Renal Artery Disease

Renal artery stenosis is a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys.

The kidneys are responsible for removing waste, or toxins, from the blood. They also regulate the body’s blood volume and pressure. The renal arteries carry blood to the kidneys.

If blood flow is decreased or flowing at a lower pressure, the kidneys interpret this to mean the blood volume and/or blood pressure within the rest of the body is low. Your kidneys try to correct this by releasing hormones that cause blood pressure to rise, and they will begin to retain more salt and fluid to increase blood volume.

In renal artery stenosis (RAS), blood flow is decreased because of a narrowing of the renal artery. The lower blood flow is misread by the kidneys, which respond by releasing hormones to raise blood pressure and volume. This type of high blood pressure is called renovascular hypertension and may require three or more medicines to control.

The renal arteries typically narrow from one of two causes:

  • Development of plaque, or atherosclerosis, in the vessel
  • Abnormal cell growth in the artery wall

Your health care professional may suspect RAS if your blood pressure is not controlled with at least three different blood pressure medications at escalating doses. He or she likely will order blood tests, and imaging tests to determine the size and structure of your kidneys, and to examine the blood flow to them.

You can reduce your risk of developing renovascular hypertension by keeping your blood vessels healthy. Some things you can do include: Quit smoking if you smoke; be physically active; lose weight if you are overweight; and see your physician on a regular basis to make sure your blood pressure is not high. Use this condition center to learn more about RAS diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Renal Artery Disease News & Events

High blood pressure

Alarming Uptick in Deaths Linked to High Blood Pressure, Study Shows

Mar 23, 2020
Rising death rates affect all demographic groups, with the rural South hardest hit.
CardioSmart News

Patients Urged to Continue Blood Pressure and Heart Failure Medications Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Mar 18, 2020

The HFSA/ACC/AHA issued a joint statement about COVID-19 and a group of drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Coronavirus

Heart Patients Warned of Risks from Coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020

People with heart disease seem to be at higher risk of developing serious illness from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Use Olive Oil Instead of Saturated Fats for Heart Health, Study Suggests

Mar 05, 2020
Olive oil linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease in analysis of more than 90,000 U.S. adults.
Man taking medicine

Do Preventive Medicines Undermine Healthy Habits?

Mar 04, 2020
People who start taking medicines to prevent heart disease might benefit from added support to keep up healthy habits.
Glass of milk

Skip Milk? Opinions Vary on Its Benefits

Feb 12, 2020
The dietary guideline urging most Americans to drink three glasses of milk a day isn’t justified, according to authors of a review article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Marijuana

Highlighting the Concerns of Marijuana's Effects on the Heart

Feb 07, 2020
Marijuana use is associated with cardiovascular problems and can interfere with common heart medications, according to a review article.

More Research Needed to Achieve Health Equity in Preventive Care

Jan 26, 2020

Experts identify gaps in knowledge about how to put proven services into practice.

Long Work Hours Linked to High Blood Pressure

Dec 27, 2019
Working more than 40 hours a week may increase risk of high blood pressure, finds study of white-collar workers. 

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2019

Dec 18, 2019

This year's most-read patient stories worth a second look.

Medications Boost Survival After Open Heart Surgery

Nov 14, 2019
Study confirms benefits of blood pressure, cholesterol and anti-clotting medications after open heart surgery. 

Less Than Six Hours of Sleep a Night Could Shorten Your Lifespan

Oct 14, 2019

Adequate sleep is especially important in patients with or at risk for heart disease.

Diet Soda and Sugary Drinks May Affect Lifespan, Study Finds

Sep 29, 2019
Two or more sodas a day shown to increase risk of death in nearly half a million Europeans.

High Blood Pressure a Growing Concern Among Pregnant Women

Sep 29, 2019
Large-scale study shows a dramatic rise in high blood pressure rates among pregnant women.

Consumption of Plant-Based Proteins Could Add Years to Your Life

Sep 17, 2019

Study suggests that we eat plenty of plant-based foods, while limiting red and processed meat.

Not All Plant-Based Foods are Created Equal

Sep 13, 2019
Just because a food is vegetarian does not mean it promotes health and longevity. 

At-Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Beneficial in Black Adults

Sep 12, 2019
Monitoring blood pressure outside the doctor's office may help further identify those at high risk for heart events. 

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol in Early Adulthood Shape Future Heart Health

Aug 03, 2019
Risk factors in early adulthood have long-lasting effects on heart health as we age.

Three Prevention Efforts Could Save 94 Million Lives Over 25 Years

Jul 11, 2019

Global analysis shows that improving blood pressure and diet could save millions of lives over the next few decades.

Decades of Health Gains Lost After Cutbacks in Low-Income, Rural Maine

Jul 07, 2019

Study suggests continued health programming is needed to reduce health disparities in low-income communities.

Energy Drinks Quickly Affect the Heart

Jun 21, 2019

Energy drinks cause changes in heartbeat and blood pressure within hours.

CardioSmart News

Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment May Improve Brain Function and Reduce Heart Risks in the Elderly

Apr 15, 2019

Tighter blood pressure control can improve outcomes for elderly adults.

CardioSmart News

Fitness is a Strong Predictor of Survival in Adults Over 70

Apr 04, 2019
Traditional risk factors are so common in older people that they become almost meaningless for predicting future health.
CardioSmart News

A Nap a Day Keeps High Blood Pressure at Bay

Mar 19, 2019
The blood pressure-lowering effects of naps may be similar to other lifestyle changes and medication, says Greek study.

Exercise Plus Less Sitting Improves Blood Pressure in Obese Adults

Mar 14, 2019
Breaking up sitting with just three minutes of activity has immediate heart-health benefits, finds Australian study.

Featured Video

Symptoms of PAD include pain or numbness, difficulty walking, sores on the feet or legs, and erectile dysfunction.

Walking & PAD

A walking program can be beneficial for patients with peripheral artery disease. Learn more »

Patient Resource