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What is renal (kidney) artery disease?

“Renal” is another word for kidney, and “renal artery disease” refers to blockages in the arteries that supply blood to your kidneys. Renal artery disease can be made worse by high blood pressure and other atherosclerotic risk factors.  In some cases, renal artery disease can be a cause of high blood pressure. In severe cases, it can also lead to kidney failure. About 5 percent of all patients with high blood pressure have blockages in the renal arteries, and at least 30 percent of patients who have blockages in other arteries also have blockages in their renal arteries.

Renal (kidney) artery disease is a condition that develops when the arteries in the abdomen that supply the kidneys become narrowed, or blocked, by an accumulation of a fatty substance called plaque. As plaque builds up inside the artery walls, the arteries can become hardened and narrowed (a process called atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis affects up to 35 percent of Americans, and can cause narrowing (also called stenosis) of any of the arteries throughout the body. As atherosclerosis affects the whole body, people with renal artery narrowing often have other cardiovascular conditions such as carotid artery disease and heart disease.
In renal artery disease, the narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the kidneys, causing progressive kidney failure or difficult-to-control high blood pressure in a significant number of patients.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.