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What is Renal Vascular Disease?

Renal vascular disease is a medical condition that affects the blood flow into and out of the kidneys. Kidney damage, kidney failure, and high blood pressure are all possible consequences of renal vascular disease.

What are the Types of Renal Vascular Disease?

The different types of renal vascular disease include:

  • Renal Artery Stenosis: This is the narrowing or blocking of an artery that supplies blood to the kidney. This usually happens as a result of plaque buildup in the arteries.
  • Renal Artery Thrombosis: This is the formation of a clot in a renal artery. It has the potential to obstruct blood flow and cause renal failure.
  • Renal Vein Thrombosis: This is the formation of a clot in a vein to a kidney.
  • Renal Artery Aneurysm: This is the bulging of a weak area in the wall of an artery supplying blood to a kidney. Most of these aneurysms are small and do not cause symptoms.
  • Atheroembolic Renal Disease: This condition occurs when a particle of plaque from the aorta or other large arteries breaks off and travels through the bloodstream and blocks the renal arteries.

What are the Causes of Renal Vascular Disease?

Some of the causes of renal vascular disease include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Underlying inflammatory disease
  • Surgery
  • Tumour
  • Aneurysm
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medicines
  • Birth defect
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Morbid obesity
  • Fibromuscular dysplasia

Some of the risk factors of renal vascular diseases include:

  • Older age
  • Being a woman
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes

What are the Symptoms of Renal Vascular Disease?

The symptoms of the renal vascular disease vary depending on the type of disease and the extent to which it has affected the body. The following are some common symptoms of renal vascular disease:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased urea in the blood
  • Sudden onset of side pain or soreness between the ribs and the upper border of the hip bone
  • Fever
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin lesions or reddish discolouration of the skin
  • Discoloured areas of the toes and feet
  • Kidney failure
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle aches

Diagnosis of Renal Vascular Disease

Your doctor will review the medical history and symptoms and a physical examination will be performed. The following diagnostic tests may be ordered:

  • Arteriogram (Angiogram): An angiogram is an imaging test that uses a special dye and X-ray images to take pictures of blood flow in arteries and veins. A contrast dye is injected into an artery using a thin, flexible tube. This dye makes the blood vessels visible on X-ray.
  • Duplex Ultrasound: This is a diagnostic technique that uses sound waves to evaluate blood flow through your arteries and veins; and the size of the lumen in blood vessels.
  • Renography: This is a type of nuclear medicine procedure performed to examine the kidneys' function and structure. During the test, a small amount of a radioactive chemical is used for visualization of the kidneys on X-ray examination.
  • Magnetic Resonance (MR) Angiogram: Magnetic resonance angiography is a painless diagnostic imaging procedure using radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of the blood vessels supplying the kidneys.

What are the Treatments for Renal Vascular Disease?

Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, general health, and severity of the condition. It will also differ according to the type of renal vascular disease you have.

  • Renal Artery Stenosis: Blood pressure medication and cholesterol-lowering medications are prescribed for atherosclerosis in patients with renal artery stenosis. Endovascular procedures such as angioplasty, placement of a stent, and open surgery to bypass the blocked renal artery are examples of surgical treatments.
  • Renal Artery Thrombosis: Thrombolytic medication may be injected into the renal artery for several hours to several days to break up a blood clot. In some cases, surgery to remove the clot or bypass the artery may be required.
  • Renal Artery Aneurysm: Treatment of a renal artery aneurysm depends on symptoms and the size and location of the aneurysm. Smaller aneurysms may not need to be treated, but they should be monitored for growth or other issues. Aneurysms that are growing larger or expanding may require surgery.
  • Atheroembolic Renal Disease: Medicines to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and treat other related conditions such as diabetes, may be used as part of the treatment. Lifestyle changes include diet, exercise, and avoiding fats and salty foods. Angioplasty or implantation of a stent and open surgery to bypass the blocked renal artery are surgical treatment options.
  • Renal Vein Thrombosis: Anticoagulants, which prevent blood from clotting, are commonly used to treat renal vein thrombosis. They may be given intravenously (IV) for a few days, then given orally for a few weeks or more.

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