What are the causes of thinning blood vessels?

Written by wanda bershen
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What are the causes of thinning blood vessels?
Blood test (blood testing image by John Keith from Fotolia.com)

Thinning blood vessels can be caused by a number of conditions in addition to the normal processes of ageing. This condition, usually called vasculitis, can be the result of some cancers, some disorders of the immune system, as well as the result of an allergic reaction. Blood vessels get inflamed and can either thicken or thin. The latter can be the underlying cause of a bulge in the blood vessel which can cause a dangerous aneurysm.

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Symptoms

Since there is a long list of possible causes for thinning vessels, different parts of the body can be affected. MayoClinic.com lists several of the most common symptoms as fever, fatigue, weight loss, muscle or joint pain, loss of appetite, and nerve weakness or numbness. Such symptoms can also be associated with other conditions, so should any of them occur, see a doctor.

Causes: Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the measurement of the force with which blood flows through your body and pushes against the walls of the veins. Baroreceptors in your body monitor blood pressure constantly and modify it as you move around to maintain a fairly constant blood pressure. As people age, many of the tissues in the body change and thinning of the veins is among those changes. Additionally these baroreceptors tend to diminish in sensitivity with ageing.

Causes: Heart Health

Heart tissues also weaken with age and can mean the heart has to work harder or the arteries thicken and slow the blood flow. Other problems affecting heart health include infections, illness, extreme physical exertion, emotional stress, injuries and certain medications. Another possible cause of vasculitis can be an allergic reaction to a medication. Any of these conditions can contribute to thinning of the blood vessels.

Diagnosis

Since the causes of thinning blood vessels are so various, a clear diagnosis is essential. To determine the most effective treatment for symptoms resulting from thinning veins, your doctor will likely require some tests. Those can include urine and blood tests, X-rays of the heart and circulatory system, and if necessary, an angiogram which shows the status of arteries and veins. Your doctor will check for various causes of your symptoms to prescribe an effective treatment regime.

Treatment and Medication

Since thinning veins result from so many different causes, treatments are designed to specifically target and counter this weakening of the blood vessels. One of the most common treatments is using steroids to control the inflammation. For many types of vasculitis a doctor will prescribe a corticosteroid drug such as prednisone or methylprednisolone to control inflammation. For patients who do not respond well to steroids, another option is treatment with cytotoxic drugs that kill immune system cells responsible for causing inflammation. These can include azathioprine and cyclophosphamide

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