What is Renal Artery Stenosis?
Renal artery stenosis is a narrowing or blockage of major arteries that supply blood to either one or both kidneys. This condition is common to older people suffering from hardening of the arteries also known as atherosclerosis. Renal artery stenosis can worsen as the time goes by and this could lead to hypertension and kidney damage. The body detects that less blood is reaching the kidneys and therefore misinterprets that there is low blood pressure. This sends the signals for the release of hormones from both kidneys. This leads to an increase in blood pressure and if this condition is not treated it can lead to kidney failure.
What causes Renal Artery Stenosis?
There are major causes of renal artery stenosis which are fibromuscular disease and atherosclerosis. More than 80% of the cases are as a result of atherosclerosis which is caused by cholesterol, fats and other foreign material building up on the walls of renal artery. There are rare cases of fibromuscular dyplasia which causes the abnormal growth (fibrous tissues) on the artery wall. If left untreated renal artery condition can lead to chronic kidney failure which is characterized by headaches, hypertension, anemia frequent urination and lower back pain. The risk factors for renal artery stenosis increase when patients are older, female and have diabetes, other vascular diseases such as peripheral artery disease and high cholesterol level.
Symptoms of Renal Artery Stenosis
There are no specific symptoms associated with renal artery stenosis. However, when patients suffer from high blood pressure that is extremely hard to control, deteriorating of previously well-controlled high blood pressure, or elevated blood pressure that affects other organs in the body, this may often be a result of renal artery stenosis.
Diagnosis of Renal Artery Stenosis
High blood pressure associated with this ailment is the first sign, particularly if the hypertension fails to respond to standard treatment. The presence of a swooshing sound indicates an obstruction in the artery which is heard through a stethoscope. Urine and blood tests can be used to evaluate the function of the kidney. Doppler ultrasound is another test used to measure the blood flow speed in the arteries leading to the kidneys. Kidney ultrasound can be used to show the structure and the size of the kidney by use of sound waves.
Why I should seek treatment for Renal Artery Stenosis?
Seeking for treatment will help to prevent kidney failure which could lead to other serious problems. The initial treatment for this condition is often medication which requires more than three drugs that control high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribe to you other medications such as cholesterol lowering drugs. In some cases the treatment for renal artery stenosis may require surgical procedures with angioplasty or stenting.
Angioplasty involves the insertion of balloon catheter into the renal artery and inflating it in order to clear the blockage. By inflating the balloon, the fats or cholesterol plague are compressed into the wall of the blood vessels. A stent is then inserted into the artery to keep the area wide open. Some patients may require surgical revascularization which is used to bypass the blocked or narrow portion of the artery and the removal of the non functioning kidney.
Why choose Treatment by our Doctor?
Renal artery stenosis is a potentially life threatening disease that should be treated by professional doctors familiar with this condition. Our doctor has seen many such conditions in his career in the public and private healthcare. As the Regional Proctor (SEA) of Medtronic Endovascular, our doctor has completed many treatments for renal artery stenosis and often invited overseas to supervise or proctor these complex surgeries.
Prevention of Renal Artery Stenosis
It is important to maintain a good healthy lifestyle which can prevent renal artery stenosis. The strategy for preventing this condition is by quitting smoking, eating right, maintaining a good weight, exercising and managing stress.