What is renal artery stenosis?
Renal artery stenosis (renal artery disease) is the narrowing of one or both of the renal arteries. These vessels supply blood to your kidneys. They also help the body control blood pressure.
What causes renal artery stenosis?
The most common cause of renal artery stenosis is a buildup of fatty deposits called plaque. It can happen in either or both renal arteries. This is often called "hardening of the arteries," or atherosclerosis. The buildup can narrow the artery and reduce blood flow to the kidneys.
Renal artery stenosis can also be caused by fibromuscular dysplasia. This is a condition in which some of the cells that line the renal arteries grow or don't develop the right way. This growth can cause the arteries to narrow.
What are the symptoms of renal artery stenosis?
Renal artery stenosis itself doesn't cause symptoms. But if it gets worse, it may cause high blood pressure. Or it may affect how well your kidneys work. Then you may have symptoms of those problems, such as shortness of breath, or fluid buildup that causes swelling in your legs and feet.
Several things may make your doctor think that you have renal artery stenosis. These include blood tests that show that your kidneys don't work as well as they should. Or maybe you were diagnosed with high blood pressure at an early age. Or maybe medicine doesn't lower your blood pressure.
How is renal artery stenosis treated?
Treatment for renal artery stenosis is done to help reduce damage to the kidneys and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. With renal artery stenosis, you may have the same narrowing in other arteries in your body, like the coronary arteries of your heart. This can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you have renal artery stenosis and your blood pressure or cholesterol is high, you may take medicine to lower it. A heart-healthy lifestyle can also help. Eating heart-healthy foods, being active, and not smoking can help keep the renal and other arteries in your body healthy. It can also help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Certain people may have an angioplasty or surgery to improve blood flow to the kidneys. This treatment is not commonly done.