Renovascular hypertension is high blood pressure that is caused by narrowing (stenosis) of one or both of the arteries, called the renal arteries, that supply blood to the kidneys. Narrowing of the renal arteries reduces blood flow to the kidneys. This is a potentially serious condition that requires care from your doctor.
Each kidney is capable of regulating the body’s blood pressure to assure that each organ has an adequate supply of oxygenated blood. This happens by activating a cascade of hormones known as the renin-angiotensin system.
Renal artery stenosis triggers the release of these hormones, which then becomes a cause for hypertension (high blood pressure). Since hypertension is a leading cause of strokes and heart attacks, this is a serious condition that requires diagnosis and treatment.
The Kidney and Its Main Blood Vessels
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There are many diseases that can cause narrowing of the renal arteries. The two most common causes are atherosclerosis and fibromuscular dysplasia.
- Atherosclerosis—often called “hardening of the arteries,” results when fatty plaque builds up in the arteries and blocks blood flow to the kidneys. This occurs mainly in men over 50.
- Fibromuscular dysplasia—an inherited disorder where muscle and fibrous tissue of the renal artery wall thicken and harden into rings that block blood flow to the kidneys. This occurs mainly in young females in their 30s.
Last reviewedMay 2014by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.