CARDIOLOGY | PREVENTIVE
Renal Artery Stenosis
If you are suffering from renal artery problems, you may need a renal artery intervention to prevent the onset of heart disease. You may have had to go back and read that sentence again. Your next question may be, “what does the renal artery have to do with the heart.” The coronary arteries and pulmonary arteries are not the only blood vessels that can cause heart problems. Each artery has a job in supplying blood to different parts of the body. The artery has to be free of any debris or fat deposits so that blood can flow properly. If there is a probably with even one artery, no matter how far away it is from the heart, it will cause heart disease. If you are noticing symptoms, that could be related to the renal artery, schedule an appointment.
The renal artery carries blood to the kidneys. Without the proper amount of blood, the kidneys will not function properly, and the body will try to make up for it. Multiple things affect the renal artery. Atherosclerosis is one. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the artery. Renal artery stenosis is another common problem. Atherosclerosis is usually caused by plaque buildup in the arteries. This buildup tends to cause stenosis as well. Stenosis may also be caused by calcium deposits in the artery. If the renal artery cannot provide the kidneys with enough blood, they may start to fail. The kidneys are not the only organ affected. When the kidneys do not get enough blood, the body automatically thinks the blood pressure is low; therefore it compensates and causes high blood pressure. When the pressure is too high, the arteries can become weakened and experience damage. Not only does the renal artery damage, both the other arteries of the body become damaged as well. Over time, this causes heart disease.
Factors of Renal Artery
There are many factors to renal artery disease. Age is a major factor. It is rare for children to have renal artery disease, but it can happen, especially at birth. As you get older, your risk for renal artery dysfunction increases. Other diseases may also cause renal artery problems. Kidney disease, vascular disease, and diabetes also put you at risk for renal artery problems. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are other factors. When these two issues are not treated, it begins to affect the way the renal artery operates. The artery does not typically stop functioning, but once the kidneys experience failure, treatment is not easy.
Symptoms of Renal Artery Dysfunction
The symptoms of artery dysfunction should be understood. Recognizing your symptoms will allow you to get an intervention before it is too late. The primary symptom of renal artery problems is high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, it could be difficult for you to recognize changes. When you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, the doctor usually gives you medication to help manage it. When you have renal artery problems, the medication will not work as well. It may be much harder for your blood pressure to be managed. If you have never had high blood pressure, then you know something may not be right. The next step is to get treatment.
When it comes to renal artery problems, you should set up a consultation with a nephrologist. You can also talk to a cardiologist about your problems. A nephrologist is a kidney doctor; therefore they have training on how to treat renal artery problems. A cardiologist has knowledge about the heart arteries, so you cannot go wrong with either physician. During your appointment, your doctor will talk with you about your health history, family history, and symptoms. The next step is doing a urine test as well as a blood test. These two test along say a lot about the function of the kidneys. Another diagnostic tool is doing an ultrasound. There are two types. One ultrasound shows the speed of blood flow through the kidneys. The other ultrasound just shows the structure and size of the kidney. The final diagnostic tool is an angiogram or CT angiogram. A dye is put inside of you and images are taken of the artery. After a diagnosis is made, the next step is treatment.
The first step of treatment is medication. The medication controls blood pressure and high cholesterol. If you are already on medication, it may be adjusted. Angioplasty is another treatment. Angioplasty is an outpatient procedure. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a catheter into one of the blood vessels. The catheter is then placed inside the renal artery. The end of the catheter contains a mini balloon. The balloon is expanded which also expands the artery. Sometimes that is all that you need. Other times a stent is put in place to keep the artery open. Sometimes surgery is more involved. You may need a full kidney transplant. You can also have surgery that does a renal artery bypass. A new blood vessel is put in place to give the kidneys the blood it needs.
When it comes to any intervention, the goal is to get you treated before it is too late. Renal artery stenosis does not always cause problems initially. If you do not treat the disease right away, you will begin to suffer. Not only will your kidneys suffer, but your heart will suffer as well. Do not ignore your renal symptoms, get the help you need now.
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