What Is Microangiopathy?

Microangiopathy is a disease marked by thickened capillary walls that bleed, leak protein and slow the flow of blood in various organs, according to MedicineNet. Thrombotic microangiopathy is a rare condition that most commonly occurs in the kidneys or in the brain, notes the UNC Kidney Center.

Thromboti microangiopathy occurs when endothelial cells in the capillaries become damaged and prevent blood from flowing. Endothelial cells have slippery coatings to allow platelets and red blood cells to flow more easily through capillaries. When these specialized cells break down, blood collects in the damaged capillary. An entire capillary system can become blocked due to microangiopathy, notes UNC. If enough blood vessels are damaged, the kidney or the brain may be affected.

Several conditions can cause thrombotic microangiopathy, including sticky blood platelets, blood coagulation and malignant hypertension. Symptoms such as decreased urine, swollen legs and high blood pressure may accompany fatigue, bruises and fever to indicate thrombotic microangiopathy in kidneys. The kidney diseases that lead to this type of microangiopathy are rare and occur in approximately 11 people out of one million, states UNC.

Hypertensive microangiopathy occurs in the brain and is a result of sustained, elevated blood pressure. The most prominent way to diagnose this type of microangiopathy is to note tiny spots of brain hemorrhaging, that may accompany other brain conditions, viewed through brain scans, notes Radiopaedia.org.