Kidney vascular disease

Overview

Kidney vascular disease, also known as renal vascular disease, is the name given to a variety of complications that affect the arteries and veins of the kidneys. These complications affect the blood circulation of the kidneys, and may cause damage to the tissues of the kidneys, kidney failure, and/or high blood pressure.

Types

Vascular conditions affecting the renal arteries and veins include the following:

  • Renal artery stenosis - Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is a blockage of an artery to the kidneys. It may cause kidney failure and hypertension (high blood pressure). Smokers have a greater risk of developing RAS. RAS is most common in men between the ages of 50 and 70. High cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight, and having a family history of cardiovascular disease are also risk factors for RAS. High blood pressure is both a cause and a result of RAS.
  • Renal artery thrombosis - Renal artery thrombosis is the formation of a clot in a renal artery. A thrombosis of a renal artery may cause kidney failure because of blocked blood flow to the kidney.
  • Renal artery aneurysm - A renal artery aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of an artery to the kidney. Most of these aneurysms are small (less than two centimeters, or about three-quarters of an inch) and without symptoms. Renal artery aneurysms are uncommon and are generally discovered during diagnostic procedures performed in relation to other conditions.
  • Atheroembolic renal disease - Atheroembolic renal disease occurs when a piece of plaque from the aorta and/or other large arteries breaks off and travels through the bloodstream, blocking small arteries such as the renal arteries. Atheroembolic renal disease is becoming a common cause of renal insufficiency (poor kidney function) in the elderly.
  • Renal vein thrombosis - A renal vein thrombosis is the formation of a clot in a vein to the kidney.

Kidney vascular disease is often associated with hypertension (high blood pressure). Hormones that influence blood pressure are affected by kidney function. Decreased blood flow to the kidney(s) as a result of renal vascular disease may cause an excessive amount of renin to be produced. Renin is a powerful hormone that increases blood pressure.

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