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Vascular Conditions

Renal Artery Disease

Also known as: Renal artery stenosis

The main functions of the kidneys are to eliminate the body’s wastes through urine and help maintain blood pressure and red blood cell counts. They are supplied by the right and left renal arteries.

When the renal arteries are narrowed due to the buildup of plaque or fibromuscular dysplasia, this is called renal artery disease. Plaque (also known as atherosclerosis) forms in the artery walls from inflammatory substances and cholesterol. As plaque continues to build up, the arteries gradually harden and become narrower.

This leads to the reduced blood flow (which carries oxygen and essential nutrients) to your kidneys and ultimately, the kidneys lose their ability to function. This leads to high blood pressure, anemia and chronic kidney disease.

  • Most commonly due to atherosclerosis in the right and/or left renal arteries of the kidneys
  • Less commonly due to fibromuscular dysplasia (which affects young women)
  • Rarely it may be due to vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) or due to a mass causing external compression

Note: Not everyone may experience all the symptoms

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking or the use of other tobacco products
  • High LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Low HDL (good cholesterol)
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Kidney Disease
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Family history
  • Atherosclerosis in other arteries like coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and/or carotid artery disease

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