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

CardioSmart News

Web-Based Counseling Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Apr 18, 2017
Online counseling is a great addition to blood pressure-lowering medication.

Few Patients with Resistant Hypertension Take Medication as Instructed

Mar 17, 2017

Poor medication adherence influences findings on a novel treatment for persistent high blood pressure.

Study Highlights Pros and Cons of Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment

Mar 03, 2017
Intensive blood pressure treatment reduces risk of death but increases risk of complications.

Low-Income Adults Have Reduced Life Expectancy

Feb 22, 2017

Low income should be considered a major risk factor for poor health, alongside obesity and high blood pressure, finds study.

Blood Pressure Targets for Older Adults Remain Controversial

Feb 15, 2017
Tight blood pressure control may carry some risks for older adults, shows recent analysis.

Prevention of Cardiovascular Risk Factors Wards off Heart Failure Later in Life

Jan 21, 2017

Being free of heart risk factors like high blood pressure at midlife helps delay heart failure by 15 years.

The Global Burden of High Blood Pressure

Dec 08, 2016

Data from 200 countries shows growing rates of high blood pressure in the poorest countries.

Study Questions Effects of White Coat Hypertension

Nov 10, 2016
Spikes in blood pressure at the doctor’s office are not directly to blame for increased cardiovascular risk, finds study.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 17, 2016

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in March 2017!

Study Confirms Benefits of Limiting Sodium Intake

Oct 03, 2016
Lowering salt intake remains an important lifestyle change for adults with elevated blood pressure, confirms study.

Experts Advise Caution with Blood Pressure Treatment in Patients with Heart Disease

Sep 21, 2016

Study links strict blood pressure control to increased cardiovascular risk in patients with heart disease.

ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

Sep 20, 2016
“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

Sep 17, 2016
Experts highlight early education about heart health for prevention later in life.

Too Much and Too Little Salt is Associated with Increased Heart Risks

Jul 24, 2016

Study links a low-sodium diet to increased risk in healthy adults, though most Americans consume excess sodium.

Wearable Monitor Helps Identify Patients with High Blood Pressure

Jun 20, 2016

Home blood pressure monitoring helps identify “masked” hypertension in black adults, finds study.

Heart Disease Prevention Also Wards off Alzheimer's and Dementia

Jun 09, 2016

Simple heart-healthy choices could reduce risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s by 20%, finds study.

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Risk for Kidney Disease

May 31, 2016
A simple set of guidelines for preventing heart disease may protect against chronic kidney disease, finds study.
CardioSmart News

Recent Study Supports Statins to Prevent Heart Disease

May 24, 2016

A large international trial finds statins to be most effective for heart disease prevention.

CardioSmart News

Virtual Health Programs Could Improve Global Health

May 22, 2016
An online challenge promotes physical activity and weight loss in over 60 countries.

Heart Disease Burden Has Shifted to Southern U.S. States

May 04, 2016

The highest death rates from heart disease have shifted to the South since the 1970s.

Yogurt Helps Protect Women from High Blood Pressure

Apr 24, 2016

Regular yogurt consumption reduces risk for high blood pressure by 20 percent in women, finds study.

Decline in Dementia Rates Over Past Three Decades

Mar 08, 2016

Study analyzed data on trends in older adults in the Framingham Heart Study.

Study Confirms Benefits of Tight Blood Pressure Control

Mar 02, 2016
A recent review of evidence finds that intensive blood pressure treatment reduces risk for heart attack and stroke.

Texting Programs Improve Medication Adherence in Patients with Chronic Disease

Feb 26, 2016
A recent study suggests that text messaging programs double the odds of medication adherence in adults with chronic disease.

Texting Program Aids in Blood Pressure Management

Feb 02, 2016

Medication reminders and weekly tips help with high blood pressure self-care.

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