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

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A large-scale Swedish study links both adolescent weight and fitness level to risk for hypertension in adulthood.

International Study Refines Definition of High Blood Pressure in Youth

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New data helps experts better identify children at increased risk for heart disease later in life.

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Exercise-based rehab programs reduce risk for heart-related death by 26%.

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Declines in U.S. Death Rates Have Slowed

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Researchers measure progress on heart disease and other leading causes of death, and identify areas for improvement.

Low-Fat Diets Not the Best Weight Loss Solution

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A review of more than 50 clinical trials comparing low- versus higher-fat diets shows no significant difference in weight loss results.

Sedentary Time is a Major Health Concern for Latinos

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Study finds Latinos spend three-fourths of the day sedentary, which takes a toll on heart health.

Young Adults, Especially Women, Don't Know Their Risk for Heart Disease

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Only half of young adults suffering a heart attack knew they were at risk, finds study.

African-American Veterans Healthier Than White Counterparts

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Analysis of VA data stands in contrast to health disparities in the general U.S. population.

Music Boosts Heart Health

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Music’s effect on heart activity, blood pressure and breathing bodes well for health.

A Healthy Lifestyle in Midlife Makes for Healthier Golden Years

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The benefits of healthy choices carry long into older adulthood.

Longer, But Not Necessarily Healthier, Lives

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While life expectancy continues to rise, heart disease becomes the leading cause of disability around the world.

Deep Belly Fat Increases Cardiovascular Risk

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Study finds that both volume and type of belly fat have an impact on heart health.

Age and Gender Differences in Heart Disease Mortality Rates

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Despite recent drops in cardiovascular mortality rates, death toll among young adults remains high.

Blood Pressure and Cognitive Function in Elderly Adults

Sep 09, 2015

Stopping blood pressure medication has little effect on brain function in elderly adults, says study.

Economic and Social Forces Have Big Impact on Heart Health

Aug 21, 2015
The American Heart Association has issued a scientific statement addressing social factors that influence risk for heart disease.

High Salt Intake Linked to Greater Risk for High Blood Pressure

Aug 11, 2015
High salt intake increases chances of developing high blood pressure by 25%, says study.

The Toll Traffic Takes—Even When You’re Not Driving

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Traffic noise increases risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Chocolate Protects Against Heart Disease and Stroke

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Moderate chocolate consumption helps, not harms, cardiovascular health.

Action, Not Advice, Helps Smokers Quit

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Creating a quit plan and providing tools for ongoing support is more effective than education alone in helping smokers quit.

Cash Incentives Help Smokers Quit

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Rewards-based programs are much more appealing than deposit-based programs, which require smokers to risk their own money.

One in Three Americans Has Metabolic Syndrome

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One-third of Americans has a cluster of risk factors putting them at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, based on a review of national surveys from the last decade.

Mediterranean Diet Improves Memory and Brain Function

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A diet rich in olive oil and nuts may improve brain function and reduce risk for dementia.

Vitamin D Supplements Fail to Reduce Blood Pressure

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While low vitamin D levels are associated with high blood pressure, supplements are not enough to effectively lower blood pressure.

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