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Renal artery stenosis

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Renal artery stenosis is a condition of narrowing of the renal arteries (transport blood to the kidneys) which can further lead to high blood pressure. Due to decreased blood supply, the kidneys might also get damaged. It’s also known as renovascular hypertension.


Symptoms of renal artery stenosis

There are no specific symptoms of renal artery stenosis except high blood pressure that is difficult to control. Some other symptoms that might be a consequence of elevated levels of tension in renal arteries are pulmonary edema (swelling of lungs) and reduced kidney function.


Who are at risk?

Renal artery stenosis can occur prior to age 30 or above 50 and more frequently in women. Those with clinical history of heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, neurofibromatosis and chronic kidney disease are at risk. Studies also show that too much indulgence in tobacco products can also constrict renal arteries.


What causes renal artery stenosis?

Most cases of renal artery disease results from peripheral artery disease like atherosclerosis. This happens when cholesterol and fats get deposited to such a large extent on the walls of the arteries carrying blood to the heart as well as the kidneys. The arteries stiffen and narrow down due to plaque build-up inside them and they are unable to supply blood adequate amount of blood to the kidneys. As a consequence of this, the blood pressure of the renal arteries rises up to abnormal levels.

It can also result from fibromuscular dysplasia 


What are the complications?

Renal artery stenosis can lead congestive heart failure and kidney failure. 

Diagnosis of renal artery stenosis

Your doctor will conduct a thorough diagnosis of your medical history and check your blood pressure. You may need to provide previous records of your BP levels.

On suspecting RAS, you will need to undergo urine test and blood test to check for kidney function. Blood cholesterol, aldosterone, rennin, and creatinine levels, and lipid profiles will be evaluated.

Imaging tests like Doppler ultrasound to measure the velocity of blood through renal arteries and ultrasonography of the kidneys, catheter angiogram, and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition renography will also be performed.  

To get better clarity on the conditions of the arteries, 3D imaging tests like computed tomographic angiography and magnetic resonance arteriogram may be recommended.


Treatment of renal artery stenosis

The first line of treatment definitely aims at lowering the hypertension and controlling the risk factors. To achieve this, blood pressure drugs along with cholesterol control drugs may be prescribed. 

Your doctor might also consider angioplasty (stenting and dilation of renal artery) and a bypass surgery or endarterectomy to provide an alternate pathway of blood flow to the kidneys.

You will be given post operative care instructions for speedy recovery.


Lifestyle and diet modifications for renal artery stenosis

You will be advised to consume low fat and cholesterol free diet along with limiting intake of salt and sugar. Stick to the duet plan suggested by your doctor.

Those with decreased kidney function will be asked to restrict intake of protein, sodium, potassium as well as cholesterol enriched foods to prevent kidney failure.

Renal artery stenosis can be cured but you need to take care of your health while being under treatment and thereafter.

Written by: healthplus24.com, team
Date last updated: Feburary 06, 2014