Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is a medical condition in which the arteries that supply pure blood to the kidneys become narrow. As a result the kidneys cannot function properly and the wastes get accumulated in the body. If RAS is not treated properly it can result in high blood pressure, edema of the body parts and kidney damage.
Usually, patients with RAS do not exhibit any symptoms in the initial stages. However, symptoms become evident as the disease progresses. The following signs and conditions are associated with RAS:
If the condition has progressed, then the symptoms include:
Renal artery stenosis occurs due to the deposition of fats and cholesterol in the arteries supplying the kidneys. This leads to the hardening of the arterial walls. Over a period the arteries become narrow and the blood flow decreases.
In some cases, RAS occurs as a result of fibromuscular dysplasia. In this condition the muscles outside the arteries grow excessively and create pressure on the arteries leading to their narrowing.
Other less common causes include:
Although RAS can develop in both the genders, women are at higher risk of developing fibromuscular dysplasia and RAS. The other factors which make a person more prone to RAS are as follows:
Visit the doctor if there are any abnormal symptoms of blood pressure or fluid retention. The doctor will check the kidney function and test for RAS.
After knowing the symptoms, the doctor performs a physical examination of the patient and takes the necessary history of the patient. If the doctor suspects renal artery stenosis from these details, then further testing may be ordered to confirm the cause. The tests may include:
Treatment options include medicines, lifestyle changes and surgical procedures. Usually, a combination of treatments is effective.
Medications given to treat high blood pressure are highly effective. Some of the commonly used medicines for treating RAS include:
If atherosclerosis is the cause for RAS then drugs such as aspirin and cholesterol-lowering agents are given.
If complications such as worsening of kidney function or pulmonary edema occur then certain surgical procedures are needed to improve the blood supply to the kidney. These include:
Renal arteries bypass surgery in which a new route is created for supplying blood to the kidneys
Renal angioplasty and stenting in which a device is placed in the narrowed blood vessel to allow better blood flow
Certain life style changes may help in managing RAS. They include:
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