops when the tiniest blood vessels in the heart have blockage. Many people can relieve their symptoms and prevent problems with the aid of medications and lifestyle adjustments. Some medications have undesirable side effects, such as dizziness.

It’s crucial to talk about these difficulties with your healthcare professional. To ensure that you benefit the most from your therapy, they can provide recommendations or prescribe additional drugs. Your doctor might advise you to keep a daily record of your symptoms and vital indicators like blood pressure. Because it is simpler to tailor therapies to your requirements and preferences with this information.