What causes renal artery disease?
The renal arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your kidneys. Renal artery disease occurs when blood flow through the arteries is restricted or blocked.
There are two primary causes of renal artery disease:
Atherosclerosis develops when fatty plaque builds-up in the artery walls. Over time, plaque enlarges and hardens, which narrows the arterial wall and interferes with blood flow.
Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a condition that triggers tissue overgrowth in the renal arteries. The excess tissue narrows the artery. FMD primarily affects women between the ages of 20-40.
What symptoms develop if I have renal artery disease?
Renal artery disease seldom causes symptoms until the disease reaches an advanced stage. Blocked renal arteries do cause high blood pressure, though - another silent disease that doesn’t cause symptoms.
As the blockage reduces blood flow, your kidneys become damaged. Once kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, you may experience itchy skin, frequent urination, swollen feet and ankles, fatigue, and muscle cramps.
What is mesenteric artery disease?
When atherosclerosis occurs in the arteries that carry blood to your intestines, you have mesenteric artery disease. This vascular disease causes weight loss and severe pain when you eat.
How is renal artery disease diagnosed?
At Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, Dr. Chadda performs diagnostic tests such as:
- Duplex ultrasound
- CT scan
These different techniques create detailed images of your arteries, allowing Dr. Chadda to determine the severity of your atherosclerosis and to track blood flow through the arteries.
How is renal artery disease treated?
Treatment for renal artery disease involves eliminating the blockage and treating any underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Lifestyle changes may be enough to initially manage mild cases of renal artery disease. Otherwise, Dr. Chadda recommends renal (or mesenteric) artery stenting to eliminate the blockage and restore normal blood flow.
A stent is a wire mesh tube that’s small enough to fit inside your arteries. Dr. Chadda inserts the stent by making a tiny incision near the blocked arteries, then threading a catheter through your blood vessels to the blockage.
Once the catheter is in place, Dr. Chadda inflates a balloon to open the blockage and inserts the stent. The stent stays in place to keep the artery open.
Stenting is most effective in small areas of artery disease. More significant disease may require an invasive procedure like renal artery bypass surgery.
To learn if you’re at risk for renal artery disease, call Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates, or schedule an appointment online today.