Most physicians will recommend lifestyle changes and medications as the first line of treatment for kidney (renal) artery disease. If the kidney artery disease becomes worse, more aggressive procedures, including renal artery angioplasty and stenting, or surgery, may be recommended.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to manage the following risk factors for kidney artery disease and to slow the progression of the disease:
High blood pressure can be caused by blockages in the arteries to the kidneys and it can also be a risk factor for developing kidney artery disease, as well as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and eye problems. By taking steps to lower and control your blood pressure, you can prevent or delay the development of kidney artery disease and a range of other health problems.
If you have kidney artery disease, you can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by controlling your cholesterol level. Be sure to ask your doctor what your medicines are for and how and when you should take them. And don’t hesitate to let your doctor know if you have side effects. There may be other medications that work better for you.
The increasing rate of obesity is contributing to a higher rate of diabetes. And with the increase in diabetes, it is becoming the most common – and a serious – risk factor for kidney artery disease. If you have diabetes, your risk of also developing kidney artery disease is higher than for people who do not have diabetes.
If you have kidney artery disease and diabetes, then your risk for high blood pressure and kidney failure, as well as heart attack or stroke, is much higher than for people who have kidney artery disease only. Your risk of dying at a younger age may also be higher.
Medical guidelines recommend that people over age 50 with diabetes be tested for kidney artery disease. They also recommend testing for people under age 50 with diabetes who also have risk factors for kidney artery disease, including smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Kidney artery disease is the result of atherosclerosis, or a build-up of a plaque (a waxy substance made up of cholesterol and other substances). Atherosclerosis can cause blockages in the arteries. If you have blockages in the arteries that are supposed to deliver oxygen-rich blood to your kidneys, then you may also have blockages in arteries that supply blood to other organs, including the heart or brain. Blockages in the heart arteries that can lead to heart attack, and blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the brain can lead to stroke.
Antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, may prevent blood clots that limit or block the blood flow in these arteries. Antiplatelet drugs thin the blood, making it less likely that blood cells will clump together to form clots. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine the medications that are best for you.