Each of your two kidneys has two arteries that carry blood to the organs from the aorta. If one of both of these renal arteries begins to narrow, you could experience high blood pressure as well as reduced kidney function. Doctors refer to this condition as renal artery stenosis (RAS), and it can occur for a number of reasons.
Though this problem can cause severe medical problems without treatment, you can manage RAS. Read on to find responses from your cardiovascular specialist in Dayton, OH about renal artery stenosis.
What Are the Symptoms of Renal Artery Stenosis?
Patients with RAS can experience hypertension, or high blood pressure, which may lead to symptoms of headaches, dizziness, or fatigue. Those with RAS might also suffer from reduced function in one or both kidneys. This can result in a change in urination habits, nausea, vomiting, swelling in the hands or feet, cramping, or numbness.
A patient with RAS might present with any of these symptoms or none of these symptoms. But if these concerns sound familiar, you should contact your doctor or cardiovascular specialist. Even if these symptoms do not link with RAS, they could point to other kidney or vascular concerns that require treatment.
Individuals with certain risk factors may have a higher chance of forming this problem. These include high cholesterol, tobacco usage, family history, and diabetes.
How Will My Doctor Diagnose RAS?
If you or your doctor suspect that you have RAS, they will evaluate your symptoms and likely perform both a blood and urine test. These will look at the levels of cholesterol and creatinine in your system, which can illuminate the health of your blood vessels and kidneys respectively.
The doctor may also want to perform diagnostic imaging to confirm that you have this specific condition. They can do this through an ultrasound, angiogram, MRI, or CT scan. Image captures like these will display signs of narrowing within the affected arteries.
What Treatment Will I Need for RAS?
Your doctor may employ a number of treatment options for RAS depending on the severity of the symptoms. They usually begin with a conservative approach of lifestyle changes that will lower blood pressure and stop the narrowing of the arteries. Methods include eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and ceasing smoking habits.
Doctors may also prescribe medication to lower blood pressure. If the symptoms do not resolve with these measures, the doctor might suggest surgeries to fix the artery.
They may perform a bypass, angioplasty with a stent, or an endarterectomy. The latter option refers to the surgical removal of blockages within a blood vessel. It will require a one or two-day stay at a hospital as you recover from the procedure.
Untreated RAS could lead to the development of chronic kidney disease or vascular disease. It may also heighten the risk of a stroke. So do not delay treatment of this disease and make sure that you attend follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your condition.