The narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys is known as Renal Artery Stenosis. It often occur in older people with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), it can worsen over time and it often leads to hypertension (high blood pressure) and kidney damage. The body senses less blood reaching the kidneys and misinterprets that as the body having low blood pressure. This signals the release of hormones from the kidney that lead to an increase in blood pressure. Eventually, renal artery stenosis can lead to kidney failure.
Causes of Renal Artery Stenosis
More than often, its is caused by atherosclerosis, a process in which patch made up of fats, cholesterol, and other materials builds up on the walls of the blood vessels, including those leading to the kidneys.
It can also be caused by a condition called fibromuscular dyplasia, in which the cells in the walls of the arteries undergo abnormal growth, but this is very rare. This condition is often seen in women and young people and it is in most cases curable.
Risk Factors for Renal Artery Stenosis
It is often found by accident in patients undergoing tests for another reason. Risk factors include:
- Older age
- Being female
- Having hypertension
- Having other vascular disease (such as coronary artery disease )
- Having chronic kidney disease
- Having diabetes
- Using tobacco
- Having an abnormal cholesterol level
Symptoms of Renal Artery Stenosis
Renal artery stenosis usually does not cause any specific symptoms. Sometimes, the first sign is high blood pressure that is extremely hard to control, along with worsening of previously well-controlled high blood pressure, or elevated blood pressure that affects other organs in the body.
Diagnosis of Renal Artery Stenosis
If your doctor suspects that you have renal artery stenosis, he or she may order tests .
- Blood and urine tests to check kidney function
- Doppler ultrasound, which measures the speed of blood-flow in arteries to the kidney.
- Kidney ultrasound, which show the size and structure of the kidney.