Science Care’s Team & Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Science Care’s Team & Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Fibromuscular Dysplasia, or FMD, is a rare condition that affects the blood vessels. Imagine your blood vessels as pipes that carry water in a house. They should be smooth and straight, but for people with FMD, their blood vessels can become twisted or narrowed in an unusual way. This makes it more difficult for blood to get where it needs to go. 

FMD can impact just one or many blood vessels, and it doesn’t always cause symptoms. When it does, the symptoms can manifest as high blood pressure, pain or organ issues. 

For Madison DeCamp, Donor Services Coordinator, symptoms started shortly after her 21st birthday. When she began to experience blood pressure spikes and abdominal pain, her doctor ordered an ultrasound. 

“The scan revealed my renal arteries had been compromised,” Madison said. “My kidneys were only functioning at 40% due to my arteries twisting and beading which cut off the blood supply.” 

Madison’s day-to-day life shifted as she began monitoring her blood pressure twice a day, taking blood pressure medication, and going in for renal ultrasounds and CT scans of her brain and heart every six months to monitor her condition. 

“I have to avoid strenuous activity because my heart can tear easily,” Madison said. “My diagnosis changed my perspective on how quickly things can change in your life, and you have to roll with it.” 

While her newly diagnosed condition has certainly added new challenges to her life, Madison shared that it’s also taught her a lot. 

“It’s so important to advocate for yourself,” Madison said. “I document my appointments and ask questions anytime I need more information. It’s important to know as much as possible so I can take care of myself.” 

Madison makes every effort to prioritize her mental health through crafting, taking time alone to reflect or spending time with her boyfriend and dog, Benji. 

Madison has been a member of the Science Care team since 2022. She says:

“It’s so powerful to be able to offer comfort to families during a really trying situation. I’ve loved working somewhere I get to help people in so many ways.”

Science Care donors continually play a key role in scientific advancements. Body donors have contributed to numerous recent projects that have impacted the medical communities understanding and treatment for different blood related disorders, including:

  • Better Heart Treatments: Doctors were able to test and improve tools used to fix heart problems, like a balloon that opens up clogged blood vessels. This helps people with heart issues live healthier lives.
  • Reducing Stroke Risk: Devices were developed to make it safer for people with heart problems like atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the heart's top part (the atria) to beat in an irregular way which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood properly. These developments have reduced the risk of strokes.
  • Clearing Arteries: New tools have been created to clear blocked arteries, which can save lives by preventing heart attacks and strokes.
  • Training Surgeons: Provided the opportunity for surgeon training that allows them to improve their skills fixing heart valves or treating diseases in blood vessels.
  • Inventing New Heart Valves: Scientists have been able to work on the development of new heart valves that help people with damaged valves. 

Doctors and researchers are still learning a lot about FMD, and treatment options wouldn’t be where they are today without the generous gift of body donation.

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